From semi-mobile to mobile work? Possibilities and constraints for hand-held computer use in home health care
ISSN der Zeitschrift
Mobile Computing in Medicine, Second Conference on Mobile Computing in Medicine, Workshop of the Project Group MoCoMed, GMDS-Fachbereich Medizinische Informatik & GI-Fachausschuss 4.7
Regular Research Papers
Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V.
This paper discusses the possibilities and constraints for using mobile computing in home health care by examining the work of home health care nurses in the city of Turku, located in the southwestern part of Finland. Home health care differs from other forms of health care by being 'semi-mobile'. Approximately half of a nurse's day is spent making visits to the homes of patients and the other half is spent at a shared office. While in the office, the nurses, among other things, enter information into a patient information system and communicate with other nurses present. By following the work of nurses, we found several possible applications for mobile or hand held devices. Mobile access to a variety of information sources and improved communication possibilities seemed valuable and appeared to offer possibilities for both improving the quality of the nurses' work and allowing the nurses to spend more time with their patients. In our study, however, we also found that the special nature of the work of home health care nurses sets many important constraints which must be taken into consideration before the work of home health care nurses can become truly mobile. Among other things, we found that the visits the nurses make to the office are more than just mandatory visits required for entering patient information and reporting the day's events to other nurses.