1. Met, Maya BSN, RNC-MNN

Article Content

I was very impressed by the article "Bridging the Gap between IT and Nurse Leaders" by Candace Smith, MPA, RN, NEA-BC, in the September 2015 issue. The author presents the important topic of integrating frontline nurses' opinions about the relevance of electronic medical record (EMR) fields used for documentation and communication, as well as systems improvement based on the feedback of those who actually use EMRs on daily basis. Working as a clinical nurse, I come across documentation issues all of the time and see many nurses and physicians struggle with placing orders and making communication notes.


Despite the accuracy and efficiency of EMRs, there are many flaws, such as duplicate fields and flow sheets in which some fields are inaccessible to other team members. For instance, the physician can sign and hold orders and forget to release them, creating unnecessary concerns and requiring phone calls for clarification. Moreover, the IT department constantly updates the system without warning. Staff members begin to feel comfortable using electronic documentation only to have something change that they must then figure out, taking away valuable time from patient care. Thus, it's vital to communicate with the IT department. Leaders should consider creating interdisciplinary teams of nurses, managers, and pharmacists that can provide frontline feedback and suggestions for improvement.


At my workplace, we have an optimization team that meets monthly and the opinion of each member is welcomed and thoroughly discussed. I'm honored to be a part of the team and contribute to EMR refinement. The impact of the collaboration between IT, nurses, and leaders is invaluable because it brings representatives from different levels of patient care together to share ideas and ultimately improve documentation flow and patient outcomes.


Organizational leaders should remember that the goal of EMRs is to provide accurate documentation, reduce errors, and improve communication between healthcare team members while being user friendly. Who better to determine that factor than its users? Nurse leaders play a critical role in achieving patient safety and quality improvement by actively involving staff members, using open communication, and working alongside staff to improve processes and achieve a common goal. Clearly, the partnership and collaboration between interdisciplinary teams consisting of healthcare workers and IT employees will bring any organization to the path of success during technology implementation.


Maya Met, BSN, RNC-MNN