Driving Quality Improvement

A Nursing vignette, presented as a part of National Nurses Week. 

JohnMarc Alban, MS, RN, CPHIMS, Associate Director, Quality Measurement & Informatics, Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation, The Joint Commission

As an Informatics nurse with an ER background, I used to find tremendous gratification in the various “go-lives” I was involved with. Those high pressure situations immediately surrounding the implementation were where I thrived. As the years passed, my focus and passion evolved from implementation, to utilization, to quality improvement. I think that’s what’s most important for me - it’s not just about how much clinicians can use health IT, but specifically how we can use it to improve the quality of care.

My current position at The Joint Commission allows me to focus on driving quality improvement from a different perspective. As the Associate Director for Quality Measurement and Informatics, I oversee the Center for Performance Measurement, where we work to research quality issues, and develop and maintain standardized process and outcome measures used to gauge clinical performance. In this role, I’ve come to appreciate how nursing informatics can continue to evolve and specialize in areas like quality improvement and I’ve even seen how some organizations have developed robust quality informatics departments.

What we can improve as nurses in informatics is the ability to leverage EHR data to improve quality across populations. And what I’ve learned is that one way we can do this is by influencing the design and implementation of clinical documentation with an eye towards the use of standard terminologies. I did not appreciate the concepts of terminologies when I led design efforts before.

Mapping our documentation to standardized language helps us to be able to measure performance across organizations through the use of electronic clinical quality measures. What I’m hoping to do, and what I’m excited to do, is help get that message out and work with my fellow nurse informaticists to continually innovate and improve the way we take care of patients through health IT. And I’m thankful this field has provided so many different opportunities to do so.

Join us in celebrating #Nurses4HIT and the value they bring to health IT during #NursesWeek May 6 - 12.