Thursday October 30th 2014

ANA, federal agency collaborate to promote health information technology and improved patient outcomes

Promoting the greater use of health information technology to support quality care – and nursing’s critical role in making that happen – were the focus of a meeting between leaders of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

At the July 18 meeting, both organizations exchanged information about their strategic goals and how ANA and ONC can work together on health IT efforts. ONC is the principal federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health IT and the electronic exchange of health information.

ANA Chief Executive Officer Marla J. Weston, PhD, RN, FAAN, provided an overview of ANA’s structure and leadership activities dedicated to advancing health IT. Among them is the recent ANA Board of Directors-approved position statement, Standardization and Interoperability of Health Information Technology: Supporting Nursing and the National Quality Strategy for Better Patient Outcomes.

ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, shared the American Academy of Nursing’s (AAN) policy paper, The importance of health information technology in care coordination and transitional care. In the paper, AAN offers a set of recommendations to guide the development of the infrastructure, standards, content and measures for electronically enabled care coordination and transitions in care. AAN is part of the ANA enterprise.

Cipriano also spoke of ANA’s significant work to support nursing’s ongoing role in care coordination and referenced the association’s newest policy document, Framework for Measuring Nurses’ Contribution to Care Coordination. This policy document, the most recent in a series of three, provides a dynamic roadmap that can be used to identify prioritized domains and measures of care coordination.

Senior Policy Fellow Maureen Dailey, PhD, RN, CWOCN, briefed ONC on ANA’s efforts to develop and pilot test an eMeasure designed to seamlessly collect pressure ulcer data through the electronic health record (EHR).  ANA reported that it is an effective tool to address this costly, hospital-acquired complication with a reduced burden to staff.  ANA also noted that it plans to use this eMeasure as an exemplar for future eMeasure development, testing and implementation to address other safety and care coordination measure gaps.

From left, ONC Senior Policy Analyst Ellen V. Makar, ANA Senior Policy Fellow Maureen Dailey, ANA Executive Director Debbie Hatmaker, ONC National Coordinator for Health IT Karen B. DeSalvo, ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, ONC Chief Nursing Officer and Director of the Office of Clinical Quality and Safety Judy Murphy, and ANA Chief Executive Officer Marla Weston.

ANA further addressed ongoing barriers to full and efficient APRN practice, including a need to improve the inclusion of nursing practice activities within EHR, particularly given the link between financial incentives and EHR use.

ANA leaders, however, did acknowledge ONC’s efforts to use provider-neutral language in its regulations and communications.

ONC National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, expressed ONC’s intention to involve nurses in all aspects of its health IT work, including around eMeasures and longitudinal care coordination. One mechanism for that involvement is through two current federal advisory committees – the Health IT Policy Committee and the Health IT Standards Committee — and their 12 new workgroups, which are being formed. These committees provide a direct means for private and public sector health IT leaders, as well as the public, to provide input to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

ONC Chief Nursing Officer and Director of the Office of Clinical Quality and Safety Judy Murphy, RN, FACMI, FHIMSS, FAAN, noted ANA’s leadership in nurse engagement through its work with the Alliance for Nursing Informatics (ANI). ANA and ANI are encouraging nurses to enter their nomination documents in the ONC’s federal advisory committee nomination database. (Go to http://www.healthit.gov/)

ANA will continue to meet with Murphy and DeSalvo regularly to address progress on goals and strategies. ANA also is reviewing an ONC document on proposed nursing engagement and will provide feedback.

To read more about ONC’s Judy Murphy, go to http://www.theamericannurse.org/index.php/2012/10/05/take-5-with-a-nurse-leader/.

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