We will be meeting with Epic soon – please weigh in!
January 2022 – Recently, using one of our MSNBC op-eds as a platform, we asked the makers of Epic charting software for a meeting to discuss how their widely-used software might become more nurse-friendly and use less of nurses’ precious clinical time. That would enable nurses to spend more time on direct patient care–including tasks the software itself records–as well as improve nurses’ sense of well-being and ability to advocate. Epic representatives graciously agreed to discuss this with us, and we have a meeting set for the middle of this month. We welcome your input. Our top areas of interest are:
- Developing voice recognition software, so that nurses can dictate their assessments and other interventions, which could save nurses many hours per shift.
- Creating a nurse report record or sheet, putting data nurses have entered during their shift into a useful format. Nurses could then refer to it while giving or getting report, instead of having key data isolated in small, widely dispersed digital boxes, leaving nurses to start from scratch with paper and pen to tell the story of the patient. We understand some health systems have enabled such nurse report records, but we believe this should be a standard feature of the charting software.
- Enabling the ability to copy and paste everything, including previous assessments, fall risks, restraint assessments and interventions, so nurses do not have to fill out the same boxes over and over and over again, wasting precious time that could go to patient care.
- Changing the word “orders” to “scripts,” to avoid giving physicians and others the mistaken impression that physician are in charge of nurses–or patients. (See more on this below.)
If you have suggestions as to changes you would like Epic to consider, please let us know by January 13, 2021 so we can include your thoughts in our meeting. Please email us your ideas at email@example.com. Thank you.
Regarding our request to end use of the term “orders” in the clinical setting
When physicians or other providers use the word “orders” to refer to their prescriptions, it encourages them and the public to believe that physicians are in charge of nurses and patients, and that whatever they “order” nurses must necessarily do. Physicians and other advanced providers can prescribe medicine and other treatments. But when physicians or other providers use the word “orders,” it encourages them and the public to believe that physicians are in charge of nurses and patients, and that whatever they “order” nurses must necessarily do. That is not so. Patients have the right to control their own health care. And nurses have the autonomy as well as the legal, professional and ethical obligation to undertake only care that they believe is in the patients’ best interests. Nurses should decline to implement prescriptions they reasonably believe are not safe, wise, or advantageous for the patient. Using the word prescription (or “script” for short) would remove the damaging word “order” from health care’s vocabulary. This change would better reflect the true relations among patients, nurses, and physicians, improving patient health and the health care workplace. Here is a recent example:
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