Digital tools help free up nurses for more patient care

Chief nursing officer: Better experiences for patients & nurses may mean ‘breaking some traditions’

Digital tools help free up nurses for more patient care

Sanford Health chief nursing officer Erica DeBoer recently participated in a national roundtable discussion that addressed digital transformation and resilience within the health care industry.

As part of an event created by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), DeBoer was part of a discussion that included informatics nursing leaders and explored innovative ways that technology can help build a sustainable health care workforce.

Tech lightens administrative load

HIMSS is an organization committed to using information and technology to improve health care. At its most recent conference in Orlando, Florida, DeBoer talked about how Sanford Health has moved forward with automation that can streamline workflows and lead directly to better care for patients.

“How do we get smarter about how we do our work? I was able to highlight several different things that our Sanford teams are engaged in and involved with,” DeBoer said. “It was a discussion around how we continue to elevate and understand how to make sure that our nurses can stay resilient, as well as how we use automation — how we use A.I. (augmented intelligence) to really help us actually take care of our patients more effectively in the future.”

Among the main points at the roundtable:

  • Deploying a data-driven approach to manage clinical workforce scheduling and staffing
  • Leveraging technology to improve patient care and empower nurses to do their most fulfilling work
  • Developing new approaches to patient care that improve the patient experience and support nurses

“I was able to share some of the work we’re using A.I. for that specifically relates to staffing and scheduling,” DeBoer said. “We’ve been able to reduce waste and improve workflow so that we can concentrate on patient care.”

Addressing future of health care

Representing Sanford gave DeBoer an opportunity to talk about accomplishments and hear how others in health care are taking on some of the same obstacles. It was an attempt to define areas of concern and provide fresh solutions.

“The thing that stood out the most was that all of us are being challenged by very similar issues,” DeBoer said. “When we think about our workforce, when we think about the shortages coming in the future, it’s really forcing us to think about how we do our work differently, which will mean breaking some traditions that we currently hold.”

In many cases, the conversations at the HIMSS conference were a reminder that Sanford’s efforts are at the forefront in addressing the future of health care. Those attending the roundtable heard about how Sanford is setting the stage for being able to take care of patients in new ways, particularly within rural communities.

“It’s incredible to look at all the things we’ve accomplished,” DeBoer said. “Sometimes when we attend a conference like this we realize how blessed we are and how really far ahead we are. We really are thought leaders in a lot of the work we’re doing.”

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Posted In Innovations, Leadership in Health Care, Nursing and Nursing Support, Virtual Care, Workplace Health