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Nurses want more connectivity to reduce errors

March 16, 2015
by Richard R. Rogoski
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They're at the front lines of healthcare and now nurses say medical errors could be reduced if there was more interconnectivity of medical devices ranging from infusion pumps and ventilators to blood pressure cuffs and electronic health records.

In a survey of more than 500 nurses conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, half said they have personally witnessed medical errors resulting from a lack of coordination between medical devices.

In addition, 60 percent said these errors could be dramatically reduced if these devices were connected and 93 percent said medical devices such as monitors and diagnostic devices should be able to seamlessly and automatically share data with one another. 

Also, 46 percent of nurses surveyed said an error is extremely or very likely to occur when information needs to be manually transcribed from one device to another, and that the time it takes to do so takes away from time spent with patients.

“Nurses are the front line of patient care and have an unrivaled ability to identify and address problems at the intersection of patients and technology,” said Dr. Joseph Smith, West Health Institute’s chief medical and science officer, in a press release. “The survey helps show how much of a nurse’s time could be better spent in direct care of patients and families, and how errors could be potentially avoided if medical devices, which have been so successful at improving patient care, were able to take the next step and seamlessly share critical information around the patient’s bedside.”