NHS Digital Chief Nurse, Anne Cooper, uses the foreword of a new Queen’s Nursing Institute report to say that we are on the cusp of a great opportunity to use technology to accelerate the contribution community nurses make to patient care.
Anne has written the foreword to the report which assesses how community nurses, and the services they work for, are responding to the opportunities the fast-paced digital agenda offers.
She celebrates the fact that well-managed IT systems can enable nurses to spend more time giving direct patient-facing care, while acknowledging that problems with systems can also present barriers.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) launched the major new report on the use of digital and information technology at its conference on 23 April.
The new report ‘Nursing in the Digital Age – Using Technology to Support Patients at Home’2 – is based on a survey of over 500 nurses working in the community.
The document revisits a subject first analysed by the QNI in its 2012 publication ‘Smart New World.’ The Chief Executive of the QNI, Dr Crystal Oldman, indicates that technology has changed significantly in the ensuing six years, as have skills and attitudes. Community nurses are “demonstrating a general confidence in, and acceptance of, new IT systems”, the report says. She also says the report highlights the challenges that people can face with complex IT systems.
Anne Cooper, Chief Nurse at NHS Digital, said: “This report indicates we are at the cusp of a great opportunity to use technology to accelerate the contribution of community nurses to the wide system changes we need.
“The possibilities of managing caseloads alone, to free resources, and to ensure we have the right practitioners in the right place, at the right time, to meet the needs of patients seems to have great potential. We need data and system standards for community nursing that enable consistent approaches to the recording, coding, entry and viewing of information about community care.
“We also need to focus on culture changes to see the real integration of technology and data into nursing practice.
“We want to meet effectively the needs of patients and so their involvement is key. They need to be as engaged in the digital agenda as ourselves. Only then can we meet the challenges presented to us in community nursing.”