Nurses turning to smartphones for clinical advice

June 13, 2015 in Medical Technology

“The hospital gets very busy and there isn’t always someone available to bounce ideas off of,” said one nurse, responding to a recent poll that found that a whopping 88 percent of RNs consult with their mobile devices at work. “It’s often easier to get the information needed using my smartphone.”

[See also: RNs key to EHR improvement, says CIO]

A ‘microsurvey’ from Boston-based market research firm InCrowd found that 95 percent of nurses responding to its poll owned a smartphone – and 88 percent used smartphone apps in their daily nursing work.

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of nurses reported looking up drug information on their phones; 72 percent say they use apps to look up diseases information.

[See also: Nurses not happy with hospital EHRs]

Nurses reported using their phones for fast access to information across a range of daily tasks, from receiving patient photos of a rash to setting a timer for meds administration, according to InCrowd.

And while poll respondents stressed that smartphones “enhance but don’t substitute” the need for a physician consult prior to administering care, more than half (52 percent) said they confer phone instead of asking a question of a nursing colleague, according to a subset of users asked more detailed questions about their smartphone use – especially if a medication, illness or symptom was unfamiliar.

And nearly a third (32 percent) of those who answered the survey – which contacted 241 nurses over a two-hour window – said they used their smartphone instead of asking a physician in situations such a “when I need quick answers without making a bunch of phone calls,” or “so I can make an educated suggestion to the doctor.”

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