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Department: Leadership Q&A

Inspiring innovation with nursing informatics

Garcia-Dia, Mary Joy DNP, RN, FAAN

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Nursing Management (Springhouse): May 2022 - Volume 53 - Issue 5 - p 48
doi: 10.1097/01.NUMA.0000829280.88865.c2
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Q As a leader in nursing informatics, how would you implement the recommendations from the Future of Nursing Report 2030 to generate a new set of nursing innovators and visionary leaders?

Today's evolving healthcare environment demands that nurse leaders attain nursing informatics (NI) competencies to support their ability to make informed strategic and operational decisions with technology adoption, clinical systems implementation, and innovation.1 Nurse leaders must strengthen their NI competencies and understand value cases that can improve clinical nurses' daily workflow, patient satisfaction scores, and quality of care.

The Future of Nursing report mentions the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's update to The Essentials, which identifies informatics and healthcare technologies as one of the 10 essential core competencies for professional nursing education. The 2018 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses asked what training topics would have helped you do your job better? Nurses working in informatics, healthcare management and administration, and education indicated that training in value-based care would have helped. How can we teach this concept to our clinical nurses?

The report outlined opportunities for NI experts to use their skills (information science, management, and analytical science) to assess patient care and organizational procedure and identify ways to improve the quality and efficiency of care. For example, NI leaders can mentor nurses on how to conduct a rapid assessment design session. This involves a focus group discussion with interdisciplinary experts (wound ostomy care RNs, analysts, programmers, and information technology, or IT) on how to improve hospital-acquired pressure injury. The session can generate ideas about how to incorporate wound images and clinical documentation with alert reminders for treatment and positioning.

Another technique to understand end-user workflow is to adopt the human-centered design process. This technique solves a problem by mapping a business proposition, engaging with the patient and nurses to get their input, creating a prototype, and bringing the product back for feedback. For example, during the pandemic, if nurses were to redesign the room space, what would they change having experienced the challenges of social isolation and the limitations in connecting with the patient due to the physical barriers of face shields, gloves, and other personal protective equipment? How would the infection prevention specialist, IT, and an industrial engineer recommend redesigning the room space as they listen to the patient's needs and feedback from clinical staff? How would they reimagine a room of the future that's contactless and incorporates voice command?

Both examples focus on the users' point of view and allow them to generate ideas and solutions. This systems design thinking integrates evidence-based practice, knowledge discovery, and competencies from multiple disciplines. These principles advance one's imagination and promote a culture of innovation in the workplace.

This leads to the report's other recommendation to embrace health equity and address social determinants of health. Underserved communities are at a disadvantage due to limited education, socioeconomic status, and geographic location. These factors prevent them from using telehealth technologies or remote monitoring. Through algorithms, the NI leader can collaborate with analytic experts to filter information from the electronic health record (EHR) and other data sources and identify underserved communities based on ZIP codes. The nurse informatics leader can work with community engagement staff and social workers to map out resources that can support the community's social and mental needs. Through these advocacy and mentorship roles, the NI leader moves beyond EHR implementation as a major focus and contributes to advancing nursing practice and education.

REFERENCE

1. Collins S, Yen P-Y, Phillips A, Kennedy MK. Nursing informatics competency assessment for the nurse leader: the Delphi study. J Nurs Adm. 2017;47(4):212–218.
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