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Xerox to design digital nurse assistant, cut busywork

Posting in Design

Logging into computers, pulling up patient files, entering details of specific activities, and coordinating their duties with others.

To help reduce the busywork that nurses have to spend so much of their time on -- documenting takes up more than a third of their time -- Xerox is developing a system that automatically pulls up patient files and allows nurses to use mobile devices to document work. Technology Review reports.

The Digital Nurse Assistant is part of a broader trend of adapting information technology to the healthcare system to make it more efficient and cost-effective.

Xerox’s PARC division, a research unit, worked with practicing nurses to better understand how to help them.

Turns out, documenting things take so long because current electronic medical records require nurses logged into a workstation every time, and they might have to go down six menus before arriving at the necessary information.

And coordination challenges arise with a nurse must repeatedly order medication that never seems to arrive – because another nurse may have delivered the medicine, but didn’t document the task until the end of their shift.

The new system is combination of in-room displays and mobile technology that delivers information on past, current, and planned actions for a patient:

  • Rather than entering a patient’s room and heading straight to a computer station to log in, nurses can wear a badge that detects their presence and automatically logs them into a system.
  • Additionally, that system knows which patient is in the room, which tasks need immediate attention, and the information required to complete those tasks.
  • And then the work can be quickly documented into a handheld device or mobile computer.

A pilot system has been tested.

[Via Technology Review]

Image by otisarchives4 via Flickr

— By on November 14, 2012, 7:09 AM PST

Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure