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How to Get Nurses on Board the EHR Train

By Deborah Canfield, RN, for HealthLeaders Media, December 14, 2010

With hospitals preparing to demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) to qualify for financial subsidies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), nurses around the country are understandably concerned about the impact the systems will have on their job functions, patient care activities, and productivity.

In recent years, I have been involved in two highly successful IT implementations: I helped install an EHR in the emergency department (ED) at Union Hospital and a major system upgrade in the ED at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. The implementations were part of a strategic initiative that Saint Barnabas Health Care System—the largest integrated delivery network in New Jersey—launched in 2002 to automate its six hospital system by 2012.

Based on my experience, I am confident nurses will view EHR as one of the best things that could have happened to them and their patients, once they learn and start using the system. While RNs will have to go through a period of adjustment, they will discover that the learning curve is not as steep as they fear or imagine. Organizations and nurse managers can ensure a successful transition and no downtime resulting from electronic records by focusing in the following areas:

 

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1 comments on "How to Get Nurses on Board the EHR Train"


kit (12/28/2010 at 2:38 PM)
Good article. I think that an RN-informatician should be added to any hospital above 150 beds. In addition, 24/7 super user support is needed for longer interval than many vendors provide. Finally, a hospital blog should be dedicated to real world insights on IT integration; Three questions for the author/informaticians Does ANIA/AMIA have data on the number of RN-informaticians that we have? Are these nursing informatics programs capitalized like the med informatics groups? What programs lead to the most innovative thinking? (ie. Purdue or Baltimore are two that come to mind)