What Is Point of Care (POC) CNA Technology?

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Written by Katherine Zheng, PhD, BSN Content Writer, IntelyCare
A CNA, using a point of care device, updates a patient's chart.

Certified nursing assistants (CNA) carry out a variety of tasks that require frequent back and forth between a patient’s bedside and medical chart. Since this back and forth can create barriers to care delivery, technologies are often used to streamline services at the point of care (POC). CNA efficiency can improve greatly through the use of these tools, so they can be a worthwhile investment toward improving the patient experience.

If your facility has yet to adopt POC technology, you may be wondering what it is and how it could benefit your staff and patients. We’ll walk through the different types of POC tools used by CNAs, describe how they work, and outline tips on how to integrate them into practice.

CNA Point of Care (POC) Technology: Meaning and Overview

The point of care, or POC (medical abbreviation), means exactly what it sounds like — the area where a health professional provides care, or in other words, the patient’s location. At the point of care, CNA responsibilities can range from measuring and recording patient health information to administering medical tests ordered by a physician.

There are various types of technologies available to help with real-time delivery and documentation of these care services. You may be familiar with POC CNA software from companies like PointClickCare or Experience Care, which can be used with health record systems and incorporated into the broader scope of nursing informatics. However, there are many other tools that can be useful for CNAs, particularly if they enable point of care charting or testing, described as follows:

  • POC charting allows CNAs to fill out a patient’s medical chart in real-time, near the area that care is delivered.
  • POC testing refers to any screenings or tests that deliver immediate results after being conducted on a patient.

Using Technology at the POC: CNA and Facility FAQ

You may be a CNA seeking best practices on using POC tools or a facility leader looking to implement an updated POC system. Regardless of your role, we’ll provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding POC technology to help you make informed decisions.

How Does CNA POC Technology Work?

While there are various types of point of care technology available, they all fundamentally work by enabling bedside charting and testing that would otherwise be conducted away from a patient. This broadly encompasses the use of mobile, digital tools that enable automatic data access, capturing, or recording.

What Are Examples of CNA Point of Care Tools?

To get a better understanding of how this technology works, we can take a look at the following examples for services that are commonly delivered at the point of care.

Example 1: POC charting

A CNA takes vital signs and immediately records them using a mobile tablet that accesses the patient’s medical chart. This prevents them from having to walk out of the room to finish charting information at the central workstation computer.

Example 2: POC testing

A CNA uses a glucometer (electric, hand-held device) to collect blood samples and obtain glucose readings right at the bedside instead of having to send samples to a lab.

Example 3: Dual charting and testing

POC technology can also be set up to enable simultaneous testing and charting. For instance, a hospital could link glucometers to their central EHR system so that a glucose reading is transmitted directly to a patient’s chart after testing.

What Are the Benefits of CNA POC Technology?

Utilizing point of care technology can bring many benefits to your facility’s workflow. By streamlining a CNA’s tasks at the bedside, these tools can help increase:

  • Efficiency — POC tools simplify tasks that typically require the need to walk between various locations at a facility. Keeping tasks at the POC increases efficiency and enables CNAs to spend more time at the bedside to provide patient-centered care.
  • Accuracy — At the POC, CNA documentation becomes more accurate than it would be away from the bedside. CNAs juggle care for several patients, and the longer they wait to record information, the higher the risk for errors becomes. Charting in real-time encourages CNAs to record info for one patient before moving onto care for others.
  • Security — Point of care technology is often programmed to have controlled access, so only authorized staff can use it. Additionally, any data that’s transferred between tools and systems is encrypted to prevent access from outside a facility. These features make POC tools a secure mode of data collection.

How do I Incorporate POC Technology Into Practice?

As a facility leader or a CNA, POC technologies can vary depending on the services your patients need and your unit’s operational capacities. However, these are standard procedures you can keep in mind as you work to adopt or use technology at the point of care.

Tips for Facilities:

  • Collaborate with your CNAs to pinpoint workflow barriers that inhibit their care delivery.
  • Consult with EHR administrators, IT staff, and POC software companies to learn what types of technologies are compatible with your system.
  • Implement pilot tests to conduct trials on any new tools you may want to adopt.
  • Train your staff by educating them about POC technology use.
  • Monitor the impact that new tools have on your staff and patients.

Tips for CNAs:

  • Follow guidelines provided by your facility when using POC tools.
  • Adhere to good POC practices by refraining from using tools away from the bedside.
  • Verify information collected by POC tools to avoid technical errors.
  • Maintain patient privacy and general data security practices by logging in and out of controlled access tools after each use.

Discover More Ways to Deliver Patient-Centered Care

If you’re looking for more ways to provide high quality services at the POC, CNA staff and facility leaders can start here. Sign up for IntelyCare’s free newsletter to read more useful tips and strategies that can help you enhance the patient experience.