February 08, 2012 | | Comments 0
Print This Post
Email This Post

Cool app for nurses, but does it foster bad habits?

Robert Freeman, a registered nurse at Beth Israel Hospital in New York, designed an mobile app for nurses that includes a database of more than 10,000 medical abbreviations and a news feed specific to the nursing profession, according to the New York Daily News. Freeman said the idea for a nursing app came to him when a colleague could not decipher an abbreviation on a patient’s chart. He indicates that nursing students will benefit the most from using the app as a learning tool, but that it will also improve efficiency and productivity for all nurses by quickly answering queries.

Freeman spent three months researching the information necessary to design “Nurse Net,” his free app. The app includes tools such as the Credentialer, which clarifies the abbreviations for various certifications and credentials used by health professionals, and the Abbreviation Assistant, which interprets abbreviations found on medical charts. “Nurse Net” became available in the Apple Store in November and has been downloaded more than 12,000 times since then.

I wonder how patient safety and quality professionals (yes, you) felt about these kind of apps. Personally, I worry about a nurse who, instead of clarifying an abbreviation (which may be a “do-not-use” abbreviation!) with the physician, consults an app. I would always prefer communication between humans when possible rather than consulting a third source, even if it is a bit of effort. Also, speaking directly with the physician might help avoid future issues with that physician’s notes. Is consulting the app a workaround here? And don’t forget, an app isn’t responsible for being right; it’s not responsible for being updated, and most importantly, isn’t responsible for keeping your patients safe. It’s a product, like anything else, even if it’s free and developed by a nurse with the best of intentions.

Are we teaching the right thing here? Weigh in below.

First published on Patient Safety Monitor Blog

Entry Information

Filed Under: Hot topicsnurse education

About the Author: Katrina Gravel is an editor for the Education division of HCPro.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.