Study shows significant use of health IT by nurses

(ERH Intelligence) According to a recent study from Manhattan Research, nurses could prove integral to sustaining the use of health IT as well as expanding its use among patients. Conducted online during the past few months, “Taking the Pulse Nurses Study” comprises the responses of 1,019 advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), registered nurses (RN), and physician assistants (PAs). And what it highlights are the technological functions and capabilities that nurses employ prior to, during, and after their patient encounters.

First, there’s the difference between how nurses and physicians use online systems. On average, nurses spend 14.67 hours online each week for professional purposes, nearly 4 hours more than physicians.
Second, their use of mobile health (mHealth) is nearly double that of physicians. At the point of care, most PAs (74%), RNs (67%), and APRNs (60%) make use of their smartphones during patient consultations as compared to physicians (40%).
Third, nurses seek information from pharma and biotech companies more often than physicians and are more likely to want these types of resources integrating into the EHR. Nearly 80% of nurses support pharma features be included in the EHR, as compared to two-thirds of physicians. With 98% of PAs and 75% of APRNs writing at least one prescription each week, the research team argues that nurses rather than physicians may prove most influential in determining how a practice or hospital approaches new health IT applications, fixes, and enhancements.
Lastly, a vast majority of APRNs, RNs, and PAs use online resources during patient encounters and advise their patients to go online for digital resources that educate about their conditions as well as support them through their treatments.
So how likely is it that emphasizing the adoption of EHRs and health IT systems by physicians is taking our focus away from the real influencers and users of these technologies? With face time with physicians limited, nurses are more likely to determine whether a patient’s care includes electronic systems and resources.
In May, our interview with Spaulding Rehabilitation Network’s Associate Chief Nurse Anne Marie Dwyer highlighted the key role that nurses play in the adoption of health information technology (IT), such as electronic medication administration record (eMAR), computerized physician order entry (CPOE), and electronic medical record (EHR) systems. Here’s what Dwyer had to say about Spaulding’s implementation of new health IT: