Big Data an Healthcare Advancing the Nursing Practice

There has been a lot of effort driven towards leveraging big data, to support clinical decisions in nursing. Nurses require real-time information to make timely, critical decisions at point-of-care. The ability to integrate and analyze disparate data, and make sense of them with speed and accuracy in order to positively impact outcomes, is no small feat.

Working in healthcare organizations with complex IT landscapes, and networks with multiple clinical, financial, and claims systems that must be integrated is merely the tip of the iceberg of the big data challenge. Big data can support improved decision making by offering a comprehensive and synthesized understanding of patients, nurses and organizations.

The results of big data analysis can also enhance confidence in conclusions and be fed back into clinical or managerial decision support systems and solutions. The use of big data technologies can help nurses improve care quality, optimize outcomes and reduce the cost of human errors and unnecessary procedures.

Ms Michelle Troseth is a prominent and influential leader in the nursing industry, and has been at the forefront of nursing informatics innovation. She brings with her 25 years of experience, co-designing and implementing evidence-based practice and technology infrastructures to support patient-centered care. Michelle recently spoke at HIMSS AsiaPac’16 in Thailand, the biggest regional health IT conference.

In an e-mail interview with Biotechin.Asia, Ms.Michelle Troseth, RN, Chief Professional Practice Officer of Elsevier Clinical Solution shared  her experience of working and consulting with healthcare providers and nurses around the world.

How is big data helping nurses to make clinical decisions?
Big data enables nurses to make better decisions, whether it is caring for a single patient at a local level, or evaluating quality standards and identifying trends to make operational decisions at a broader nurse executive level.

How is big data helping to improve the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of healthcare?
Not having any data to evaluate practice is like throwing a dart in the dark – you won’t know exactly where things stand. But by creating data dashboards, digitalizing data, creating standardized big data and linking it with standardized terminology, we are able to look at trends in nursing and make decisions on nursing practice to improve quality, safety and cost effectiveness of healthcare.

With the large amount of data being gleaned everyday through wearables, how is this information being utilized to advance patient care and practices?
The key thing here is that patients are becoming more engaged in their care and future generations will demand health IT tools that integrate with their healthcare providers’ systems to increase collaboration and shared decision-making.

Care providers will need to be thoughtful about integrating self-management tools into the care process, and consider how they connect to the entire patient health journey and to the electronic health record, so that patient care progress can be mapped towards goals.

What are some of the challenges you face in harnessing of big data in nursing practice?
It is so difficult to get data out of electronic health records. Although it sounds easy, it actually requires resources and the expertise of people who have the technical skills to extract data and the analytical skills to build reports.

The other big challenge is with inconsistencies in documentation and terminology, as well as documentation that is not evidence-based, which result in data that is difficult to collect and impossible to compare.

What are some of the issues that people in the nursing profession face? What kind of innovations would you like to see in this sector?
I would like to see innovation on how to bridge the gap between nursing education and practice, and to do it collectively by preparing the workforce and faculty at the same time without looking at them as two separate entities.

You have worked in this sector for over 25 years, what are some of the drastic changes you’ve seen in this sector compared to how it was a few decades ago?
Technology has moved nurses away from pen and paper methods of delivering nursing care, to being knowledge workers. It has taken some time for nurses to adapt to the way they think and integrate technology into their daily patient care, but it is now clearer than ever that automating how we deliver care is critical to the future of nursing practice.