1. Thede, Linda Q. PhD, RN, BC
  2. Perry, William MA, RN

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The conference "Informatics and the Electronic Health Record-Beyond the Basics," sponsored by the Minnesota Nursing Informatics Group (MINING) and held in Minneapolis May 13-15, 2005, was attended by many informatics clinicians from Minnesota and neighboring states. The conference started with a talk by Melinda Costin, who provided information about skills to help bring physicians on board with electronic records. She thinks in terms of physician integration into the electronic health record (EHR) system, rather than adoption. Like many of the speakers she emphasized the importance of full support of administration and the need for metrics to measure progress toward the goals. She discussed the importance of having a respected physician sponsor whose roles include IT liaison, clinical content expert, rainmaker, and change agent as an integral part of the EHR implementation team. Her strategy for physician integration also includes strong leadership and governance, a communication plan that is actually implemented, and training and support. It was made clear that EHR acceptance is more of a social project than a technical one. The points she made are equally important to gain buy-in by any healthcare discipline.


Peter Devault and Emily Barey discussed National Standards pertaining to the Electronic Health Record. Peter briefed the participants on the role of many of the healthcare standards-setting organizations. The goal of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is that 50% of the US ambulatory care providers will be using EHR systems in 7 years. Certification Commission for Health IT is a nongovernmental group that is developing a 3-year certification roadmap for EHRs through workgroups that focus on functionality, interoperability, security, and the certification process. Another project, the development of the Continuity of Care Record (CCR) is a collaborative task of the American Society for Testing and Materials International, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Health Information Management and Systems Society, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The focus of Continuity of Care Record is the clinical information required in transfer of care. Emily discussed the emerging role of Regional Health Information Organizations now being developed in different areas including Indianapolis, Spokane, Santa Barbara, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. It is believed that these organizations will yield huge financial savings as well as have a positive clinical impact.


Information about the development of the Maryland report Technology and the Nursing Shortage was presented by one of its authors, Susan Newbold. This report was a result of state legislation that created a task force to support statewide efforts to use technology to ease the nursing shortage. A current project of this task force is a survey of Maryland nurses to determine their use of technology. Several purposes will be served by this survey, including the development of guidelines for education and support for existing technology as well as upgrades.


Saturday morning was headlined by Marion Ball, who addressed actions to improve patient safety. She informed the group that 80% of nurses calculate dosages incorrectly 10% of the time, and 40% of nurses make mistakes more than 30% of the time. Included in her presentation was the story of Josie King, the child whose death was caused by nurses and doctors not listening to a parent who knew that "something was wrong." This sentinel event caused Johns Hopkins to become very serious about safety and to assign a C-level (title starts with chief) to each unit to spend several hours a month on this unit to observe, listen, and take action to change situations that could potentially be a safety hazard.


Debbie Konicek presented information about SNOMED-CT, the standardized terminology that has been designated by the National Center of Vital Health Statistics as the national standard for nursing for the EHR system. She pointed that the ICD and CPT codes are standards for billing, but are deficient for clinical care. The basic unit of SNOMED is a concept which must be understandable, reproducible, and usable. The process for including nursing concepts in SNOMED was described. Debbie assured the group that clinical users of a system using SNOMED will be unaware that SNOMED or any other standardized terminology is being used. They will chart from a pick list, the entries of which will be mapped to the appropriate concept behind the scenes. The difference will be that users will be able to pull data in the aggregate to develop quality statistics, provide background for evidence-based care, increase nursing knowledge, and enable organization participation in a Regional Health Information Organization.


Information about project management in EHR implementation was presented by Diane Strandlund. She emphasized the need for a defined clear vision and designated governance structure as well as a strong champion with the power to make things happen. Another important factor is an implementation approach that embraces the idea that the EHR is an organizational project, not an IT project. The use of software such as MS Project is important in keeping everyone informed of progress. Diane emphasized the importance of a partnership with the vendor and stated that at least once a week project managers from both the vendor and the organization should talk as well as others from both groups who are parallel in the organizational structure.


The conference ended with another presentation by Susan Newbold, this time about the various uses of PDAs in healthcare. She congratulated the few schools that require faculty to use PDAs and discussed many applications for PDAs, including checking for drug interactions and dosage calculations. Susan gave examples of application software such as Skyscape, Pepid RN, and PediSuite and provided information about which PDAs use which operating system. She discussed the many accessories for PDAs including "Presenter-to-Go," which allows the user to load a presentation on the PDA and attach the PDA directly to the projector, eliminating the need to lug a laptop to the presentation. Although Susan believes that there should not be any de-emphasis on touch, the focus in nursing education on touch over tech may be one reason that nurses are reluctant to incorporate PDAs and other technology into their practice.


MINING ( was started in 2000 by two influential informatics nurses, one from Minneapolis (Judy Pechacek) and the other from Duluth (Tess Settergren), and has grown to 120 members. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation is open to all healthcare informatics professionals, across all clinical and educational settings, who are interested in the use and promotion of health information technologies. MINING's mission is to provide high-quality, affordable, local informatics educational opportunities, primarily to support ANCC-certified informatics nurses in maintaining the credential, and affords opportunities for networking and support via its Listserv and meetings.


Contributed by


Linda Q. Thede, PhD, RN, BC



A student team from the Indiana University School of Informatics won first place in April 2005 in the International Student Design Competition, sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI). The team-which includes master's students Shweta Aneja, Kevin Makice, Apurva Pangam and Matt Weldon-was honored with a first-place finish over top schools such as UC Irvine and Savannah College of Art (tied for second) and Carnegie-Mellon University (fourth place).


The second annual competition is a three-phase, 6-month process, which ultimately brings a select few teams to the CHI conference. Indiana University's (IU's) winning team was one of four IU teams-all human-computer interaction graduate students-selected to attend the second round of competition in Portland, OR. Student teams from all over the globe were invited to submit their written solutions to this year's research challenge: create a design for artificial companionship to support the social well-being of seniors over the age of 65.


This year's winning team proposed Project mPath, a volunteer network to be implemented within assisted-living facilities. As part of the project, volunteers would assess social relationships and emotional reactions, inputting information into the system, which would examine data over time to isolate anomalies, highlight trends, and anticipate future responses.


Other IUB team projects included Team Echo (Justin Donaldson, Josh Evnin, and Sidharth Saxena), whose two-part system includes a "Teletable," a virtual extension of the kitchen or family table that allows users to organize digital photos, play games with peers, write letters, and store recipes, and a "Pitara," a portable device to house digital media and mementos; Team KRJN (Jacki Bauer, Kristy Streefkerk, and Ryan Varick), who proposed "fridgets," digital refrigerator magnets that provide access to information and services, such as reminders, daily news and weather updates, entertainment, and photos of loved ones; and Team Meeteetse (Kynthia Brunette, Matt Eisenstadt, Erik Pukinskis, and Will Ryan), whose proposed design, to be applied to a local community center, allows seniors to share photos with others and keeps them updated on community events through a dynamic home scheduling system.


The conference teams' written proposals will be published in the Student Competition section of the Extended Abstracts conference publication. Top entries in the competition earned a Certificate of Recognition.


CHI 2004 was held in Vienna, Austria, where IU Informatics teams took second and fourth place.


The Indiana University School of Informatics curriculum focuses on developing specialized skills and knowledge of information technology with particular interdisciplinary application to a specific field of study or practice.


Founded in 2000, it is the nation's first school of informatics, and more than 1800 students are now enrolled in Informatics degree programs at Indiana University's campuses in Indianapolis, Bloomington, and South Bend.


For more information, visit the School's Web sites:,, and





The Canadian Nursing Informatics Association, in connection with Longwoods Publishing and Bell Canada Enterprise, has begun offering Nursing Informatics eRounds. This eLearning initiative is available to nursing professionals and students worldwide interested in advancing knowledge, career, and ultimately the care of patients through the optimum use of information technology.


This no-cost program, funded by an educational grant and sponsorship in-kind by Bell Canada, is dedicated to promoting the understanding of information technology and its impact on the daily delivery of healthcare. The executive editor of the program, Lynn Nagle, PhD, Senior Vice President of Technology and Knowledge Management at Mount Sinai Hospital and President of the Canadian Nursing Informatics Association, has put together a series of 10 presentations of approximately 20 minutes each, demonstrating the impact of informatics in today's healthcare industry.


Each presenter's credentials meet with standards set by Dr Nagle. Contact information for each presenter is available for discussion purposes.


All nursing professionals are invited to add this program to their self-directed learning activities. A certificate will be issued to members of the Canadian Nursing Informatics Association or Longwoods Healthcare Board after successful completion of the eRounds.


For access to the series, visit





Hospitals and healthcare facilities can now quickly and easily locate misplaced equipment and instruments using the Seeker Mobile Locating Solution from RF Technologies. The new asset management tool uses radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and a handheld reader to locate and keep track of assets and equipment.


Seeker offers a handheld reader that can poll up to 57,600 programmable RFID asset tags at ranges up to 300 feet. Audible "beeps" and flashing lights on the RFID tags show precisely which tagged assets have been successfully located, and signal strength indicates the distance of each tag from the reader's current position.


Seeker can be used throughout hospitals to help track and locate necessary equipment, allowing staff to spend less time searching for equipment and more time providing patient care. Items such as ultrasound machines, infusion pumps, portable EKG monitors, and similar high-value assets can be tagged without interference in practical use.


Seeker Mobile Locating Solution is scalable and may be integrated with several available real-time location systems that employ high function database management systems, including RF Technologies' PinPoint Mobile Research Manager application. Standard PDA functions also can be integrated with the Seeker handheld reader, since it uses Microsoft's Pocket PC Operating System.


RF Technologies is a provider of safety and asset protection using comprehensive, integrated RFID monitoring. Founded in 1987, RF Technologies is a privately held company with an installed base of more than 10,000 systems worldwide. For more information on the company, its products or services, visit





Access Nurses, a national travel nurse company, has launched a trailer ( and held a casting call for the first reality show about travel nurses-highly skilled healthcare professionals who travel the country working at hospitals with acute needs for 13 weeks at a time.


The show, "13 Weeks," will focus on the lives of six travel nurses relocated to Southern California from all over the country. The focus will include the very intense and challenging hospital work environment, the excitement of exploring Southern California, and the demands of living with five new roommates.


The show is aimed at highlighting the many exciting facets of the travel nursing profession and showcases nurses as caregivers who change the lives of many. The nurses on the show will live in a mansion in Orange County and will experience the attractions and excitement of a southern California lifestyle. Some of the nurses will also have personal development goals for the duration of the show, which will "deliver quality entertainment by focusing on human potential and human drama without being scandalous or base," according to a spokesperson.


Filming will occur inside hospitals, inside the mansion, and on preplanned events. The show will comprise 13 weeks of episodes, as well as a background piece on each of the six nurses. Each episode will be 5 to 7 minutes in length, and there will be multiple episodes per week.


The casting call, open for approximately 4 weeks in late spring 2005, consisted of an application process, reference and background check, and an audition tape. Candidate profiles will be posted on the show's Web site,, and viewers can vote on each one in early June through mid-July.


The United States Department of Labor predicts that the country will have over 600,000 unfilled nursing positions by the year 2020. By showcasing the exciting and rewarding lifestyle that travel nursing offers, Access Nurses hopes the show will encourage more people to join the nursing profession.


Access Nurses, a provider of healthcare staffing, recruits domestic and international nurses and allied health professionals and places them on contract, temporary, and permanent positions throughout the United States.