Interdisciplinary teams in the nursing environment require an effective understanding of the opportunities available to enhance communication using various technologies. Primary care models and objectives must incorporate technology-based approaches to improve communication and expand outcomes for patients and for nursing practice as a whole. In addition, elements concerning privacy and telemedicine must also be addressed as a means of improving strategies that emphasize communication in the electronic era. It is necessary to identify these objectives and to accomplish new directives that will facilitate positive patient outcomes. The following discussion will address these directives and examine some of the issues related to communication and technology in interdisciplinary teams in the electronic era of nursing practice.
Rothstein (2007) considers the utilization of electronic health records systems and the role of privacy in these practices, as concerns regarding patient consent the delivery of electronic health data are significant. In this context, it is observed that confidentiality and privacy should be a primary focus of all electronic data systems and the ability to communicate effectively in promoting high quality patient care in spite of apprehension regarding these practices (Rothstein, 2007). Since there is an increased level of worry and stress regarding these alternatives, nurses must engage in conversations across different disciplines in order to alleviate these fears and demonstrate that in the provision of patient care and treatment, all possible opportunities are taken to protect confidential patient information using electronic means (Rothstein, 2007). In the area of telemedicine, it is important to identify the different areas that impact this practice in different ways in order to accommodate the needs of patients facing a variety of risks involving quality of care (Whitten, 2006). In this manner, it becomes necessary to identify technology-based solutions that will be effective promoters of improved quality of care and treatment for large groups of patients so that there are sufficient opportunities for growth and change (Whitten, 2006). However, the introduction of telemedicine also requires expanded communication efforts between nurses and other disciplines so that implementation efforts do not compromise patient care in any way (Whitten, 2006). In this manner, it is likely that organizations will face new challenges when these technologies are rolled out to the masses because their contributions to healthcare practice must not reduce the quality of care that is provided (Whitten, 2006). The cost of these services may also be prohibitive for other areas of nursing practice; therefore, these issues must be discussed openly and without hesitation (Whitten, 2006). It is expected that the development of new nursing practice initiatives involving telemedicine will capture the understanding of its strengths and weaknesses and will encourage discussions regarding the impact of these efforts on nursing practice as a whole (Whitten, 2006).
In the development of improved chronic disease management approaches to nursing practice, it is important to identify the different perspectives that are likely to be effective in influencing a variety of chronic conditions and not a single condition (Dorr et.al, 2006). This requires nurses in interdisciplinary teams to recognize the challenges of communication in expressing concerns regarding patients and their needs (Dorr et.al, 2006). Therefore, it is necessary to achieve effective communication by removing barriers that prohibit this practice, along with other factors that limit the potential for successful patient outcomes (Dorr et.al, 2006). In this context, chronic illnesses must be addressed through enhanced communication that will encourage discussions regarding common patient and practice concerns (Dorr et.al, 2006).
Communication throughout nursing practice is a critical component in achieving successful results for all patients. Therefore, it is important to identify these concerns and to take the steps that are required to improve identity amongst practitioners to better define roles and expectations (Real, 2010). Communication must be enhanced through the creation of new ideas and approaches to overcome barriers and to expand the boundaries of healthcare practice (Real, 2010). However, it is often the case that the introduction of new forms of technology and other factors negatively impact patient outcomes because communication and technology do not work well together (Westbrook and Braithwaite, 2010). In this manner, it is likely that organizations must work to overcome the notion of “disruptive technology” in order to accomplish patient care objectives and the transition to electronic patient records systems (Westbrook and Braithwaite, 2010). These efforts play an important role in shaping outcomes and in reflecting upon the challenges and weaknesses associated with patient care and wellbeing in a variety of nursing settings (Westbrook and Braithwaite, 2010). In addition, nurses and interdisciplinary teams must exercise flexibility in a sound and reasonable manner in order to accomplish the desired outcomes for all patients, particularly when technology-based solutions are introduced to organizations for future implementation- (Westbrook and Braithwaite, 2010).
Nurses must learn how to communicate well across disciplines and with other specialists in order to facilitate the improved quality of care and treatment for all patients. This is best accomplished through initiatives that embrace technology and effectively integrate these resources into current practice settings in an effective manner to accomplish the desired objectives. At the same time, nurses must be open to compromise and the ability to overcome specific criteria that limit patient care outcomes in some settings and replace these concerns with real and effective solutions to support long-term improvements in quality and patient wellbeing.
Dorr, D.A., Wilcox, A., Burns, L., Brunker, C.P., Narus, S.P., and Clayton, P.D. (2006). Implementing a multidisease chronic care model in primary care using people and technology. Disease Management, 9(1), 1-15.
Real, K. (2010). Health-related organizational communication: a general platform for interdisciplinary research. Management Communication Quarterly, 1-8.
Rothstein, M.A. (2007). Health privacy in the electronic age. The Journal of Legal Medicine,
Westbrook, J.I., and Braithwaite, J. (2010). Will information and communication technology disrupt the health system and deliver on its promise? Medical Journal of Australia, 93, 399-400.
Whitten, P. (2006). Telemedicine: communication technologies that revolutionize healthcare services. Generations, 30(2), 20-24.