CONNECTED HEALTH CONFERENCE • Boston, MA • October 25-27, 2017

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2017 Connected Health Conference

October 25-27, 2017 | Boston, MA

Digital Reinvention: the Critical Role of Nursing in Patient Engagement


When I started working in health IT (HIT) as a nurse 30 years ago, it was a new concept and not many medical professionals participated. Fast forward to today, HIT is a foundational tool to transform the industry, however, we have realized that it is not an instant fix. Rather, it’s one tool in our arsenal of reform.  It provides a unique ability and opportunity to capture and derive benefits from data – to translate the seemingly independent pieces of information into meaningful conclusions that, if applied and implemented correctly, can improve the health of individuals and populations; lower costs and help tailor health care to individual patient needs.

Healthcare-- as an industry and a culture-- has been resisting change for a very long time. Thus, the implementation and integration of HIT in any health care setting is hard – that’s the plain truth. For providers, we have disrupted the way patient care has been practiced for generations. Selecting the right EHR vendor, getting the right pricing and implementation is akin to Goldilocks’s foray through the three bears’ home – an extremely arduous process that, at least initially, disrupts more than it works. It changes the culture of practice and the workflow of the healthcare setting.  

As patients, we have become accustomed to traditional clinical practice. We accept the inefficiencies because to us, it’s the norm. However, we have adopted automation in every other aspect of our lives – hotel reservations, banking and shopping are all done instantly, though electronic tools. Why would we not expect and accept the same for our health care?

Nurses can help patients utilize HIT to improve engagement in their own care. When I practiced, years ago, patients were not worried about taking control of their health – they relied on the doctors to direct their actions. Fast forward to today into the world of digital re-invention and we’re seeing patients take control of their own health, becoming an integral part of decision making, and a critical component of their own care teams.

As a result, we’re starting to truly understand the power of the patient in the digital world – exerting a participatory role and how we can leverage this engagement to improve patient outcomes.  Nurses can support this active participation of individuals in their own health and, as nurses, have literally led the way as patient advocates. Uniquely, nurses have consistently ranked as one of the most trusted professionals and have so for decades. This means that patients trust their opinion; so if a nurse offers a suggestion, patients are more likely to listen. 

As we enter the cognitive era, and this digitally reinvented world that is emerging, we continually strive for not just the adoption of these new technologies but for the enablement of new workflows and choices, increased engagement, and real transformation of the industry. If we are going to improve outcomes for the health within our communities, each member of the health care team will need to work together –with nurses helping to lead the way.

Join Judy at Session Number R0140B, Thursday, October 26, 2017, 1:40-2:30pm; Connected Health Enablers: Feeding the Digital Beast

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