HIMSS News

Career Profile: Informatics in Design/Architecture

How did you get started in informatics?
I began working for the Technology Planning Group at Smith Seckman Reid in 2010 as the Senior Clinical Consultant. We plan the technology infrastructure and systems for new healthcare construction and renovations. It has been an exciting career to advocate for the clinical voice; nurses are not always involved in the design, construction and technology integration for their facilities. It is important to have a clinical voice at the design table in order to understand work flow, the patient experience and clinical outcomes. It has been very important to open the silos and discussion between biomedical engineering, IT and nursing. Nursing Informatics is helping bridge that gap. As we move from an “information – EHR” focus to a “transforming care” focus, the nurses perspective and voice is more important than ever.

Tell us about informatics in your organization?
It is my role to help clinicians and hospitals understand the clinical impact of technology on patient care delivery. Technology can often be a distraction and frustration for clinicians. Creating a seamless technology integration that facilitates care delivery is my focus. Technology is a key focus for hospitals today; however, the investments are not being maximized. Creating a strategic clinical roadmap for technology integration is key. Developing technology governance that includes all stakeholders is a best practice in the industry today. We bring best practice, industry standards, and clinical vision to hospitals seeking to upgrade and grow their technology integration. To work for a firm that believes in the Clinical Voice is an honor. I hope to represent my nursing profession and our patients to achieve optimal care delivery.

Any valuable lessons you have learned along the way?
Technology is changing at such a rapid pace. It is important to stay informed and continue researching best practices and evidence based research. Unfortunately, research in the area of technology at the point of care is lacking. I have done post occupancy evaluations after a year of new technology deployment and there are still nurse workarounds, lack of optimization and lack of integration. As nurses, we still have a lot of work to do to drive technology to enhance workflow and improve patient outcomes. Breaking down silos and working together with interdisciplinary teams is one way to unify efforts. Many hospitals are creating positions for nurses to drive the technology selection, education, adoption and integration. This clinical focus with workflow and patient outcomes in mind helps create technology as a care enhancer and not a barrier.

About the Contributor
Debbie Gregory is a registered nurse and interior designer with 30 year’s experience in nursing as a clinician, healthcare consultant, innovation leader and entrepreneur. As a nurse and interior designer, she is passionate about aligning the built environment and the clinical workflow. Currently, she serves as the Senior Clinical Consultant for the Technology Planning Group at Smith Seckman Reid, Inc. In today’s healthcare environment, clinical transformation and innovation are essential in navigating the care delivery model of the future. She serves as a liaison between the clinical community, the design and construction community and the IT/Engineering community to interpret and enhance the clinical workflow and operations with technology integration and implementation. Debbie provides educational Summits that bring healthcare leaders, technology experts, and visionaries together to discuss the future of the healthcare delivery model and the integration of technology. She serves as the clinical voice for the SSR Technology Planning Group with a focus on maximizing the client’s technology investment to improve clinical workflow, patient experience, and ultimately patient outcomes. Debbie is the Co-founder and past president of the Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design. Debbie is pursuing her Doctorate in Nursing in Innovation and Leadership from the University of Minnesota.