1. Delaney, Connie W. PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FNAP
  2. Weaver, Charlotte PhD, RN, FAAN

Article Content

The 2019 Nursing Knowledge: Big Data Conference welcomed inaugural conference attendees (nurses and healthcare leaders) of our 11 Working Group members, as well as a large number of first-time attendees, guests and graduate students. As those of you who have attended any of these conferences know, this event is a "roll up your sleeves" affair, more like a think-tank than a conference. The event starts with a hands-on preconference that offers multiple tracks focused on cutting-edge topics from the expertise achieved within our Working Groups. This year's three sessions focused on the following: data science principles and tools, led by Lisiane Pruinelli, PhD, RN, and Steve Johnson, PhD; standardized data for dashboards and real-time alerts for pain management, led by Bonnie L. Westra, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI; and standardizing the nursing admission history and screening to reduce documentation burden, led by Jane Englebright, PhD, RN, CENP, FAAN, assisted by Working Group chairs, Shannon Hewlet, RN, DPN, from Gunderson Health System and David Boyd, RN, MSN, from Kaiser Permanente.


The body of the 2-day conference combines the reports of the 11 Working Groups and their intense work group sessions, with national speakers and much social time for collaborative exchanges and future planning. The Working Groups' detailed reports on their major achievements accomplished throughout the year and planning for the coming year can be viewed at These annual reports include citations for published papers, conference presentations, examples of best practices for streamlined workflow, and electronic health record (EHR) documentation, as well as information models and terminology standards. In this year's reports, speakers emphasized the importance of the flow of information across the continuum of care, interoperability, and data analytics to support decisions, all of which are increasingly important with the spotlight on value-based care.



Cyrus Batheja, EdD, MBA, PHN, BSN, RN, chief growth officer, myConnections and national Medicaid vice president for United Healthcare Community and Data, shared clear, everyday life examples of using big data to better understand the complex care of Medicaid members and persons experiencing homelessness. Batheja showed how data that include social determinants of health are used to lower healthcare costs, decrease emergency room visits, and lower hospital admissions. He emphasized that better care, with better outcomes and costs through the art and science of big data analytics, collaboration, and patient engagement, is the mission that we are all targeting.


The closing keynote, a joint presentation on data flowing across the care continuum by Jennifer Lundblad, PhD, MBA, president and chief executive officer of Stratis Health, and Lisa Moon, PhD, JD, RN, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, shared insights on health information technology policies and information exchanges. Lundblad and Moon emphasized that with payers' focus being on value-based care, health systems are looking to population health to address health outcomes. However, exchange data are primarily collected in hospital and clinical spaces. "When you think about the care continuum issue and the population health issue, our EHRs are typically not accommodating the whole-person view," said Lundblad. "There isn't equal access to the breath of essential data and information." Specifically, Moon called on more nurses to be involved in policymaking related to data access, including access by the patient. "Even though nurses represent 80% of the healthcare professionals, our data is not represented in the exchange today," said Moon. "That's a policy issue that we are going to have to tackle."


Jane Englebright, PhD, RN, CENP, FAAN, chief nurse executive, senior vice president of HCA Healthcare, shared a robust technology framework and rigorous analyzing data analytics that support nursing decision-making and applications of artificial intelligence. These exemplars addressed clinical care, administration, and advancing careers.


Conference Connections Lead to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Contract and World Health Organization Voice

Impact extends beyond conference and geography. For Erin Maughan, PhD, RN, PHNA-BC, FNASN, FAAN, it has been a whirlwind year since leaving the Nursing Knowledge: Big Data Conference in 2018. For example, Maughan, the director of research for the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), says the relationships forged at the conference were instrumental in NASN being awarded a contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a national platform to collect and analyze data pertaining to chronic conditions and their association with school absenteeism and withdrawal. Moreover, Erin is a vital voice at the World Health Organization in advancing the health of children.


"I see here the possibilities of more partnerships as well as actually thinking that systematic change," says Maughan, about what she expected to take away from the conference. "I glean information from who to talk to, who is the expert in documentation, or who's the expert in this area as well as getting the holistic picture on how we can empower students to take care of their health for life."


The Mission

The formal mission of the Big Data conference is to advance a national action plan to ensure that nursing data are captured and available in sharable, comparable formats for clinicians, researchers, policy makers, and others to advance person-centered care and improve health outcomes. Seven years ago, about 40 nursing leaders who were passionately committed to making a difference-and making it fast-for person-centered care and health outcomes initiated the Big Data Science initiative hosted by the University of Minnesota. These leaders engaged to cocreate a national roadmap that would include the essential data contributed through the nurse-person relationship. The vision of this Big Data initiative has always been about the voice of those we care for and better health outcomes for individuals, families, and communities. It was about focusing on how information systems, including the EHR and other sources of data, come together in a meaningful and synergistic way, with the goal of improving health.


Looking to 2020

In conference evaluations and direct comments, attendees and Working Group members tell us that they leave these 2 days energized, focused on bringing this body of work into their own work settings, and wanting to engage in a given area of work. They tell us that this work must continue. To enable better connectedness and a sense of community throughout the year, launching a LinkedIn platform for a Library and Social Learning Community is underway.


So we invite you to mark your calendars for our 2020 Nursing Knowledge: Big Data Conference, June 3-5, 2020, in Minneapolis-come join us. All are welcome!