Shouldn’t Nursing Have More of an Impact on Healthcare IT?

For 20+ years I have been proud to put RN at the end of my name. The nurses I have worked and interacted with have been some of the smartest, most capable, and of course most caring people on the planet. As a group, we make up an army of care providers that impacts the nation’s healthcare one patient at a time. As nurses we love making a difference!

Nurses are the conduit for healthcare IT to the patient, so I have been surprised to find in my conversations with healthcare leadership over the past four years how little nursing is influencing IT decisions. Nurses are often included in the evaluation process, but otherwise seem to have only limited sway.

A big part of this seems to be financially based. Physicians are seen as driving revenue and nurses are seen as an expense, so the healthcare IT focus has been placed on physicians. However, I suspect that there is a cultural aspect to this as well. We as nurses show up and do—and in many cases make do—without voicing concerns. That is just how nurses seem to be wired. We typically care more about the patient and our healthcare organization, so we sacrifice.

I have seen the same thing in the research I am involved with at KLAS. Our mission is to help providers make great decisions by arming them with information. We do this by talking with thousands of providers around the world and collecting their perspectives on the IT solutions they are using. Nurses are the hardest discipline to get to share their perspective—they frequently defer us to some other department, stating that they are too busy (often true) or not the right people to talk with (often not true).

We need the voices of nurses to be louder in healthcare IT. One way nurses can do this is by sharing their experience-based feedback with KLAS and using KLAS data to leverage the experience of their peers. I have put some links below to some of the reports we have recently published that would likely be of interest to nursing. I hope they are helpful.

Smart Pump/EMR Integration: Not Easy, but Worth the Effort

Medication Cabinets, Carts, & BCMA 2014: Technology's Impact on Nurse Efficiency and Patient Safety

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Nurses, let your voices be heard. Happy Nurses Week!

 

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