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Evaluation of a Hands-Free Communication Device in an Acute Care Setting: A Study of Healthcare Providers’ Perceptions of Its Performance

DE GROOD, JILL MA; WALLACE, JEAN E. PhD; FRIESEN, STEVEN P. BSc; WHITE, DEBORAH E. PhD, RN; GILMOUR, JANET G. MD; LEMAIRE, JANE B. MD

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: March 2012 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 148–156
doi: 10.1097/NCN.0b013e31823eb62c
FEATURE ARTICLE
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Quality medical care hinges on healthcare providers being able to communicate effectively and efficiently. In this study, we examine if healthcare providers’ perceptions of the performance of a wireless communication device are consistent with what it is claimed the technology can offer, namely, improved patient safety and quality of care. We used a mixed-methods design where we collected data from a single medical unit. During the qualitative component of the study, we conducted face-to-face interviews to explore healthcare team members’ perceptions of the impact of a wireless communication device on their day-to-day patient care activities. Three major improvements were identified from the interview data: more direct and effective communication, improved work efficiency, and enhanced continuity of patient care. The quantitative component consisted of a questionnaire constructed from the major themes extracted from the interviews. Many of the healthcare team members reported that the wireless communication device improved their communication and allowed them to complete their work more efficiently. In addition, the questionnaire findings suggest that both improved communication and work efficiency are correlated with perceptions of improved quality of patient care. Based on the results of this study, this wireless communication device does live up to its aims of enhancing communication, staff efficiency, and improving perceived patient safety.

Author Affiliations: Department of Sociology (Ms de Grood and Dr Wallace), Faculty of Environmental Design (Mr Friesen), Faculty of Nursing (Dr White), and Department of Medicine (Drs Gilmour and Lemaire), University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Support for this research was provided by a University Grants Review Committee, University of Calgary research grant.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationship with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Corresponding author: Jean E. Wallace, PhD, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr NW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4 (jwallace@ucalgary.ca).

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.