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Electronic job aid to benefit healthcare workers and patients

Facing high-pressure situations and the potential for fatigue and error, nurses and aircraft maintenance personnel have a lot in common. To help the healthcare system address these problems, researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have adapted an electronic job aid and reference tool they designed for aircraft maintenance workers. The tool is intended to improve the performance of nurses and other hospital personnel.

Called the medical electronic performance support system (MedEPSS), the technology is based on the award-winning maintainer's electronic performance support system (MEPSS) developed by Gisele Welch, director of GTRI's Logistics and Maintenance Applied Research Center (LandMARC) and her colleagues. MEPSS was designed for military maintenance workers who repair P-3 aircraft for the U.S. Navy.

Like its predecessor, MedEPSS offers a secure and mobile source of reference material, specialized training materials and ready access to vital records. For time-pressed nurses, ready access to patient history, drug information, medical references and automated diagnostic tools could be a lifesaver -- literally, Welch said.

MedEPSS also could relieve some of the workplace pressures nurses face, such as patient overloads stemming from the national shortage of nurses, healthcare worker errors and increased demands for more specialized care, Welch added.

"There are lots of tools available for doctors," she explained, "but very little focus on nurses."

Now in the pilot testing phase, MedEPSS operates as Web-based software on handheld hardware, such as Compac's iPac. Secure and portable, the system offers multiple benefits: Patient care could be optimized, diagnoses made more quickly and easily, and errors (including those associated with the administration of drugs) could be reduced.

Training, including refresher training, also could be enhanced by the device, increasing throughput as nurses receive less classroom and
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Contact: Jane Sanders
jane.sanders@edi.gatech.edu
404-894-2214
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
26-Feb-2003


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