Nurses: The original interoperability experts

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As always, HIMSS is an amazing place to learn. It’s also a great place to interact with and share knowledge with our nursing colleagues who are committed to advancing the safe and efficient use of technology in caring for patients. For example, the Nursing Informatics Symposium at #HIMSS17 was a day-long event with numerous great topics – navigating disruption in healthcare, harnessing innovation, utilizing technology to its fullest potential and leveraging that technology to provide quality care.

But when reflecting on all we discussed last week, one theme kept jumping out at us – interoperability.

Who pioneered interoperability? Nurses

Nurses were the interoperability experts before interoperability was a “thing.” In fact, we were interoperability experts before technology was a thing!

Nurses have been the healthcare hub since the beginning of well, nursing. We contact the doctors, the pharmacy, wound care. We ensure RT knows about the breathing treatments, that PT/OT is scheduled.

Is transportation aware the patient needs to go to radiology for his X-Ray in a wheelchair with O2? Yep, that’s us, too.

In the Information Age, who is still important? Nurses

While it’s great that technology adoption has increased and systems have grown and multiplied, the downside is that information isn’t easily shared between many systems. So it’s not always available in all places and for everyone who needs it. Especially when they need it most.

So how does that information get everywhere it needs to go? You got it – it’s us! As one colleague affectionately termed it, healthcare readily leverages “nurseware,” nurses manually transferring data from one system or application to another.

So why is it that technology doesn’t always seem to address the specific needs of nursing? We can assure you, it’s not because healthcare software vendors are avoiding you or your needs. We definitely need to hear your voice. And so do your organizations and your colleagues.

Nursing expertise in the communication of patient conditions, needs and priorities has always been paramount to quality care even before the presence of technology. Our expertise is just as valuable now that there are new layers of complexity in patient care. We should never forget that.

Here at Hyland, we encourage you to reach out to your IT team and technology vendors with concerns, needs and ideas that you have to improve your experience as a caregiver. Our goal is to reduce the complexity of these systems and to help them communicate with each other, so all of us dedicated to providing superior care are free to focus on that, instead of technology.

After all, in healthcare, the best interoperability is between caregivers and patients.

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Julie McDonald and Lorna Green

Julie McDonald, RN, is a focused healthcare professional with a strong clinical, administrative and leadership background. Julie is passionate about utilizing her 25 years of industry knowledge to assist in... read more about: Julie McDonald and Lorna Green