When Will Technology Catch Up


The age of technology has made great strides in the medical profession, improving the care of patients and in many ways making bedside nursing more efficient.  I began my nursing career in the mid 1970’s, everything was done on paper, the lab would come and draw blood at 6 o’clock in the morning to tell us what a person’s blood glucose was for insulin coverage prior to the bedside glucose monitors we now have.  The younger nurses that I work with love to hear about the “old days when” from myself and other nurses who have been around for more than a decade.

As we go through our daily work week we have cat scan, x-ray, lab draw results continuously flowing through our computers, usually available within an hour of a patient being tested, allowing for further testing and treatment decisions that use to take up to 24 hours or longer for doctors to accomplish, are now accomplished during a single shift.

From Monday to Friday information flows smoothly most of the time, but then it is the weekend and it seems that time reverses and we are in another era.  This past weekend was my weekend rotation, I recall one patient in particular that was hoping to go home, his discharge was going to be determined by the results of  an echocardiogram that was done early Saturday morning.  His cardiologist came in at 1 o’clock, no report was available within the computer or when cardiac testing was called.  Sunday came and went, Monday morning the man was discharged.

This scenario was seen more frequently prior to the technology now available to us,  however it needs to be available seven days a week to give the best care possible and save money, the weekends need to catch up technologically with the Monday through Friday work week.

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