Opinion

Nurse: Isn't it time we stopped coddling doctors about computers?

LETTER — Posted May 23, 2005

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Regarding "Technology can cause medication errors, study finds" (Article, March 28): Your article states that computerized physician order entry systems "aren't created with physician workflow in mind."

Unfortunately, not all health care issues revolve around physicians. It is a team effort. We all know the importance of physicians to the health care team, but their input must be legible to pharmacists, resident physicians, interns, nurses and other members of the team for treatments, medications and smooth workflow.

Isn't it time we stop coddling these players and expect that they join the team, instead of giving them special treatment? If physicians aren't part of the solution, then they're part of the problem.

Nurses and pharmacists must have clear directives from the physicians or medication errors will continue. Physicians must know what other physicians say in consult or medical errors will continue.

This is no longer the Stone Age, in which we carve out our instructions on tablets like the Ten Commandments. Physicians need to shed their old habits and embrace the advancements of the 21st-century health care initiative, especially by the use of computers. Computer usage is highly evolved in other industries; why do physicians resist it in health care?

Anne Nowlin, RN, Huntley, Ill.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/05/23/edlt0523.htm.

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