Nurses at the forefront of transforming care through data and technology

26 March 2014 | Molly K. McCarthy RN, MBA, Chief Nursing Strategist, Microsoft

Microsoft was proud to participate in the American Nurses Association and Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT meeting, “At the Crossroads of Patient Care: Health IT for Nurses and Advanced Practice Nurses Summit” on March 21, 2014. A recurring theme prevailed among the speakers: nurses are at the epicenter of the healthcare transformation—regardless of their care setting. 

Judy Murphy, RN, FACMI, FHIMSS, FAAN, the Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy at Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, kicked off the March 21st meeting by addressing the audience of 200 nurses with a few key and important points during her keynote talk “Delivery on the Promise of Health IT for Nursing”:

  • Meaningful use has led to a cultural shift in healthcare: Electronic Health Record, or EHR, adoption is no longer an “if” but it is now a “when” for hospitals and healthcare practices.
  • EHRs are just the “launching pad” for the future of health care and health information exchange.
  • Patient and caregivers need to be responsible for their own data, and nurses need to engage their patients in their own care.

Murphy also reminded the audience that because nurses are the number one most trusted group of professionals in the United States according to Gallup®, they must rise to the occasion to “drive the change that we use technology for” – improved individual and population health outcomes. 

Ellen Makar, MSN, RN-BC, CPHIMS, CCM, CENP, Senior Policy Advisor, at US Dept. of Health and Human Services, ONC Office of Consumer eHealth, a panelist for “Using Health IT to Exchange Information: What’s Working?” encouraged nurses to get their own personal health record and familiarize themselves with the process and information in order to then educate their patients, and to understand what the patients are experiencing.  She also stated that health information “exchange is embryonic”.  She mentioned Microsoft HealthVault as an example of personal health record and way to organize your data.

During the afternoon sessions, nurses had the option to select a break-out session.  I attended Dr. Barbara Frink, VP and Chief Nursing Informatics Officer at MedStar, talk “Leveraging Health IT to Improve Care.”  One of the take-away points from her session was to move forward, nursing is part of the greater healthcare team—a partner to promote process in the adoption of health IT. Dr. Frink also mentioned some of the key game changers that are happening now in healthcare—all sounded very familiar including:

  • Individual/personalized medicine
  • Business intelligence
  • Changing policy, i.e. Accountable Care Organizations and other models
  • Social networking and consumer pressures
  • Consumer engagement in EHRs and PHRs

The day concluded with Patty Sengstack, DNP, RN-BC, CPHIMS, CNIO at Bon Secours and President of American Nursing Informatics Association.  She also advocated for the use of PHRs, and nurses’ roles within the clinical informatics community. 

Microsoft is grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time during the breaks with the nurses and share our innovations within the nursing community, including demonstrating HealthVault and nursing applications like the “Nightingale” application for mother/baby visit post-partum. Microsoft also shared the New York Presbyterian’s video that shows how their entire care team is engaging patients through hospital issued tablets, including access to their patient portal,

I look forward to future meetings about health IT adoption and transformation—with nurses at the forefront.

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Molly K. McCarthy RN, MBA
Chief Nursing Strategist, Microsoft