Person-centred care in a digital hospital: observations and perspectives from a specialist rehabilitation setting
L Burridge, M Foster, R Jones, T Geraghty, S Atresh
Objective: This study investigated use of electronic medical records (eMRs) in a spinal cord injury rehabilitation unit and the implications for person-centred care.
Methods: This exploratory mixed-methods study conducted 17.5 hours of observations of practitioner–patient encounters, 50 patient-experience surveys and 10 focus groups with 53 practitioners. Descriptive statistics and qualitative analysis were integrated into key themes.
Results: Practitioners in this specialised setting were reconciling the emergent challenges of eMR in practice with the advantages of improved accessibility and documentation legibility. eMR increased task complexity and information retrieval, particularly for nurses. Some documentation was an uneasy fit with the specialised setting, disrupting informal communications and aspects of person-centred care.
Conclusions: Technological change closely aligned with frontline practice brought expected and unexpected challenges that may resolve over time. Practitioners’ persistence and adaptability demonstrated their commitment to person-centred care in the digital environment. The impact of this less visible work of professional discretion seemed to vary, primarily by discipline-specific roles, with nurses experiencing the greatest pressure.