The Road to Technology-Enabled Quality Care was the title of the HIMSS 2013 Nursing Informatics (NI) Symposium. While working with the planning committee to develop the program it didn’t strike me that the focus of our nursing informatics work had actually changed. But, after looking at the session titles in composite, and hearing the presentations, it seems clear. We are no longer working exclusively on EHR implementations or primarily dealing with the impact on workflow, or managing that change.
I am pleased to report that this is what informatics nurses are focused on today:
- Transforming Healthcare: Advancing Quality
- Leveraging Technology to Drive Transformational Change
- Creating a Culture of Clinical Adoption: Benefits Realization of Technology
- Beyond Reports: Adding Analytics to Your IT Competency Tool Belt
It’s exciting to see this growth in our specialty as we move from technology driven implementations to benefits driven optimization. Our objectives seem to be changing as well, from a focus on delivering the system, on time and on budget, to achieving business and clinical value as defined by the strategic goals of the organization.
The role of the nurse leader is also shifting to being the champion for cultural transformation as a foundation for new technology. Today, performance measures are centered on evidence based practice and data mining in order to synthesize new knowledge. Clinical outcomes and improved efficiency are necessary targets for technology initiatives. Business and clinical intelligence are drivers for transforming data into meaningful information that enables effective decision making. The use of analytics is a business imperative that can drive performance. These changes in focus are substantive and may begin to mark the evolution of our specialty.
I also discovered that the roles of NI Symposium attendees have advanced in recent years. There were three times as many attendees at this year’s symposium with the word ‘Chief’ in their title, compared with the attendees of just three years ago. Five times as many of the attendees today hold the title of Chief Nursing Information Officer or Chief Clinical Information Officer (CNIO/CCIO) than in 2010. And executive level titles, including Vice President and above, have increased by three percent in that timeframe.
Transforming healthcare is possible though the use of technology and informatics, but other capabilities are also necessary. Leadership and governance top the list but will only be successful if cross team collaboration is also attained. Clinical decision support, usability, and access to real time, actionable data are also necessary components for building the foundation of clinical transformation. Industry drivers, such as Stage 2 and 3 meaningful use measures, consumer demand, and mobile health advances are accelerating the pace and importance of patient and family engagement to optimally manage their health.
Future opportunities for nursing informatics are increasing but the challenges are great. To be credible, innovative leaders of healthcare transformation through the effective use of health IT we have to bring our ‘A’ game. Are we already on our way? I think so, but let me know if you agree!