Nurses Don’t Need More Data to Help Care for Patients – They Need Better Information

Nurses are inundated with data from the time they clock in until the time they go home.  Diagnoses, exam results, ADT timestamps, notes from physicians and other nurses, prescriptions – there hasn’t really been a shortage of data in patient care since the implementation of EMRs.  But as any nurse would tell you, simply having access to data isn’t what’s helpful to their jobs.  Most hospitals have plenty of data,

likely more than they know what to do with.  Unfortunately it’s a good bet the data is spread across multiple systems that, like Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, don’t like talking to each other.  Sometimes the data is in the form of unstructured physician or nurse notes, which are helpful in the moment but extremely difficult to quantify and utilize for future cases.  Health Catalyst expands more on this and other reasons why healthcare data is hard to properly utilize here.  The bottom line is that it’s not more data that leads to better patient outcomes, but being able to turn that data into meaningful and actionable information.  And as outlined in this Healthcare IT News article, the impending push to do just that is what will lead to the next big revolution of “information driven hospitals.”

To all the nurses out there, I’m sure you can imagine how good information could help you take better care of your patients while at the same time making your jobs easier.  What if you knew exactly the treatments your patient needed when they arrived on the floor, based not solely on DRG, but also on historical information from other patients of similar demographics and conditions who have come into your hospital over the last 10 years?  What if sitter needs could be better anticipated, before it becomes painfully obvious a patient requires one?  For the nursing directors, how much easier and more effective would scheduling be if you knew with a high degree of certainty how many and what types of patients come into your hospital on the third week of June?  There are countless more examples that are too numerous for this blog, but I’m sure a lot of you are already thinking about the improvements to patient care that would come from having access to more real information.  Healthcare IT News (as referenced above) said it best:  data-driven is giving way to information-driven, and that’s only good news for hospitals, clinicians, and most importantly patients.


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