Nurses relying on mobile technology to be more efficient

By Patty Enrado
08:57 AM

The nursing shortage has decreased time with patients and quality of patient care, according to a recent survey of nurses conducted by a mobile device application vendor.

The 217 nurses across the country who responded to the survey said the shortage has also increased their responsibility, patient load and number of work hours.

"Nurses are on the frontline of patient care and are continually asked to do more with the nursing shortage," said Michelle Snyder, senior vice president of subscriber business for Epocrates, which sponsored the survey.

Nurses are relying increasingly on mobile applications as patient-safety and productivity tools, the survey showed.

"Nurses can quickly look up clinical information on their mobile device right at the patient's bedside, which helps reduce errors and save precious time," Snyder said.

Pam Davis, RN, program director for Centennial Medical Center's bariatric surgery product line, agreed. She has been using Epocrates for the past four years, initially as a case manager. In her current position, she provides educational information for her patients.

Instead of hauling out the hefty paper drug reference, Davis can search for updated medication information "at her fingertips," she said. Davis is not alone. More than half of the survey respondents noted they look up drug or disease information on their mobile devices during patient consultations.
"Technology makes the processes more efficient," Davis said. "It makes encounters with patients more effective."

Forty-eight percent of respondents said they have saved more than 30 minutes per day using Epocrates' drug formulary and reference. Using a mobile application has reduced the time spent on labor-intensive paper charting, Davis said.

Davis said that Nashville-based Centennial Medical Center has felt the constraints of the nursing shortage, although the health system has not had to lay off any nurses because of the economic recession. Having health IT has helped nurses do more with less, she said. If nurses are fully trained and the technology is utilized appropriately, mobile device applications are "definitely a time saver," she said.