Nursing Information technology has become an essential component in the nursing profession, including oncology nursing. It is seen in the healthcare setting for educational purposes, electronic health records, charting, and more (Fetter, 2009). Information technology can be used to promote patient safety, to improve efficiency, and to create a patient-centered plan of care (Baked, Camino, & Hayricks, 2004). Also, information technology has affected the bioethics principles of beneficence, maleficent, Justice, and autonomy in both positive and negative means (Polite & Beck, 012).
Information technology has made improvements to patient safety. Access to patient information and records that is needed to develop and implement the plan of care can be obtained immediately at the bedside because of technology such as pagers and wireless devices. In some facilities, alerts are produced as “triggers” for patient safety concerns such as adverse drug reactions or abnormal laboratory data. These alerts are beneficial in oncology nursing as the nurse is warned of low blood counts or kidney functions before administering chemotherapy.
Interdisciplinary immunization has become more convenient, especially in the case of an emergency because of technology advancements (Baked et al. , 2004). Therefore, the provider can be notified immediately of an adverse reaction to a chemotherapy agent for example. Use of technology is proving to be more efficient through research in the nursing practice. Patient data collected on paper contains a higher number of entry errors, higher costs, and more time spent on reviewing the data when compared to electronic methods.
The nurse can quickly assess patient data such laboratory exult, obtain a new physician order, and discuss it with the patient without ever leaving the bedside. The nurse is allowed an increase in autonomy because of these advancement methods (Hardwire, Paid, & Deadlines, 2007). Autonomy is critical for an outpatient oncology setting. The patient’s care is under the direction of the nurse and in the case of a reaction event quick, efficient decisions must be made for the well-being of the patient. In addition to safety and efficiency, technology has aided in the patient-centered focus of the nursing practice.
Practitioners are more likely to allow the standard of care with fewer variations when informatics is used. In turn, better patient outcomes are likely to follow. When a standard of care is used, the nurse can better know how to educate his or her patients regarding the plan of care (Hardwire et al. , 2007). In oncology, research trials are frequently conducted to obtain more information on treatment options. Bioethics principles are incorporated into these studies for the benefit of those involved. The principles of beneficence, maleficent, Justice, and autonomy are discussed.
Beneficence declares that research would not cause harm (maleficent) to participants, but are instead intended to benefit the participant and others (Polite & Beck, 2012). In other words, the oncology patient may undergo a chemotherapy study without being harmed in order to draw a conclusion on the benefits of the treatment for the future. The patient is able to withdraw participation in the study at any time (Polite & Beck, 2012). Information technology has impacted this principle due to the increases in safety measures previously discussed by Baked et al (2004).
Justice provides the patient with privacy acts and fairness in the trial selection (Polite & Beck, 2012). Information technology can be incorporated into this principal since practitioners are more likely to follow the standards of the trial for participant selection when informatics is used instead of selecting a vulnerable population. Therefore, better patient outcomes are likely to follow (Hardwire et al. , 2007). Lastly, autonomy for the patient could be altered by information technology. Researchers may collect data through electronic means without the knowledge or consent of the subjects.