Electronic nursing documentation in primary health care

Eva Törnvall, Susan Wilhelmsson, Lis Karin Wahren
Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences 2004, 18 (3): 310-7
The aim of this study was to describe and analyse nursing documentation based on an electronic patient record (EPR) system in primary health care (PHC) with emphasis on the nurses' opinions and what, according to the nursing process and the use of the keywords, the nurses documented. The study was performed in one county council in the south of Sweden and included 42 Primary Health Care Centres (PHCC). It consisted of a survey, an audit of nursing records with the Cat-ch-Ing instrument and calculation of frequencies of keywords used during a 1-year period. For the survey, district nurses received a postal questionnaire. The results from the survey indicated an overall positive tendency concerning the district nurses' opinions on documentation. Lack of in-service training in nursing documentation was noted and requested from the district nurses. All three parts of the study showed that the keywords nursing interventions and status were frequently used while nursing diagnosis and goal were infrequent. From the audit, it was noted that medical status and interventions appeared more often than nursing status. The study demonstrated limitations in the nursing documentation that inhibited the possibility of using it to evaluate the care given. In order to develop the nursing documentation, there is a need for support and education to strengthen the district nurses' professional identity. Involvement from the heads of the PHCC and the manufactures of the EPR system is necessary, in cooperation with the district nurses, to render the nursing documentation suitable for future use in the evaluation and development of care.

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