By Mary Varghese Presti, SVP and GM of Dragon Medical, Nuance Communications.
Nursing burnout is reaching unprecedented levels—and it’s creating a vicious circle of staffing shortages and increasing pressure on those who remain. Nearly 37% of nurses report feelings of burnout, and 44% have cited burnout and high stress as top contributors to their desire to leave the field.
Analysts expect the nursing shortage to continue and even intensify in the next 12 months, cementing workforce challenges as a core concern for health system leaders.
Many are beginning to re-examine nurses’ workloads to find better, more efficient ways for them to stay focused on quality patient care while still managing their non-care related tasks.
One key area of focus is helping nurses spend less time trapped at a computer. Documentation is one of the biggest drivers of screen time, taking up as much as 25% of a nurse’s working day and limiting the time they can spend on direct patient care as they update records, complete flowsheets, and review Electronic Health Record (EHR) charts. With nurses’ time at a premium and no option to reduce the amount of comprehensive documentation required for effective, compliant care, here’s how health systems can use technology to relieve some of that burden.
Giving Nurses More Time to Provide Care
Current documentation processes often take nurses away from patient care to a workstation, where they have to navigate electronic medical records (EMRs) and other systems to input patient data. With so much of their attention directed at the computer, it can be difficult for nurses to maintain that all-important patient connection.
But documentation no longer needs to be this complex or time-consuming. The latest advances in AI, clinical intelligence, and natural language understanding allow nurses to capture the entire patient story using their voice—whether they’re with patients, on the go, or at the nurse’s station.
For example, speech recognition can help nurses complete both structured flow sheets and unstructured notes using speech-to-text. We’ve already seen significant progress for physicians using voice technology, especially within EMRs, and it would be easy to replicate with nurses. With the right solution, nurses can dictate at their workstation or using a mobile device, also cutting down on the extra workload of “double documentation” where hand-written notes taken during patient face time need to be transcribed at the computer.