In the study conducted at the Presbyterian Hospital, there were several differences and similarities in the information needs of nurses and physicians in the New York based hospital. The physicians and nurses are two different groups of professional workers at the hospital whose duties are not very much different. The study was aimed at identifying the information needs as well as communication patterns of the two sets of healthcare employees. The perceptions of the two sets of professionals about how the information requirements relate to medical related errors was the main focus of the study.
The information needs of physicians are similar to those of nurses in several ways. One of the similarities is that the information needs are closely related since the two professionals work in the same environment. The needs are patient related such as the patient information records and diagnoses. The needs are similar in terms of the challenges they face such as difficulty to access patient information, limited timelines to access specific information and tendencies to find outdated or inaccurate information.
The differences between the information needs of physicians and nurses arise when it comes to the specific nature of the information they deal with. In patient specific data, for instance, physicians needs include patient information, records and medication while nurses’ information needs are related with diagnoses and lab test outcomes. Physician needs at the institution level include the healthcare providers and contacting them while nurses needs include information about protocol and policies of the healthcare provider. The domain specification information needs also differ since physicians are interested in prescription, disease management and medical formula information while nurses focus on drug dosage, diagnoses and educational information.
Institutional specific needs for physicians entail current healthcare providers on call and the ways with which to contact them. Nurses deal with census reports, information on drugs like dosages and protocol and policies within the healthcare institution. Key inputs include call addresses of healthcare providers, hospital rules and regulations, patient data on census and prescriptions and dosages. Processes involved include calling the healthcare providers, checking out provider policies and regulations and checking records to establish census and dosages. The appropriate methods of communication include making calls to providers for physicians. Nurses would write patient census reports and either as hard copies or in computer databases.
Domain information for physicians includes data inputs and outputs such as prescription, disease management and medical formula information while nurses focus on diagnostic, educational material and drug information. The communication methods and systems for this need would include placing the information in the system database where every professional who needs it can access it. Patient information would then be managed by a special department to enhance patient privacy. This is because this is a cheap way of communication and many people can access the data. Furthermore, patient privacy is enhanced.
Communication needs are similar for both nurses and physicians. Physicians have a hard time contacting and identifying other health service providers like consultants while nurses find it hard contacting and identifying the same. The best system and method that would improve communication and sharing of data would be to develop a common data base of healthcare information. Furthermore, healthcare providers should avail their contact information to other providers to make communication easy and efficient.
Therefore, the needs faced by physicians and nurses may be similar in some scenarios but are mostly different in nature and specification. The differences could be information, domain, institution or patient specific. Each specification of needs has its own unique processes, outputs and inputs. However, sharing of information and effective communication between healthcare providers can help solve the problems faced by both nurses and physicians. Therefore, healthcare providers must have efficient communication networks, share information and have well documented and updated information needed by physicians and nurses.
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