Use of PDAs to assess time spent in patient bedside care

In the medical center where I currently work, I and a few other staff have undertook a PDA study of time spent at our patient bedside. Our medical center has listened to the complaints of many nurses who feel we have too little time to assess and care for our patients at the bedside. Many have found they spend more time documenting their care, than actually performing it. We have thus undergone a PDA study to assess our time spent. The PDA is used by one person/ day 2 days/wk over the course of 3 months. The PDA is equipped with a program that will randomly alert the nurse approximately 8 times/ shift. At those times, the nurse will choose from various options of what they are doing, either in the patient room, out of the room, discussing care, documenting, searching for equipment, preparing meds, etc. At the end of every month, we then download the information gathered into a pie chart to evaluate how much time we spend assessing our patients (our goal is 70% of the time). If we aren’t reaching that goal, what may be eating up the time we could be spending there? At the end of the study we will then gather the information and plan to change either where we keep equipment that may be hard to find, where we place our computers to document, etc in hopes of minimizing the factors that keep us from having sufficient time to see, assess and evaluate our patients. I feel this is an important example of the ways technology can be used to increase patient care, time spent in assessment and bedside interaction.

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