Understanding eHealth & Healthcare Informatics
Having only known a predominantly paper based healthcare system, I have slowly began the journey to untangle the complex world of Healthcare Information Technology, in particular technology enablers to capture and guide the patients journey across their lifespan through the continuum of care. Working as a Nursing Documentation Project lead in Connolly Hospital, I remain on a journey to understand how nursing practice can be reflected in an electronic format.
I joined the Council of Clinical Information Officers (CCIO), the Health Informatics Society of Ireland-Nursing and Midwifery Group, Twitter, LinkedIn and Research Gate. I have been overwhelmed with the genuine willingness of individuals and groups to share their knowledge, experience and expertise. As a member of the CCIO, I have learned so much about the importance of clinical and patient engagement in order to successfully implement change. Attending workshops, conferences and summits has given me so much confidence in the potential of achieving the eHealth agenda.
I am particularly excited about how technology will contribute to health promotion through monitoring and alerting to the onset of preventable chronic disease. Knowing that the patient will have a patient portal and that acute, GP, private and community are going to access and contribute to a national shared record across the lifespan of the patient and the continuum of care is the most profound learning that I have made to date.
While my informatics knowledge is at an early stage, I do consider myself an early adopter, contributing the voice of the clinical nurse to the eHealth agenda. To date, I have had the opportunity to speak at the HISINM Conference on nursing language, at the eHealth Ireland Conference on a nurses perspective of eHealth and at the ONMSDs Conference on Nursing Terminology Systems. I also had the opportunity to sit on a discussion panel at an ICS Leadership Conference discussing Social Media for organisation and customer/patient engagement.
Health Information Technology
From November 2016 to January 2017, I was supported by Connolly Hospital and the Nurse Planning Development Unit – Dublin North to concentrate on intensely reviewing how we can inform the nursing community including, clinical, management, academic and research who are familiar with a paper based documentation system on how nursing documentation will be recorded and evaluated in an electronic format at the point of care to enable the interoperability across care settings and information systems. Blogs and links from tweets, LinkedIn and Research Gate, along with publications in the nursing literature, have all informed nine infographic style posters that are placed here on the CCIO website.
The themes of these posters were based on areas of Health Information Technology, eHealth and nursing informatics which I knew little or nothing about prior to commencing this journey. The headings of the posters include:
- Cloud Technology in Healthcare
- eHealth & Integrated Care
- Electronic Health Records
- Standardised Nursing Language
- Nursing Informatics
- Healthcare Data
- Social Media in Healthcare
- Wearables & Healthcare
I look forward to the future when I can revisit these posters and convert them to true infographics to include the relevant statistics and status of each poster theme. Special thanks to Michelle Kearns and Dr. Pamela Hussey who reviewed the content of the posters.
So what have I learned on my journey to date?
eHealth holds fantastic and very exciting potential that I believe can work. We are taking on board the huge learning and experiences of others who went and are on a similar path. It appears to me that there is a struggle to deliver quality integrated care due to the sheer magnitude, complexity and commitment that is required to achieve this goal. Patience and tolerance is required to ensure that the foundations are strong and that everyone is informed of the changes that are coming and how to get involved. Clinical and patient engagement are the leading contributors to applying the eHealth agenda so if you wish to join in go along to the eHealth Ireland website where you will find all you need to know about the progress to date and the plans going forward.