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At the recent Magnet Conference I had limited time to visit with other vendors, but I did engage in a lively discussion with a group marketing a healthcare app on the iPhone. The crux of the conversation was about the potential for nurses to disregard the user agreement to bring a personal app into the hospital.
The vendor’s contention was that the user agreement was sufficient to lift them above liability if the app was used in a manner inconsistent with the user agreement. My contention was that as vendors we are obligated to do more.
These folks were advertising a personal user license and a facility license. I would bet that nurses will be purchasing their own app to use on their personal iPhones in the workplace. Nurses are the true champions of the “the work-around.” When things don’t work, they find their own way to bypass the issue, because their voice in decisions has been ignored. This is changing, but not everywhere and not fast enough (enter Magnet standards!).
Is anyone out there encouraging nurses to use their personal devices in the workplace? My CNO “radar” kicked in immediately to “red alert.”
So what’s the liability for the organization if for some reason this device fails to perform as expected or human error contributes to a medication error? Is the employee hung out to dry for performing outside policy – using a personal iPhone and an app, which is not approved for use in their hospital?
Is the vendor really beyond culpability? The neighborhood personal injury attorney would love to hear this situation when the family of an injured patient seeks legal restitution for damages.
What’s your opinion?
These are the difficult elements of implementing technologies in the workplace. It’s not just about the technology – it’s about ethics to protect our nurses. Nurses are understaffed and overburdened with regulatory compliance. Why market a product in such a way that tempts nurses to use it in the hospital in any manner that creates risk?
Teresa Anderson, EdD, MSN, RNC-OB, NE-BC, is the chief nursing officer at Voalté. She has 30 years of nursing experience, including academic faculty, staff development, advanced practice, nursing leadership and quality performance improvement activities.
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