Dear Cassie Thiessen: I just completed reading your post Patient Health IT Observations and Thanks to Nurses! …Kudos to you Cassie regarding this salute to nurses! You have inspired me to spend a couple hours this morning in writing this blog (also related to thanking nurses, but from my perspective as a “non-clinical” Healthcare IT (EMR) Consultant). I feel my observations are also worthy of expression – this is the type of blogger I am, I need to be inspired to write and usually I’m able to use as my blog’s ‘muse’; a movie, a T.V. commercial, or show, or my real-life professional EMR Consulting experiences. So Cassie after reading your blog, I appreciate this new inspiration that also led me to read the article written by Mr. HIStalk in May of 2006 titled, “Vendors Should Make Software that Crusty Night Shift Nurses Can Love.” I found this article’s content very interesting, from my perspective the key to his focus was the date it was written (2006). I’ve been professionally involved with EMR Implementations since 2004, therefore my observations allow me to state – thanks to nurses, in this year of 2011, EMR system applications and their usage of them have come a long way baby! Many, many more nurses and other clinicians are leading the way towards more successful EMR adoption and usage. Back in 2004-06 most EMR System applications were designed, populated, implemented, and maintained primarily by those “nerdy” IT folks (like myself). Since an EMR system is a computer based application, we were the type of professional staff first looked at to be hired and trained for EMR Implementations. We (EMR pioneers) were the ones first sent out to the clinical community with all our well-meaning computer ‘lingo’ and IT technical skills and knowledge to “show” them how to use it…long story short… early on it was very challenging, at the very least, it was a kind of professional culture clash for both the IT professionals and the clinicians! But then and now slowly but surely more and more nurses (and other clinical professionals) are being recruited and trained by EMR vendors to complete the many, many EMR Implementation tasks, side by side with Healthcare IT professionals. I must say the past five years of this shift in EMR Implementation methodology has been a great professional, informational and educational exchange – nurses have become a little more “technical” and healthcare IT folks have become more aware and respectful of clinical workflows regarding how and what clinical professionals do on a daily basis (“fair exchange is no robbery”) and the true EMR Implementation purpose for the ultimate benefit of the patient’s care.
From over six years of observation from my perspective, there’s a reason EMR systems (at least the particular EMR I’m vendor certified in by Epic Systems, Inc. ) are beginning to be more acceptable and usable by nurses, physicians and other clinicians. I feel it’s because of this much improved EMR Implementation “methodology” that includes the combined forces of IT professionals, clinical professionals, and educational professionals. Several months ago I wrote about this force in my blog titled “…It takes a healthcare information technology village.”
The best EMR Implementation “teams” (what EMR Implementation staff are called), are a combination of IT professionals, nurses, physicians, physician assistants, therapists, lab technicians, patient service and financial billing representatives, and others! Today’s most successful EMR Implementations and subsequent usage by the clinical community are now being managed by many nurses from all clinical service units (…and I would not dare call them ‘crusty night shift nurses”) who are bringing along their hard-earned and much sought after experience. As a Healthcare IT professional I really appreciate the improvements the outcomes of their input brings to our EMR industry which includes several phases; data gathering, workflow analysis, design, build, validate, training, etc. Nurses are now a part of every step along this way! Thus – it’s nurses (and other clinical professionals) who are now more readily utilizing these EMR systems that have been managed, designed, and implemented by their peers.
It’s my observation that nurses and other clinicians who use an EMR system directly on the computer, while the patient is in the exam room and/or hospital room, is more than likely the EMR system they implemented with the help of their peers!