Commentary: Patients expect high quality healthcare, whether they’re being seen at a hospital or in a physician’s office. They want to be assured that the staff will know them, their medical history and the results of their recent tests. Most importantly, they want to know that they will be taken care of in a timely manner. With healthcare costs skyrocketing, this has become more of a demand than an expectation. Delivering that isn’t easy; many priorities are vying for medical professionals’ attention. For example, research indicates that nurses spend more than 55 percent of their time in documentation and care coordination.

Time constraints also are exacerbated by staffing pressures. The American Nurses Association is predicting a looming nursing shortage. The professional group’s data suggest that, during the past decade, the average age of employed registered nurses has increased by nearly two years, from 42.7 years in 2000 to 44.6 years in 2010, and currently, 55 percent of the nursing population is older than age 50.

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