Applying lessons learned from HIMSS CNO/CNIO Vendor Roundtable: Understanding and managing data for better patient care

Beth MeyersHIMSS Clinical Informatics Insights

This month marks fifteen years since my graduation from the University of Minnesota with my Bachelors of Science in Nursing. I have been a licensed, practicing nurse since that time, working as a medical-surgical nurse, perioperative nurse, nurse manager, and as a value analysis nurse. But my recent decision to join a software company has been my most challenging career advancement. Now, suddenly, after 15 years, I'm frequently introduced as, "This is Beth, she used to be a nurse," or I’m asked, "Don't you miss taking care of patients?”

What these kind-hearted inquirers don't understand is that I most certainly am still a nurse, and the work I do every day helps improve patient care. Being a nurse informaticist at a vendor organization gives me the opportunity to directly influence development of the tools that nurses and healthcare workers use every day to care for patients, not just at one healthcare system, but across the nation and the world. It's a rewarding job, but sometimes misunderstood.

That's why I jumped at the chance to join nurses from other vendor organizations at the inaugural HIMSS CNO/CNIO Vendor Roundtable event in January 2014. The event brought 14 nurse executives from vendor organizations to share common stories and collaborate to solve problems we experience in our roles as nurse leaders. We formed four workgroups at that first meeting focusing on:

  • Defining the Nurse Vendor Role
  • Human Factors/Usability/Safety
  • Nurse Executive Leadership
  • Big Data Principles

I have had the honor to participate in the Big Data workgroup for the last 18 months.

Nurses make up the largest part of the healthcare workforce, and nurse leaders need to be at the table when making IT decisions that will affect how staff provides patient care. Exclusion or abdication of this role results in serious side effects. For instance, I recently spoke to a CNO who was expected to organize her staff to provide efficient and effective care using the sole retrospective metric of adjusted revenue per patient day. That particular hospital was not getting value from their investment in electronic health records and several hundred other software solutions. The value of HIMSS CNO-CNIO Vendor Roundtable is that it consists of nurse executive vendor leaders, and our combined experiences can be leveraged to generate information, such as the Guiding Principles for Big Data in Nursing white paper, that can be shared with other nurse leaders to help them understand and better manage data to impact patient care.

The Big Data Principles Work group spent over a year researching challenges like the CNO’s that I talked with to create workable principles. Nurse executives must be at the table during software decisions, advocating for software that improves patient care now, and collects data in a uniform way so that it can be aggregated for macro level analytics to also improve patient care in the future. The recommendations can be found at www.himss.org/big10.

We encourage you to share with your nursing leaders to encourage their involvement in information technology decisions.

About the Contributor
As the Industry Strategy Director for Healthcare, Elizabeth Meyers is responsible for formulating, communicating and executing business plans for Infor’s healthcare solutions.

Prior to Infor, she led Fairview Supply Chain’s business intelligence team, responsible for converting data into actionable information for decision making. Meyers also worked as a perioperative nurse in the U.S. Army and held positions in surgery and clinical management with Baldwin Area Medical Center.

Meyers earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in technology management from the University of Wisconsin. She is currently pursuing her PhD in healthcare informatics with the University of Minnesota, where she is also a guest lecturer.