Nurses Union Launches Campaign to Fight Medical Tech

The nation’s largest organization of nurses is promoting a campaign to alert the public of the dangers of medical technology.

National Nurses United (NNU) has created radio ads, video, social media, rallies and more as part of its “Insist On a Registered Nurse” campaign to encourage the public from coast to coast to take action against overuse of medical technology.

Most recently, the NNU urged supporters to submit comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is accepting public comments on how it should regulate Health Information Technology (HIT) and Clinical Decision Support (CDS) systems. The open comment period ends July 7.


“There’s a lot of glitches in these health records,” Liz Jacobs, NNU spokeswoman and registered nurse (RN) tells HHCN. “RNs are obligated to be their patient’s advocate and provide safe care, not put them in a situation that can negatively impact them. It’s not about being anti-technology point blank — when it comes to patient care you need to have room for the nurse or doctor’s judgement.”

The FDA regulates a broad range of medical devices, including complicated, high-risk medical devices — like artificial hearts — and relatively simple, low-risk devices — like tongue depressors, as well as devices that fall somewhere in between, FDA says on its website. FDA has authority to regulate medical devices before and after they reach the marketplace.

Digitized care features unproven technology that puts patients at risk, and a focus on cutting cost is threatening quality care — despite increased hospital profits, NNU says in a campaign-related news release.


“Bedside computers that diagnose and dictate treatment for patients, based on generic population trends not the health status or care needs of that individual patient, increasingly supplant the professional assessment and judgment of experienced nurses and doctors exposing patients to misdiagnosis, mistreatment, and life-threatening mistakes,” NNU says.

Hospital industry profits are at a record high – some $64.4 billion in 2012, according to American Hospital Association data. Yet the profits are not reinvested in quality care, NNU argues.

The campaign also addresses the relationship between insurance companies and hospitals, saying that often current legislation favors profits to quality patient care.

“Nurses every day see patients denied admission who need hospital care, held on hallway gurneys in emergency departments, or parked in ‘observation’ units,” NNU says. “Observation is the latest fad in large part because Medicare reimbursement penalties for patients re-admitted within 30 days for the same illness do not apply if the patient was discharged from an observation unit.”

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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