Nursing Union Leverages Social Media to Campaign Against Health IT
A nurses union has launched a multimedia campaign to warn the public about technology-related threats to patient safety. Of particular concern to the union, National Nurses United (NNU), is the future of “digitalized care” by way of electronic health records (EHRs).
“Bedside computers that diagnose and dictate treatment for patients, based on generic population trends not the health status or care needs of that individual patient, increasingly supplant the professional assessment and judgment of experienced nurses and doctors exposing patients to misdiagnosis, mistreatment, and life-threatening mistakes,” a press release from the union states. “Computerized electronic health records systems too often fail, leaving doctors and nurses in the dark without access to medical histories or medical orders.”
NNU is also highly critical of other healthcare initiatives that demand high-tech innovations and engagement from health information management professionals, such as accountable care organizations, telemedicine, and various Affordable Care Act programs.
The organization argues that greater reliance on registered nurses—as well as an increase in overall nurse staffing levels—are a better bet than technology in reforming healthcare. NNU is advocating for the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act (S. 739), which would:
- Establish minimum nurse-to-patient ratios that will save lives, improve the quality of care and help to address the nursing shortage by creating a work environment that encourages nurses to remain in the hospital workforce
- Provide whistleblower protections to protect the right of nurses to advocate for the safety of patients and report violations of minimum standards of care
- Invest in nursing mentorship demonstration programs to better prepare nurses for work in a hospital setting