Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Integration of Technology in a Clinical Research Setting

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Integration of Technology in a Clinical Research Setting

Article excerpt

Abstract: The use of wireless technology to collect and retrieve relevant patient data has been in use on many nursing units for the past decade. The technology continues to advance as it relates to patient data collection devices. The utilization of computers (in the form of a wireless tablet) is used in the General Clinical Research Unit (GCRC) at Howard University Hospital. The wireless technology is used for the compilation and retrieval of pertinent research data.

Key Words: Research, Wireless Notebook, Technology, Computer Use in Nursing

The relevance of technology has increased in nursing practice as a mechanism of improving the quality of care, providing cost-effective care and access to timely information (McNeil, Elfrink, Bickford, Pierce, Suzanne, Averill, & Klappenbach, 2003). There has been a significant growth in computer technology and software designed to provide a database for patient health care. In maintaining patient safety, nursing must be integrated with pharmacy- and physician-driven systems to capture all dimensions of patient care (Smith, Smith, Krugman, & Oman, 2005).

New and emerging technologies are considered essential to decrease medical errors and ease nurses paperwork burden (American Academy of Nursing, 2002). To improve the quality of patient care, the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) reported the need to develop strategies to help health care providers access and communicate health information in a timely manner (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services I USDHHS], 2001). The NCVHS report underscores the need for health care providers to be skilled in technology use so that computer technological utilization is an integral component of professional nursing practice (McNeil et al., 2003). Paper-based medical records can be incomplete and inaccurate, may be accessible to unauthorized users, and can be difficult to access in more than one location. Using wireless notebooks on the General Clinical Research Unit (GCRC) has contributed to a decrease in the time nurses expend with paper documentation. The notebooks are equipped with software and spreadsheets that make accessing databases and inputting data less complex than previous paper charting methods.

Utilization of Technology on a Research Unit

The General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) located at Howard University Hospital is the cornerstone for human research. The GCRC is designed to provide researchers with the resources needed to conduct high quality clinical research. The GCRC is funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The GCRC staff work closely with Principal Investigators and the IRB to ensure safe and ethical research practices. The GCRC is available to all Howard University investigators who have a need for center resources and plan to conduct clinical research of scientific merit as determined by the GCRC Advisory Council. The GCRC resources include; nursing support for inpatient and outpatient data collection and patient care. The use of wireless notebooks is part of an integrated system within the General Clinical Research Center to facilitate timely collection, analysis, storage, transmission and security of data on participants in research studies.

The wireless computer is a modality that provides a mechanism for the accurate collection, transmission, storage and security of data, which is the essence of research investigations. The utilization of technology on the unit is a useful adjunct to the delivery of comprehensive nursing care and provides a mechanism to enhance Good Clinical Practice standards of documentation. The collection of data electronically is a mechanism that could aid in decreasing errors and eliminate multiple forms of paper documentation. Hersh (2002) suggested that computers offer great promise for health care in areas such as: the clinical record, information retrieval, and a blend of these in which individual patient information is combined with practice guidelines to provide clinical support. …

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