The Department of Health has funded a £250,000, two-year study into how nurses use IT when making clinical decisions and the level of training and information available to them when using the systems.

The study, which will be undertaken in collaboration between York, Southampton and Loughborough universities, will concentrate on individual specialised local systems in four trusts across the UK.

“We’re doing a national survey to work out what sorts of new technology are being used by nurses," Dr Dawn Dowding, programme manager of the study at York University, told E-Health Insider. The four systems to be studied in more detail will be chosen out of the results of the survey.

“Very little is known about what types of system are in place at local levels. None of them has been developed at a national level and so there may be considerable differences in the types of equipment that nurses use," she added.

The study will not concentrate on the National Programme for IT, although Dr Dowding agreed that as the study goes on, the effects of its implementation will be visible: “Obviously it’s having an impact on the sorts of systems that are in place and will be in place."

The DH were looking to find out how nurses interact with these sorts of systems, and what effect they have on decision making, said Dr Dowding.

The survey started at the beginning of 2005 and is being run by the University of York’s department of health sciences, along with the science and technology studies unit at York, the University of Southampton’s school of nursing and midwifery and Loughborough University’s department of information science.

The study will also track the use of PRODIGY, a reference resource used by nurses and GPs in clinical decision-making during patient consultation.

The research into decision support software comes after NICE announced the NPfIT had instructed it to review the safety and efficacy of clinical decision support software used by GPs.


University of York

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