Striking a Balance Between High Tech and High Touch

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Excerpt

When the AAMI Foundation invited INS to join in its work to address issues identified at the 2010 AAMI/FDA Infusion Device Summit, it brought nursing's voice into the conversation surrounding technology in health care.
AAMI has embraced the importance of an interprofessional approach to address complex health care technologies. While AAMI members—such as biomedical and clinical engineers, and computer and information technology experts—focus on the technical aspects of a process or piece of equipment, nurses often are the end-users of technology, for example, smart infusion pumps with dose-error reduction software.
Complex equipment used in health care today requires safe use not only by clinicians but also by caregivers and patients. And as the environment of care widens, the use of complex health care technology is no longer limited to hospital intensive care units; they can also be found in infusion centers, long-term care facilities, and patients' homes. These factors can lead to challenges for all involved in patient care.
Infusion nurses in today's high-tech environment, with its variety of devices and equipment, must be able to assess patients to determine appropriate device selection, and be competent in device insertion and care and management practices. They also must know how to use devices and equipment as manufacturers intended.1(p112)
The AAMI Foundation and its multidisciplinary network of experts provide many resources, such as webinars and a new series of quick guides that focus on infusion therapy safety issues. Two have been published to date: the first for health care executives2 and the second on multiple line management.3 The final 2 guides will be available later this year.
INS and the AAMI Foundation are partners in championing patient safety by incorporating sound ideas, science, and research into training and education. Health care is increasingly complex, but by working together and including all stakeholders—clinicians, engineers, regulators, academics, insurers, industry, and patients—I believe we will improve practice and increase patient safety across the continuum of care.
As nurses, we value the benefits of technology but also know that in our role, human interaction plays into what we do, and that above all we are still touching people in our delivery of care. All the more reason we need to ensure alignment of safe, competent use of technology with clinical practice.
As an infusion nurse, I believe there's a need to strike a balance between “high tech” and “high touch.” Although infusion nurses are well-versed in using the latest technology to provide the best possible infusion experience for their patients, they still interact face-to-face with their patients. Infusion therapy can be frightening. The human connection goes a long way in easing fears and comforting them.1(p110–111)
In an ever-changing and complex health care environment, in which we strive to achieve positive patient outcomes, the AAMI Foundation has risen to the challenge. It encourages an interprofessional approach with the clinical expertise and wisdom needed to address patient care issues associated with today's advanced technologies. INS recognizes the value in our partnership and together we will continue to explore new ways to advance clinical practice and patient safety.
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