Fitting clinical workflow: the case for wound care in a residential aged care home
Residential aged care homes have, or are in the process of implementing, electronic health record (EHR) systems to improve quality of care and reduce cost. For the system to deliver benefits, it must support nursing tasks and be seamlessly integrated into the nursing workflow. To identify whether and how an EHR system can do this most effectively, direct observation was conducted in a residential aged care home on nurses’ use of EHR for wound care. The work processes of wound care and its documentation were investigated. Problems in the use of EHR were identified: 1) functional deficiencies of the EHR system which included a lack of functions to remind nurses of the existence of a wound chart, unavailability of an existent function when needed and a lack of sufficient detail in the information provided; 2) a lack of mobile devices to allow nurses to access the EHR system at the point-of-care, resulting in nurses using paper for point-of-care documentation. The findings suggest that continuous improvement in both the EHR system and its management is required to achieve integration of people, task, process and technology for the optimal benefits of EHR.