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Nurse Computer Literacy in EMR Implementations – Julie Jacobs July 22, 2010

Posted by Eric Rivedal in SINI2010.
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Julie works for a company that’s implementing EMR’s in clinics in Minnesota. She has been studying behavior of nurses in their use of computers since 2005. She noticed that an implantation she was working on had a great mission, but that nurses didn’t really understand it. As a result, she embarked on research to understand better what nurses’ knowledge level is and how they can be trained to become more literate.

One of the skills & conditions needed by a nurse for a computer implementation is the ability to have a conversation with managers that exchanges information without threatening her job. Therefore nurses should be enabled to have those conversations without fearing retribution in evaluations or job status.

It’s possible that the administrators who will implement a system will be very knowledgeable –other times they are not. It’s important to assess the knowledge level of all participants in a project.

Barriers to an implementation include nursing attitudes, familiarity with the original paper chart (there was a significant amount of work put into the design of paper processes), concerns about patient safety with an EMR, low touch vs. high touch (loss of patient contact), and lack of formal training. These items

The study consisted of questionnaires that asked nurses about their knowledge in computers. Each question also included a rating for the importance of a subject to the nurse. Highest gaps were regarding safety and overall implementation.  Thus, the lesson was that if safety is not built into the implementation, it will likely fail.

You can assure better implementations by assuring that resources are in place that are appropriate to the needs of the site. This includes items from the local site, the vendor, and generally available items. You can contact Julie at info@officesmarts.us

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