Journal of Gerontological Nursing

EPILOGUE 

The Computer Doesn't Have a Heart!

Evangeline R Dumont, MS, RN

Abstract

There are big changes occurring in the health care industry today Corporate-style strategies are being introduced by business professionals who have the highest levels of expertise, and are armed with the most sophisticated financial procedures and techniques. With them arrive the newest in computer applications. This need for change was brought about by rising insurance costs, low reimbursement rates, stringent government regulations and the over-all escalation of costs of caring for the sick, the elderly and the disabled.

Regardless of how refined these business techniques become, however, one element must always remain constant in the delivery of health care - the human factor.

The computer age has introduced some magnificent machines which can tell you at a glance how many syringes, cold packs, or bed pans are on hand at any given time; or whether a certain hospital service is apt to make money, break even or operate at a loss after a period of time. But nowhere on the keyboard is there a button to relate an emotion or a feeling. The computer cannot tell if a patient is hurting or in need of special consideration.

It is a comforting thought, however, that even in this very fast-paced and progressive world, there is still a human being with feelings and emotions who stands ready to reassure a patient when he or she is frightened, or to hold a hand when the pain is too great.

This delicate balance of sensitivity must be maintained by the hospital administration as it introduces the computer into the nursing station. To lose sight of the human factor in medicine could become a major travesty.

There is good news, tool Computers are definitely earning and deserving a place on the busy nursing desk. Their wealth of information and refinement in providing answers to complicated medical problems have increased the productivity of the health care staffs. The nurse's function is to use the computer's assimilated knowledge in an effective manner.

This is especially important in the care of the elderly. Their lifeline has come almost full circle. Like the young, they too need lots of love, compassion, transferrai of feelings of hope, and qualified attention.

Charting duties are over in fast order these days, thanks to the magic box. Medications can be calculated and ready for distribution with dispatch. Although a patient's chart on the computer may report a IMs well, the machine is unable to evaluate one very important element - the "feeling" quotient. Some patients need extra doses of reassuring attention from a warm, compassionate human being.

Before a nurses day is through, she has dispensed a dose of reassurance medicine ten times over, and the computer's capacity has allowed the nurse time to do that by diminishing charting time.

Computers in health care are here to stay but until these machines can be programmed to have emotions, the human machine is the tool that sets the healing system Into motion.…

There are big changes occurring in the health care industry today Corporate-style strategies are being introduced by business professionals who have the highest levels of expertise, and are armed with the most sophisticated financial procedures and techniques. With them arrive the newest in computer applications. This need for change was brought about by rising insurance costs, low reimbursement rates, stringent government regulations and the over-all escalation of costs of caring for the sick, the elderly and the disabled.

Regardless of how refined these business techniques become, however, one element must always remain constant in the delivery of health care - the human factor.

The computer age has introduced some magnificent machines which can tell you at a glance how many syringes, cold packs, or bed pans are on hand at any given time; or whether a certain hospital service is apt to make money, break even or operate at a loss after a period of time. But nowhere on the keyboard is there a button to relate an emotion or a feeling. The computer cannot tell if a patient is hurting or in need of special consideration.

It is a comforting thought, however, that even in this very fast-paced and progressive world, there is still a human being with feelings and emotions who stands ready to reassure a patient when he or she is frightened, or to hold a hand when the pain is too great.

This delicate balance of sensitivity must be maintained by the hospital administration as it introduces the computer into the nursing station. To lose sight of the human factor in medicine could become a major travesty.

There is good news, tool Computers are definitely earning and deserving a place on the busy nursing desk. Their wealth of information and refinement in providing answers to complicated medical problems have increased the productivity of the health care staffs. The nurse's function is to use the computer's assimilated knowledge in an effective manner.

This is especially important in the care of the elderly. Their lifeline has come almost full circle. Like the young, they too need lots of love, compassion, transferrai of feelings of hope, and qualified attention.

Charting duties are over in fast order these days, thanks to the magic box. Medications can be calculated and ready for distribution with dispatch. Although a patient's chart on the computer may report a IMs well, the machine is unable to evaluate one very important element - the "feeling" quotient. Some patients need extra doses of reassuring attention from a warm, compassionate human being.

Before a nurses day is through, she has dispensed a dose of reassurance medicine ten times over, and the computer's capacity has allowed the nurse time to do that by diminishing charting time.

Computers in health care are here to stay but until these machines can be programmed to have emotions, the human machine is the tool that sets the healing system Into motion.

10.3928/0098-9134-19850401-15

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