Nurses turning to smartphones for clinical advice

Huge majorities making use of apps, according to new 'microsurvey'
By Mike Miliard
10:16 AM
Nurses on phones

"The hospital gets very busy and there isn't always someone available to bounce ideas off of," said one nurse, responding to a recent poll that found that a whopping 88 percent of RNs consult with their mobile devices at work. "It's often easier to get the information needed using my smartphone."

[See also: RNs key to EHR improvement, says CIO]

A 'microsurvey' from Boston-based market research firm InCrowd found that 95 percent of nurses responding to its poll owned a smartphone – and 88 percent used smartphone apps in their daily nursing work.

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of nurses reported looking up drug information on their phones; 72 percent say they use apps to look up diseases information.

[See also: Nurses not happy with hospital EHRs]

Nurses reported using their phones for fast access to information across a range of daily tasks, from receiving patient photos of a rash to setting a timer for meds administration, according to InCrowd.

And while poll respondents stressed that smartphones "enhance but don't substitute" the need for a physician consult prior to administering care, more than half (52 percent) said they confer phone instead of asking a question of a nursing colleague, according to a subset of users asked more detailed questions about their smartphone use – especially if a medication, illness or symptom was unfamiliar.

And nearly a third (32 percent) of those who answered the survey – which contacted 241 nurses over a two-hour window – said they used their smartphone instead of asking a physician in situations such a "when I need quick answers without making a bunch of phone calls," or "so I can make an educated suggestion to the doctor."

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