Nurses and Computers

By M.L. Baker  |  Posted 2004-11-16 Print this article Print

To increase vaccinations, McDonald said, the combination of nurse and computer is much more powerful than that of physician and computer. He also said the technology involved for having nurses administer preventive care is more available in hospitals. Physician reminders require computerized order entry, which is only in place in a few hospitals, he said. But most large health organizations have a computerized management system that the nurses use to handle orders, he said. But many nurses say the IT efforts in their workplaces ignore their needs. Click here to find out more.
McDonald warned that generating standing orders automatically wouldnt work for complex decisions, such as deciding whether to recommend statins to someone with liver disease.
But he said it could be highly effective in making sure that patients receive well-understood preventive treatments and tests that they might otherwise skip. "If youve got the data, you can make the recommendation" whenever the patient comes into a hospital or doctors office, he said. He said some hospitals had tried to generate standing orders manually by inspecting patients files, but attempts fell short because of the time required to go through the files. But he said, an appropriately designed computer system could generate orders almost instantly. "Anytime you have a computer that has enough information, you can get this done with less work and less burden with standing orders," McDonald said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis of technologys impact on health care.

Monya Baker is co-editor of's Health Care Center. She has written for publications including the journal Nature Biotechnology, the Acumen Journal of Sciences and the American Medical Writers Association, among others, and has worked as a consultant with biotechnology companies. A former high school science teacher, Baker holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Carleton College and a master's of education from Harvard.

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