NHS Digital chief nurse Anne Cooper is hailing the use of technology as an opportunity to accelerate the contribution community nurses make to patient care.
In the Queen’s Nursing Institute report, Cooper discusses how community nurses, and the services they work for, are responding to the opportunities the fast-paced digital agenda offers.
She states that well-managed IT systems can help nurses spend more time giving direct patient-facing care, though acknowledges that problems with systems can also present barriers.
Key figures from the report show that there are at least 67 different named IT systems being used in community healthcare; 74% of community nurses find IT systems better than paper; 29% still largely work with paper-based systems and only 28% of services utilise text messages to remind patients about appointments.
The report shows that technology has changed significantly within six years alongside skills and attitudes. It goes on to say that community nurses are demonstrating a general confidence in, and acceptance of new IT systems.
Anne Cooper, chief nurse at NHS Digital, said: “This report indicates we are at the cusp of a great opportunity to use technology to accelerate the contribution of community nurses to the wide system changes we need.
“The possibilities of managing caseloads alone, to free resources, and to ensure we have the right practitioners in the right place, at the right time, to meet the needs of patients seems to have great potential. We need data and system standards for community nursing that enable consistent approaches to the recording, coding, entry and viewing of information about community care.
“We also need to focus on culture changes to see the real integration of technology and data into nursing practice.
“We want to meet effectively the needs of patients and so their involvement is key. They need to be as engaged in the digital agenda as ourselves. Only then can we meet the challenges presented to us in community nursing.”