Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

Initiating Collaboration among Organ Transplant Professionals through Web Portals and Mobile Applications

Academic journal article Online Journal of Issues in Nursing

Initiating Collaboration among Organ Transplant Professionals through Web Portals and Mobile Applications

Article excerpt

Abstract

The knowledge base for healthcare providers working in the field of organ transplantation has grown exponentially. However, the field has no centralized 'space' dedicated to efficient access and sharing of information.The ease of use and portability of mobile applications (apps) make them ideal for subspecialists working in complex healthcare environments. In this article, the authors review the literature related to healthcare technology: describe the development of health-related technology: present their mobile app pilot project assessing the effects of a collaborative, mobile app based on a freely available content manage framework; and report their findings. They conclude by sharing both lessons learned while completing this project and future directions.

Key Words: smartphone, mobile app, Web portal, collaboration, mobile application, transplant professionals, advanced practice nurses, Web communication, sample selection

Web 2.0 technologies are used by millions of people to build online communities of active members who both share and generate knowledge (Gruber. 2008J. A similar phenomenon is occurring in healthcare as providers recognize the benefits of using these Web 2.0 technologies in daily practice. Online communities are becoming portals for information sharing and collaborating with healthcare colleagues who may be separated by geographical distances. The capabilities of Web-supported, mobile applications based in collaborative portals offer healthcare providers (HCPs) a rapid way of connecting with other providers who share similar needs and interests. In addition, the widespread availability of wireless networks in healthcare settings has fostered the growth of mobile applications aimed at improving communication, practice, and education for HCPs.

Personal digital assistants (PDAs) were one of the first models of wireless technologies utilized by HCPs. Stroud, Smith, and Erkel (2009J surveyed 124 actively practicing nurse practitioners (NPs) regarding their opinion of the usefulness and value of PDAs; 98% reported a belief in the value of the PDA for clinical practice.

The NP respondents also reported that they customized their devices to meet individual needs. In the same study, 90% of respondents had installed a drug reference program; 54% had installed a medical text/reference book; and 29% had installed clinical practice guidelines on their device (Stroud et al.. 2009). Dally use was reported by 87% of respondents (Stroud et al.. 2009).

As the functionalities of the once-popular PDAs have been expanded in smartphones and tablets, many HCP subspecialties have discovered the benefits of using digital tools to promote communication and collaboration. Nurses in specialty areas, such as those who practice mental healthcare in rural areas, have adapted Web-based collaborative groups for their own uses. These nurses have used websites to create communities of practice; they have found that utilizing the Web can improve their skills and mental healthcare services for members of rural communities (Cassidv. 2011). Midwives, a subgroup of Advanced Practice Nurses, have also adopted wireless technologies, supported by Web-based, collaborative environments. Brooks and Scott (2006) found that participation in technology-assisted discussion forums led to increased perceptions of collegial support, especially for new midwives (Brooks & Scott). Hence, early evidence suggests that collaboration can be enhanced by Web-based technologies.

Although technological devices are increasingly used in patient care, barriers remain to widespread adoption of the devices. For example, issues of network connectivity representa key factor in successful adoption of wireless technological solutions for HCPs. Insufficient bandwidth in patient care areas, leading to perceptions of a system as 'slow,' along with insufficient capacity of network servers, have been documented as reasons for failure of information technology implementation in healthcare facilities (Spetz. …

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