Philippines known as one of the third world country and one of the unstable economy however it is pretty ironic that Filipinos wouldn’t want to be left behind went it comes to the latest trends in technology and gadgetry specially when it comes to owning a phone. Every Filipinos has a phone, even elderly has one; phone ranging from basic telephony up to the smartphones that is capable of doing lots of things and nurses are not an exception to that. I for myself is one of those nurses that has a welcoming heart to smartphones.
When I was in ICU, I have an iPhone that has a lot of applications related to medicine or nursing that I downloaded over the internet. Some of them are applications for formulas and computations of drugs, IV flow rate even computation for Dopamine. I also have an application by Medscape that provides me comprehensive references when it comes to medical disorders, procedures, drugs and many others. With these inputs of technology to this little gadget, it significantly helps me when I was in duty, complementing my knowledge and skills to perform better at work.
However, technology’s dark side seems to creep in unknowingly or by abusing it. These little gadgets have been implicated in many situations that violated patient’s privacy and confidentiality. With the phones capability of taking pictures bundled with internet connections and the undeniable addictness of todays nurses to social networking, privacy and confidentiality is in deep trouble. With a push of a few buttons, a patient’s pictures and few comments can be viewed by a group of people or uncontrollably by the whole world.
It is important for the nurse leaders and health institutions to put a stop to these unethical conducts by the staffs. Though we don’t have here in the Philippines the organizational body that enforces the ethical protection of patient’s information, it is a must to strengthen one’s institution’s ethical or legal policy when it comes to this sensitive topic. In addition to the writer’s suggestions, it is also helpful for the institution to come up with the policy on the proper use of these gadgets and use iron hand on implementing the policy.
Provide awareness campaign or orientation for all the healthcare team. Or as leaders, be informed of the latest trends in technology, investigate whether these technology’s drawbacks out weigh it benefits among patients. For the healthcare practitioners and nurses, the change should start with us, we should always remind ourselves not only of our professional and legal duties but also our ethical responsibility. Be sure to know what is right or what is wrong in these arena, be an advocate of patient’s right.