Is your EHR hurting your nurses?  

HospitalRXNurses are on the front lines of the industry’s radical transformation in EHRs (electronic health records), spending, in a typical shift, 35% of their time on documentation—that’s 3.5 hours of their workday entering information at a computer. Considering that about 30% of hospital executives report being unhappy with their current EHR system (survey by Premier), there’s a good chance that nursing executives, and the nurses who work for them, are equally unhappy.

WhenHealthcarehurtsUnderlying every EHR implementation is the goal of doing business more efficiently, but so much focus is put on the availability of the systems that certain parts of the implementation and logistical concerns may not be getting the attention they deserve. If nurses have complex systems to master, have equipment that doesn’t fit within their workflow, have equipment that doesn’t properly address privacy concerns or is uncomfortable to work on, the systems will never reach their full potential.

This news comes at a time when nurses may already be feeling unsettled about nursing shortages or the fact that nursing has the third highest reported injury rate of any profession. In a recent survey of full-time nurses, 60% are concerned that their job is negatively impacting their own health. Nurses are 48% more likely to have wrist, back and ankle sprains or strains, and 53% of nurse injuries are due to overexertion. Twelve percent have been injured on the job over the course of just one year and over 50% of nurses commonly suffer from back pain and sore necks. When considering these statistics, a few things quickly become clear. Their time spent documenting should not be an additional source of exertion and musculoskeletal injuries. But it is. Forty-nine percent of nurses report feeling some level of discomfort while inputting charting data into a computer workstation.

WhatNurseWouldDoWhat can be done? Fortunately, wrist and neck injuries related to time documenting are preventable. Planning and training is key. Nurses need the right support crew, in the form of adjustable and ergonomic workstations, whether mounted on the wall or in mobile formats that give nurses the power to improve their comfort during charting while also allowing them to deliver the same or an even better level of patient care.

In order to maximize your EHR implementations successfully, include evaluating current and future workflow processes and plan for the right equipment. Get input from nurses upfront, then be sure to train them on how to best use and adjust the equipment, making the act of documentation a positive experience for their bodies, wherever their shift takes them. With careful planning it’s possible for the implementation of EHR to work in your nurse’s favor rather than becoming a pain point.

When nurses feel good, it improves their quality of care. Conversely, injuries and physical discomfort directly affect patient interaction. Nurses admit feeling less friendly or engaging with patients and modifying or limiting their activity on the job if their body is hurting. Having the proper equipment is a win-win for nurse comfort and EHR implementation success.


PatientEngagement


Poor usability, time-consuming data entry and interference with face-to-face patient care are just three of the prominent sources of professional dissatisfaction with EHRs (2013 RAND report). While these factors won’t completely go away when improving computer interfaces, some challenges can be addressed to help ensure that in addition to adhering to government mandates and compliance, nurse health and safety remains a top priority.

Steve Reinecke, MT (CLS) CPHIMS
AVP of Healthcare at Ergotron

Steve R

 

DIY stand-up desk?

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Let’s all salute the office pioneers who, braving co-worker ridicule and IT angst, reached for the boxes, books, and other cube accessories to create stand-up desks in their sit-only landscapes.

Folks like Nikki, Amy, Ryan and the others, what were they hoping for? More energy, more focus, or maybe even for a back pain free day away from a sit-only workstyle. Like them, Ergotron is focused on pioneering workstations that get people moving too.

Have a DIY desk you want to share? Send us your pic on Facebook!

Obama Administration Requests $1 Billion in Education Funding

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Recently, District Administration and other news outlets like it, reported the Obama administration’s request for $1 billion in funding for American Indian education, including millions for schools needing new construction or significant repair.

Native American children are considered “at risk” students, not only for lower high school graduation rates, but also for the occurrence of Type II diabetes and obesity, which has reached epidemic proportions as compared to Non-native populations.

Recognizing that Ergotron’s product base gives educators the ability to activate classrooms where children spend much of their sedentary time, we joined forces with the Mayo Clinic at one Minnesota school, Nay Ah Shing Elementary, on the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Reservation. The Mayo Clinic was investigating the impact of incorporating more movement (Prevention, 2010) in the classroom on student health, behavior and performance and Ergotron was able to provide sit-stand workstations as intervention.

Physical activity in US schools averages less than 45 minutes per day although the government recommendation is 60 minutes. In the effort to improve academic achievement many schools have sacrificed physical education classes and recess. At the same time, statistics predict that obese adolescents stand a significant chance of becoming obese adults. The health risks associated with a growing population of overweight and obese citizens include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, dementia and early death¹.

Building on observations made during the pilot project at Nay Ah Shing, researchers are now studying students using Ergotron LearnFit™ Adjustable Standing Desks at Belle Terre Elementary in Palm Coast, Florida and Fountain Hills Unified School District in Phoenix, Arizona. The theory is that once kids get moving, standing, and walking around in the classroom during their learning time not only will it impact their health and risk for disease in the future but also it will increase their learning, processing and academic test scores. As at Nay Ah Shing, Belle Terre and Fountain Hills, students are tracking student activity and educators have been instructed how to teach in an active mode.

The US government encourages manufacturers like Ergotron to collaborate with scientists and research institutions on projects like Nay Ah Shing with the goal of improving the course of the lives of children. Students that may have otherwise left school will have more incentive to stay the course and, ultimately, become high performing adults. In addition, any funding that helps with the adoption of more active learning environments can tackle the issue of overweight students and play a part in preventing the onset of related (and extremely costly) diseases².

We will be blogging more about this important topic in the months ahead.

1. Jeffrey Levi, Chrissie Juliano, & Laura M. Segal, 2006
2. G. F. Dunton1, 2009