We all know how you, as a nurse, contribute to enhancing your patient’s overall healthcare experience. You are an immensely valuable part of your practice’s clinical team, ensuring smooth communications and follow-up with patients, and helping to ensure your patient’s understanding and ultimate compliance to their care plan.
Are you already on the EHR track?
But how well do you understand your opportunity, value and role in helping to establish and maintain your organization’s EHR and meaningful use practices? At the HIMSS 2013 conference, the role of nurses in an organization’s changing care models (especially with the implementation of EHR practices), as related to supporting meaningful use, was profiled as an increasingly important factor in ensuring success.
How does your role within your clinical team contribute to successful EHR practices? Simply stated, much of what you already do—effectively communicating with patients in depth and helping to facilitate and manage a patient’s care plan to improve outcomes—are high on the list of skills you can offer to the process.
In fact, HIMSS attendee RasuShrestha, M.D., the Vice President of Medical Information Technology and Medical Director, Interoperability and Imaging Informatics for the University ofPittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences,recently suggested that nurses who are proficient in using IT technology can add even more value to the process.
Really? How are my skills related to EHR?
The information you collect from your patients to best manage their conditions, as well as the cost efficiencies of their treatment, is a large part of a new age of innovative healthcare, facilitated by technology and designed to improve the quality of the patient care experience and outcomes. This information, when applied by nurses proficient in not only gathering key patient information, but in using EHRs and other technologies for documentation, can be a game changer in communicating more accurate and relevant patient details, thereby making a patient’s care plan a more collaborative and streamlined process among clinical team members.
This is particularly important when treating your patients with chronic conditions. EHR can document elements such as personal maintenance of chronic conditions, and when combined with other complementing technologies, help reduce medication errors, and alert providers of risks for drug-drug interactions and drug-food interactions, and assure proper drug dosages; all of these are factors of which can be shared among a patient’s healthcare providers.
How can I learn more about my role in EHR?
Other healthcare product and service providers have the ability to ease your role in managing EHR. For example, Axium Healthcare Pharmacy, through its OnePlace™ treatment management portal, securely stores key patient therapy data such as refills, dosing, adherence, and even lab schedules, which are key components that apply and can be transferred to EHR.
While you may or may not be a decision maker in selecting the technology your organization implements, there are ways to ready yourself for your growing role in supporting meaningful use efforts through EHR. Formal educational opportunities in nursing informatics are becoming more available, as is organization-driven training. In addition, according to Joyce Sensmeier, RN, Vice President of Informatics at HIMSS, nurses can also look into opportunities to participate in boards and committees driving EHR and other technology implementations within their organizations.