Thursday, October 8, 2009

Award Winning Essay

I am pleased to announce that my submission for the 11th Annual Regional Nursing Conference essay contest was a winner.   The requirements were a 300-500 word essay on nursing informatics.  No zombies, hell hounds or vampires in this one, but if you are interested, it is included here.

Nursing and Informatics: the Future of Healthcare
Nursing and informatics are the future of healthcare because never in the history of medicine has there been more opportunity to leverage information to save costs, save time, and save lives. 
No longer are we controlled by the necessity of duplicate paper charts across multiple departments.  The future will not be about hunting down outdated manuals or drug books, or relying on a patient’s memory for every medical intervention they’ve received.  The future is not limited by separate pharmacy databases or look alike sound alike names.
No longer are we restricted by middlemen that add cost but no value to healthcare.  In the future, imaging and test result can be available to doctors, nurses and even directly to patients at the touch of a button. They can be shared between offices, hospitals, and specialties.  Patient outcomes and quality control data can be analyzed like never before.
No longer are we bound by geographical borders.  A specialist in London can help a patient in Chicago without ever leaving his or her office.    A nurse in San Diego can answer questions for a patient vacationing in New York in real time.   She can customize her materials to her patient and send instructions electronically in a heartbeat.
Nursing and informatics are the future of healthcare because the future will be about having the right information available, at the right time, to the right people so that medical professionals can do what they do best—heal the patient.  I believe that the questions that nurses will face as we move forward into the future of healthcare will not be about what technology can do, as the technology already exists to revolutionize the way we care for patients.  I believe the questions that we will face are about what technology should do and how far we are willing to go, how adaptable we are willing to be, to leverage technology to its full potential.  Nurses, as the hands of patient care, are now more than ever able to carve out the future of health care.  We are surrounded by opportunity.  It is just a matter of deciding what limits we will place on ourselves.

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