Study Shows Benefits of Freeing Up Nurses from Documentation

ORLANDOFaith-based nonprofit healthcare provider AdventHealth has announced the results of a pilot program the company undertook as it hopes to “revolutionize” the way patient care is delivered around the country. In the unusual program, nurses were paired with a care team assistant (CTA), whose duties, in addition to providing actual assistance, entailed documenting patients’ medical care provided. In theory this would free up RNs to be able to provide care without the onerous—but legally necessary—burden of writing down the care as it is administered.

It was hoped that by freeing the nurses of the need to switch back and forth from administering care to filling out paperwork, they would be freed to engage in a more patient-centered approach—with the CTA taking up the slack on writing things out for them. 

The first-year results of the study showed that “staff responsiveness” and patient experience improved by 12 percent and lab turnaround time was reduced by 13 percent. Furthermore, 73 percent of nurses said they felt they were able to spend more time with each individual patient thanks to the presence of a CTA by their side.

AdventHealth first rolled out the program last year at the healthcare provider’s Central Florida division. The company hired CareThrough and sister company ScribeAmerica (both subdivisions of HealthChannels) to provide the CTAs to write down the patient information in AdventHealth’s emergency departments.

“We created this model to improve the way we work to make it easy for both our patients and staff,” Eric Stevens, the CEO of acute care services for AdventHealth in the Orlando region, said in a statement. “A hospital stay can be an unnerving experience. This program helps our nurses spend quality time with our patients and their families to focus on supporting them while they heal.”

“With the alarming rate of nurse burnout, compassion fatigue, and a workforce shortage predicted to last through 2030, supporting nurses has become a health care imperative,” Kyle Cooksey, CareThrough’s president, said in a statement. “AdventHealth is proactively creating a culture of engaged nurses. The pilot aligns with our mission to reduce burnout and strengthen patient care.”

AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division comprises 16 hospitals in six counties in and around Orlando. It also entails 30 CentraCare urgent care facilities as well as sports rehabilitation centers and imaging centers.

AdventHealth says it will expand the successful model to other units based on the success of the pilot program.