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January 8, 2024 Readers Write 1 Comment

Empowering Nurses Through Interoperable Technology: Revolutionizing Patient Care in the Acute Environment
By Elizabeth Anderson, RN

Elizabeth Anderson, RN, MSN is director of clinical experience and solutions at Rauland of Mount Prospect, IL.

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The acute care environment represents a dynamic hub of activity, with nurses positioned at its epicenter. Nurses spend long hours managing patient care, coordinating resources across interdisciplinary teams, and providing support to patients’ family members.

Although nurses strive to create positive experiences for their patients, a recent report from Leapfrog Group’s hospital ratings have illuminated a concerning decline in nurse communication, doctor communication, and staff responsiveness in hospitals nationwide. The disconcerting results accentuate the urgency for healthcare institutions to assess the resources provided to nurses and not the capabilities of the nurses. Increasing the number of checklists to complete and equipment to track creates barriers for nurses to work at the top of their licenses.

Hospitals should drive towards integrating solutions that allow nurses to spend more time providing direct patient care. Implementing technologies with true interoperability will assist in streamlining workflows and reduce the volume of decisions that need to be made by clinicians every hour. When nurses are equipped with the appropriate tools for their patient care space, the resultant improvements in outcomes can impact all areas of patient and staff satisfaction.

The pursuit of interoperability within healthcare remains an enduring aspiration, often obstructed by the prevalence of disjointed systems that foster isolated data silos. Consequently, nurses are compelled to navigate multiple platforms for a single clinical decision, leading to cognitive burden that can impede response times and patient satisfaction. The proliferation of technology in patient care has resulted in an average of 10-15 connected devices per patient room. However, not all these devices are optimized for clinical workflows or seamlessly integrated into crucial healthcare systems. Non-clinically vetted or non-interoperable technologies add unwarranted complexity and impose a cognitive burden on nurses.

Purpose-built solutions, such as converged platforms that are tailored to automatically access role-specific data and workflows, streamline tasks, and eliminate unnecessary steps are positive solutions that begin to address current state clinical needs. Equipped with a holistic view of the patient’s condition, nurses can administer personalized care, anticipate patient needs, and avoid medical errors.

Interoperability also curtails redundant communication and paperwork, affording nurses more time to operate at the pinnacle of their abilities and spend valuable time at the patient’s bedside. Outcomes of interoperable healthcare solutions establish harmonized data from various devices in patient rooms and offer a unified data repository that can provide the clinical teams with a global awareness of their patients’ needs that reduces decision fatigue and allows nurses to feel in control of their shift.

Interoperability serves as the linchpin in bolstering nurses and realizing the quadruple aim: enhancing patient experience, advancing health outcomes, reducing costs, and refining clinician experience. Empowering nurses with integrated data and analytic tools refocuses their roles from data-entry to proficient patient advocates. The realization of a connected care team through interoperability solutions is instrumental in manifesting the vision of coordinated, value-based care. Recognizing nurses as the lifeblood of healthcare mandates that they are equipped with the insights and technology requisite to fulfill their life-saving responsibilities.

Providing nurses with clinically tested resources and removing technology barriers that obstruct direct patient care can reverse the downward trajectory of reported satisfaction scores for hospitals. A patient-centric approach, characterized by patients feeling heard, cared for, and secure, leads to superior outcomes, fewer preventable events, and a more sustainable healthcare system overall. Patient experience must persist as the cornerstone of any high-caliber healthcare organization. By deploying the right solutions and technology for nurses to focus on bedside care, hospitals can attain commendable success in their endeavors.



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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Elizabeth,

    Your article beautifully articulates the real and growing challenge of how Interoperability challenges directly impact patient care. This is a technology issue….not a human resource issue. Inevitably, we are ALL consumers of ‘healthcare’ along our life journey. One way or another, we will experience the net result of a healthcare related interoperability issue either directly as a patient or as the family of a loved one. Encouraged others see the same challenges we are endeavoring to resolve. Well done.







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