Enhancing Clinical Nurse Workflow through Redesign of Networked Wireless Laptop Computers

Liza Heslop, Gitesh K Raikundalia


Nurses spend a substantial amount of their time documenting observations and care processes, leaving less time for patient-centred activities. This paper covers our study of the application of mobile-wireless laptop computers to clinical workflow within the nursing unit. An observational study design was used to explore ergonomic and functionality issues of networked wireless computers and to determine the practical utility of the networked wireless computer for clinical workflow processes. A small group of nurses were observed over a six-month period in using two laptops affixed to trolleys for access in wards and at beds. Four main purposes for the laptops were discovered: ward rounds, diagnostic information, team meetings and education. This paper covers various findings related to each of these purposes. Additionally, findings for ergonomics and functional design related to the laptops are described. For instance, the inclination towards a traditional mouse as opposed to a touch-pad mouse. We also discuss the application of our findings to future use of mobile-wireless laptop computers in the unit setting.


Mobile-Wireless Laptops; Workstations on Wheels; Nursing informatics; Observational Study

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