Purpose: Patients and health care providers often lack real time access to information at the bedside required to provide safe patient-centered care. Both groups identified pertinent information needed at the patient's bedside. The purpose of our research was to identify the essential data elements that will be used to define requirements for a useful bedside communication tool in the acute care hospital setting.
Methods: Descriptive research methods were used to identify bedside information requirements through group and individual interviews. Data from patients and health care providers were analyzed to identify common themes, compiled into a survey, and validated by both groups.
Results: Thirty-seven information requirements were identified and classified under five themes: (1) plan of care, (2) patient education, (3) communication of safety alerts, (4) diet, and (5) medications. A survey completed by 30 patients and 30 health care providers confirmed 36 specific bedside information requirements (mean ≥ 5 on an 11-point scale). Patients and health providers each identified 24 specific information requirements that were similar in importance. When compared with nurses, significant differences were noted in the degree to which patients identified knowing the "daily routine schedule," e.g. when their doctor typically sees patients as a key requirement for the electronic bedside communication tool, t=3.52, p=.001.
Conclusion: Patients and health care providers identified information requirements at the bedside to promote self-care management of healthcare needs and an understanding of the hospital environment. Accurate, easily accessed information at the bedside is needed for providing safe patient-centered care.
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