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Abstract

The rapid introduction of technology into acute healthcare settings, specifically the presence of point-of-care health information technology at patients’ bedsides, is expected to impact patients’ healthcare experience by altering nurse-patient interactions. This research was a multi-method naturalistic pilot study designed to explore patients’ perception of their interactions with nurses using bedside point-of-care health information technology in acute care. Data were collected using observation, interviews and surveys. Twenty-four participants were purposefully recruited from medical and surgical wards, to capture variability in their self-reported confidence with information technology; 29% were not confident, 38% were somewhat confident and 33% were completely confident with information technology. Participants’ mean age was 68.6 years (SD 11.1) and 63% were male. Qualitative observation, interview and survey data showed some nurses directly involved patients and explained or demonstrated how the point-of-care health information technology was being used to complement and enhance their care; while others used the point-of-care health information technology as an electronic documentation tool without engaging their patients. Patients’ experiences of point-of-care health information technology differed with their self-reported confidence with information technology; those with complete information technology confidence were better at recognising the potential and opportunities for point-of-care health information technology to support self-directed care than those with less confidence using information technology. Some participants reported that the use of point-of-care health information technology impeded interpersonal communication with nurses. Participants recognised the benefits of point-of-care health information technology to support clinical practice but generally desired greater engagement with the nurses when they used the system.

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