Bar Code Tech Drives Nurses Nuts

“Nurses quickly learned how to hack the system to save time. For example, if a patient’s bar code didn’t scan correctly on the first try, nurses often entered the seven-digit bar code number manually rather than rescanning it.

“Nurses also felt that the computer system’s demands forced them to focus on pill-pushing. If meds weren’t given on time, nurses had to take time out to tell the system why. Many feared this could result in poor performance evaluations.

“‘I found myself walking away from important conversations with patients and families in order to fulfill the computer’s demands,’ said a VA nurse who spoke on condition of anonymity. ‘I feel like robo-nurse, and I don’t like it.'” —Bar Code Tech Drives Nurses NutsWired)

Does manually entering a bar code number really count as “hacking”? I think a system is probably broken if you have to “hack” it to make it work. Maybe the nurses were “optimizing” the system instead.

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