Medicine:Point of care

From HandWiki
Short description: Moment when clinicians deliver healthcare

Clinical point of care (POC) is the point in time when clinicians deliver healthcare products and services to patients at the time of care.[1]

Clinical documentation

Clinical documentation is a record of the critical thinking and judgment of a health care professional, facilitating consistency and effective communication among clinicians.[2]

Documentation performed at the time of clinical point of care can be conducted using paper or electronic formats. This process aims to capture medical information pertaining to patient's healthcare needs. The patient's health record is a legal document that contains details regarding patient's care and progress.[3] The types of information captured during the clinical point of care documentation include the actions taken by clinical staff including physicians and nurses, and the patient's healthcare needs, goals, diagnosis and the type of care they have received from the healthcare providers.[4]

Such documentations provide evidence regarding safe, effective and ethical care and insinuates accountability for healthcare institutions and professionals. Furthermore, accurate documents provide a rigorous foundation for conducting appropriate quality of care analysis that can facilitate better health outcomes for patients.[5] Thus, regardless of the format used to capture the clinical point of care information, these documents are imperative in providing safe healthcare. Also, it is important to note that electronic formats of clinical point of care documentation are not intended to replace existing clinical process but to enhance the current clinical point of care documentation process.

Traditional approach

One of the major responsibilities for nurses in healthcare settings is to forward information about the patient's needs and treatment to other healthcare professionals.[6] Traditionally, this has been done verbally. However, today information technology has made its entrance into the healthcare system whereby verbal transfer of information is becoming obsolete.[7] In the past few decades, nurses have witnessed a change toward a more independent practice with explicit knowledge of nursing care.[8] The obligation to point of care documentation not only applies to the performed interventions, medical and nursing, but also impacts the decision-making process; explaining why a specific action has been prompted by the nurse.[8] The main benefit of point of care documentation is advancing structured communication between healthcare professionals to ensure the continuity of patient care.[9] Without a structured care plan that is closely followed, care tends to become fragmented.[9]

Electronic documentation

Point of care (POC) documentation is the ability for clinicians to document clinical information while interacting with and delivering care to patients.[10] The increased adoption of electronic health records (EHR) in healthcare institutions and practices creates the need for electronic POC documentation through the use of various medical devices.[11] POC documentation is meant to assist clinicians by minimizing time spent on documentation and maximizing time for patient care.[12] The type of medical devices used is important in ensuring that documentation can be effectively integrated into the clinical workflow of a particular clinical environment.[13]


Mobile technologies such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), laptop computers and tablets enable documentation at the point of care. The selection of a mobile computing platform is contingent upon the amount and complexity of data.[14] To ensure successful implementation, it is important to examine the strengths and limitations of each device. Tablets are more functional for high volume and complex data entry, and are favoured for their screen size, and capacity to run more complex functions.[14][15][16] PDAs are more functional for low volume and simple data entry and are preferred for their lightweight, portability and long battery life.[14]

Electronic medical record

An electronic medical record (EMR) contains patient's current and past medical history. The types of information captured within this document include patient's medical history, medication allergies, immunization statuses, laboratory and diagnostic test images, vital signs and patient demographics.[17] This type of electronic documentation enables healthcare providers to use evidence-based decision support tools and share the document via the Internet. Moreover, there are two types of software included within EMR: practice management and EMR clinical software. Consequently, the EMR is able to capture both the administrative and clinical data.[18]

Computer physician order entries

A computerized physician order entry allows medical practitioners to input medical instructions and treatment plans for the patients at the point of care. CPOE also enable healthcare practitioners to use decision support tools to detect medication prescription errors and override non-standard medication regimes that may cause fatalities. Furthermore, embedded algorithms may be chosen for people of certain age and weight to further support the clinical point of care interaction.[19] Overall, such systems reduce errors due to illegible writing on paper and transcribing errors.[20]

Mobile EMRs mHealth

Mobile devices and tablets provide accessibility to the Electronic Medical Record during the clinical point of care documentation process.[21] Mobile technologies such as Android phones, iPhones, BlackBerrys, and tablets feature touchscreens to further support the ease of use for the physicians. Furthermore, mobile EMR applications support workflow portability needs due to which clinicians can document patient information at the patient's bedside.[22]



The use of POC documentation devices changes clinical practice by affecting workflow processes and communication.[23][24] With the availability of POC documentation devices, for example, nurses can avoid having to go to their deskspace and wait for a desktop computer to become available. They are able to move from patient to patient, eliminating steps in work process altogether. Furthermore, redundant tasks are avoided as data is captured directly from the particular encounter without the need for transcription.


A delay between face-to-face patient care and clinical documentation can cause corruption of data, leading to errors in treatment.[10] Giving clinicians the ability to document clinical information when and where care is being delivered allows for accuracy and timeliness, contributing to increased patient safety in a dynamic and highly interruptive environment.[10] Point of care documentation can reduce errors in a variety of clinical tasks including diagnostics, medication prescribing and medication administration.[25][26]

Collaboration and communication

Ineffective communication among patient care team members is a root cause of medical errors and other adverse events.[27] Point of care documentation facilitates the continuity of high quality care and improves communication between nurses and other healthcare providers. Proper documentation at the point of care can optimize flow of information among various clinicians and enhances communication. Clinicians can avoid going to a workstation and can access patient information at the bedside. It will also enable the timeliness of documentation, which is important to prevent adverse events.[28]

Nurse-patient time

Literature from various studies show that approximately 25-50% of a nurse's shift is spent on documentation.[24][28] As most documentation is done in the traditional manner, that is using paper and pen, enabling a POC documentation device could potentially allow 25-50% more time at the bedside. Using speech recognition and information has been studied .[29] as a way to support nurses in POC documentation with encouraging results: 5276 of 7277 test words were recognised correctly and information extraction achieved the F1 of 0.86 in the category for irrelevant text and the macro-averaged F1 of 0.70 over the remaining 35 nonempty categories of the nursing handover form with our 101 test documents.



Numerous point of care documentation systems produce data redundancies, inconsistencies and irregularities of charting.[7] Some electronic formats are repetitious and time-consuming.[30] Moreover, some point of care documentation from one setting to another without a standardized pattern, and there are no guidelines for standards to documenting.[7] Inaccessibility also causes time to be lost in searching for charts.[7] These issues all lead to wasted time, increasing costs and uncomfortable charting.[7] A study adopted both qualitative and quantitative methods have confirmed complexities in point of care documentation. The study has also categorized these complexities into three themes: disruption of documentation; incompleteness in charting; and inappropriate charting.[7] As a result, these barriers limit nurses competence, motivation and confidence; ineffective nursing procedures; and inadequate nursing auditing, supervision and staff development.[7]

Privacy and security

When examining the use of any type of technology in healthcare its important to remember that technology holds private personal health information. As such, security measures need to be in place to minimize the risk for breaches of privacy and patient confidentiality. Depending on the country you live in its important to ensure that legislation standards are met. According to Collier in 2012, privacy and confidentiality breaches are rising largely attributed to the lack of appropriate encryption technology.[31] For successful implementation of any health technologies it is vital to ensure adequate security measures are used such as strong encryption technology.




The adoption of electronic formats of clinical point of care documentation is particularly low in Ontario. Consequently, provincial leaders such as eHealth Ontario and Ontario MD provide financial and technical assistance in supporting electronic documentation of clinical point of care through EMR.[32] Furthermore, currently more than six million Ontarians have EMR; however, by 2012 this number is expected to increase to 10 million citizens. Conclusively, continued efforts are being made to adopt charting of patient information in electronic format to improve the quality of clinical point of care services [33]

See also


  1. Information at the Point of Care: Answering Clinical Questions. Ebell, Mark. "American Board of Family Practice". Michigan State University, 1999, 12(3), 225-235.
  2. MARSH. (2006). Clinical Documentation - Putting the House in Order. Marsh's Risk Consulting Practicing. Retrieved from
  3. Documentation Guidelines for Registered Nurses. College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta. 2006. .
  4. Documentation, Revised 2008. College of Nurses of Ontario. 2008. .
  5. Keenan, G.M, Yakel, E., Tschannen, D., & Mandeville, M. (2008). Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. [Electronic version]. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
  6. Caruso E. M. (2007). "The Evolution of Nurse-to- Nurse Bedside Report on a Cardiology Unit". Medsurg Nursing 16 (1): 17–22. PMID 17441625. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Cheevakasemsook A.; Chapman Y.; Francis K.; Davies C. (2006). "The study of nursing documentation complexities". International Journal of Nursing Practice 12 (6): 366–74. doi:10.1111/j.1440-172X.2006.00596.x. PMID 17176310. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hellesø R.; Ruland C. M. (2001). "Developing a module for nursing documentation integrated in the electronic patient record". Journal of Clinical Nursing 10 (6): 799–805. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2702.2001.00557.x. PMID 11822852. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Wu M.-W.; Lee T.-T.; Tsai T.-C.; Lin K.-C.; Huang C.-Y.; Mills M. E. (2012). "Evaluation of a Mobile Shift Report System on Nursing Documentation Quality". Computers, Informatics, Nursing 31 (2): 85–93. doi:10.1097/NXN.0b013e318266cac3. PMID 22990575. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Kohle-Ersher A.; Chatterjee P.; Osmanbeyoglu H. U.; Hochheiser H.; Bartos C. (2012). "Evaluating the Barriers to Point-of-Care Documentation for Nursing Staff". Computers, Informatics, Nursing 30 (3): 126–33. doi:10.1097/NCN.0b013e3182343f14. PMID 22024972. 
  11. Carlson E. et al. (2010). "Point-of-Care Technology Supports Bedside Documentation". The Journal of Nursing Administration 40 (9): 360–5. doi:10.1097/NNA.0b013e3181ee4248. PMID 20798618. 
  12. Lee T.-T. (2007). "Patients' Perceptions of Nurses' Bedside Use of PDAs". Computers, Informatics, Nursing 25 (2): 106–11. doi:10.1097/ PMID 17356332. 
  13. Smith K.; Smith V.; Krugman M.; Oman K. (2005). "Evaluating the Impact of Computerized Clinical Documentation". Computers, Informatics, Nursing 23 (3): 132–8. doi:10.1097/00024665-200505000-00008. PMID 15900170. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Silvey G. M.; Macri J. M.; Lee P. P.; Lobach D. F. (2005). "Direct Comparison of a Tablet Computer and a Personal Digital Assistant for Point-of-Care Documentation in Eye Care". AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings 2005: 689–693. PMID 16779128. 
  15. Quesada-González, Daniel; Merkoçi, Arben (2018). "Nanomaterial-based devices for point-of-care diagnostic applications" (in en). Chemical Society Reviews 47 (13): 4697–4709. doi:10.1039/C7CS00837F. ISSN 0306-0012. PMID 29770813. 
  16. Quesada-González, Daniel; Merkoçi, Arben (June 2017). "Mobile phone-based biosensing: An emerging "diagnostic and communication" technology". Biosensors and Bioelectronics 92: 549–562. doi:10.1016/j.bios.2016.10.062. ISSN 0956-5663. PMID 27836593. 
  17. National Institutes of Health. (2006). Electronic Health Records Overview. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from
  18. Butler, E.S. & Lathram, C.J. (2005). Electronic Medical Records: The Future is Now. Retrieved from
  19. Santell, J.P. (2004). Computer-related Errors: What Every Pharmacist Should Know. USP Center. Retrieved from "Archived copy". 
  20. Baldauf-Sobez W., Bergstrom M., Meisner K., Ahmad A., Haggstrom M. (2003). "How Siemens' Comperized Physician Order Entry Helps Prevent the Human Error". Electromedica 71 (1). 
  21. Hauser S. E., Demner-Fushman D., Jacobs J. L., Humphrey S. M., Ford G., Thoma G. R. (2007). "Using wireless handheld computers to seek information at the point of care: an evaluation by clinicians. [Electronic version"]. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 14 (6): 807–15. doi:10.1197/jamia.M2424. PMID 17712085. 
  22. Skov M. B., Hoegh R.T. (2006). "Supporting Information Access in a Hospital Ward by a Context-Aware Mobile Electronic Patient Record. [Electronic version]". Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 10 (4): 205–214. doi:10.1007/s00779-005-0049-0. 
  23. Courtney K. L.; Demiris G.; Alexander G. L. (2005). "Information Technology". Nursing Administration Quarterly 29 (4): 315–322. doi:10.1097/00006216-200510000-00005. PMID 16260995. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 Duffy W. J.; Kharasch M.; Hongyan D. (2010). Point of Care Documentation Impact on the Nurse-Patient. 34. 
  25. Schiff G. D.; Bates D. W. (2010). "Can Electronic Clinical Documentation Help Prevent Diagnostic Errors?". The New England Journal of Medicine 362 (12): 1066–9. doi:10.1056/NEJMp0911734. PMID 20335582. 
  26. Briggs B (2004). "Patient Safety Driving Point-of-Care I.T. Plans". Health Data Management 12 (10): 56. PMID 15536825. 
  27. Mendoca E. A.; Chen E. S.; Stetson P. D.; McKnight L. K.; Lei J.; Cimino J. J. (2004). "Approach to mobile information and communication for health care". International Journal of Medical Informatics 73 (7–8): 631–638. doi:10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2004.04.013. PMID 15246044. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 Yeung M. S.; Lapinsky S. E.; Granton J. D.; Doran D. M.; Cafazzo J. A. (2012). "Examining nursing vital signs documentation workflow: barriers and opportunities in general internal medicine units". Journal of Clinical Nursing 21 (7–8): 975–982. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03937.x. PMID 22243491. 
  29. Suominen H.; Zhou L.; Hanlen L.; Ferraro G. (2015). "Benchmarking Clinical Speech Recognition and Information Extraction: New Data, Methods, and Evaluations". JMIR Medical Informatics 3 (2): e19. doi:10.2196/medinform.4321. PMID 25917752. 
  30. Whittaker A.; Aufdenkamp M.; Tinley S. (2009). "Barriers and facilitators to electronic documentation in a rural hospital". Journal of Nursing Scholarship 41 (3): 293–300. doi:10.1111/j.1547-5069.2009.01278.x. PMID 19723278. 
  31. Collier R (2012). "Medical Privacy Breaches Rising". Canadian Medical Association Journal 184 (4): E215-6. doi:10.1503/cmaj.109-4116. PMID 22311942. 
  32. Dermer M., Morgan M. (2010). "Certification of primary care electronic medical record". Journal of Health Informatics Management 24 (3). Retrieved 2011-11-23. 
  33. Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). (2011). Moving Forward with Electronic Health Records. MOHLTC. Retrieved November 21, 2011