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Mobile apps improve nurse diagnosis rates

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Seems like everyone at work has their phone at the ready – checking into it whenever they have a quick break (where allowed). And a new study from Columbia University School of Nursing shows that it’s often a good thing. Nurses using a decision support app on their mobile devices are significantly more likely to effectively diagnose weight issues, depression and tobacco use.

The study gave a group of nearly 400 RNs enrolled in the school’s nurse practitioner programs apps to use on their mobile devices. Some nursing students received the “evidence-based decision support tools” mobile app. The app was able to calculate body mass index scores, provide prompts about tobacco use and give questions for depression screening. Other nurses received a different app that only allowed them to record patient exam results.

The most significant advantage of using the decision support app came in diagnosing obese patients. Nurses using the decision support app had a diagnosis rate of 33.9 percent for obese and overweight patients, compared to 4.8 percent for nurses using the simple record-keeping app.

The decision support app also led to an 11.9 percent diagnosis rate for tobacco use, with 2.3 percent for nurses with the other app. The depression diagnosis rate for the decision app was 8.8 percent, compared to 0.2 percent with the other app.

Many apps are currently being developed specifically to help nurses both on and off the job. We recently reported on an app designed to simplify nursing schedules, as well as apps that every ER nurse needs.

Do you use apps or websites on your mobile device during your workday? Do you find technology helping your career or getting in the way? Let us know in the comments section!

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