Applications of Computers in Medical and Nursing
As computers are heavily used for storing and retrieving data the application can be administrative, clinical, telenursing, teleconferencing etc. also. The following text describe the application of computer in medical and nursing establishment.
Administrative work is a part of any nursing practice, whether it is a small clinic in a quiet rural area or an acute-care hospital serving an entire state. Computers are effective devices that help to reduce the amount of clerical work, thus saving time and utilizing for patient care. They have proven to be very useful for a number of administrative issues few example are given below:
Patient's Appointments: Depending upon the workload, doctor appointments/patient appointments can be scheduled for better patient care and time management. Registrations of the patients (OPD, Indoor and Emergency) can be well maintained.
Follow-up/Track-Missed-up Visits: Medical software offers great flexibility in checking follow-up visits, which are so vital for patient's convenience. Rescheduling visits when they are missed, reminder letters, and substitute consultations are better
managed with the help of computerization.
Billing and Accounting: Computerization also helps the clinic with its financial needs such as patient billing, break-up of collection, statement of expenses and staff salaries. Good accounting softwares are available which can be used.
Inventories of Drugs and Supplies: Computers are extremely useful for better management of supplies and available stock of drugs, linens and equipment. Due to oversight and manual mistakes, many drugs are wasted because of their expiry dates. This, and many other inventory-related problems, can easily be tackled by a computerized inventory system. Whenever any drug/equipment is purchased and/or utilized, the computer can generate a list of stock in hand, along with a Galuation at any given point of time. This helps in effective ward management.
Staff Details/Payroll: Details such as staff bio-data (in detail), attendance and absenteeism, taking care of paid unpaid leave, etc., can be efficiently managed with the help of a good Payroll Software. More accuracy and sophistication can be implemented by the use of Smart Card /Magnetic Card Readers. These devices can be attached to the computer where the check-in check-out/in between exit from the office premises by the staff can be automatically recorded.
Correspondence: Reports, Referral letters and "Thank You" notes can be created easily, and addresses or graphs can be prepared and updated regularly.
The clinical applications of computer in the health-care field deal with aiding a nurse in her/his professional practice, which may vary depending on specialty: Several areas of clinical practice are streamlined with the help of computerization.
Prescription: A computerised prescription will do away with the age-old saying, that a doctor's handwriting is always illegible. Printed from a computer, a prescription will be clear and decent looking, dosage will be automatically calculated, and time consuming writing work of nursing personnel is eliminated as relevant instructions and important side-effects could be printed in common language.
Investigations: Computerization of diagnostic services is an immense benefit to the patient. As it will help in starting the treatment for the patient early. Computer- generated reports have the advantage of a built-in checks for accuracy and reference values based upon the age and the sex of the patient. Computerized interpretation of reports such as cardiotopographs have become available, which will help the nurse to plan nursing interventions immediately based on nursing diagnostic. Computer-aided management, such as estimation of risk of chromosomal anomalies such as Down's syndrome, are now available as well.
Drug Dosages: Calculation of drug dosages becomes a difficult task when dealing with hepatic/renal diseases, debilitating conditions or children. With available software, dosage calculations are easily performed, and specific instructions for the patient are just as easily viewed or pnnted.
Nursing Records: Computerized Nursing records are more efficient and more useful as compared to manually prepared records. Such a nursing care records nurses notes, 110 Charts, nursing diagnosis records can be retrieved very easily. These records can be extremely helpful for statistical analysis, nursing audit, medical audit and medico- legal purposes.
Patient/Parent Education: Software packages offer an important tool for health education in nursing practice. These programs can be used to educate patients while they wait for their turn in the reception area of the hospital. This issue assumes further importance due to increased public awareness on health and disease such as diet, immunization, first-aid measures, and stress management.