Nurses supporting our digital health future

International nurses' day
10 May 2019

Whether at the bedside or in a boardroom, NSW Health’s nurses are making a significant difference to patient care and safety.

The state’s digital health agency, eHealth NSW, employs a number of current and former nurses in roles ranging from program managers and design governance leads to application specialists and ICT investment managers.

To mark International Nurses’ Day on 12 May, we spoke with a selection of nurses employed by eHealth NSW to learn how their frontline experience is supporting the digital transformation of Australia’s largest public health system.

Being able to help people every day influenced Alex Thompson, Program Manager for the RIS-PACS program, to train as a nurse – a job she greatly enjoyed for the difference she could make to people’s lives.

“By transitioning from nursing into the digital health space, I felt I could achieve positive outcomes for patients on a larger scale rather than just helping one person at a time,” said Alex.

Nursing gives a deep understanding of a hospital’s day-to-day operations, which eHealth NSW’s Director of ICT Investment Management Toby Mathieson said is key to understanding how digital solutions can support care delivery from emergency, to ICU, to general wards to palliative care and outpatients.

“Nurses tend to be good listeners, are trained to assess situations and understand process, which means they are well suited to system design, process analysis and also how information is used,” Toby said.

“My nursing background gives me a keen sense of the initiatives that should be pursed and have value, as well as bringing a frontline perspective to discussions on plans and priorities.”

Meredith Faggotter, Business Analyst for eHealth NSW’s Single Digital Patient Record (SDPR) initiative, said frontline nursing experience gives her an acute understanding of the needs of patients, carers and families.

“Clinicians need information that is integrated, clear, concise and at their fingertips in order to make informed and timely decisions, often in high-stress environments,” said Meredith. “Digital systems need nursing input and need to be designed thoughtfully so that they integrate into the way clinicians care for patients.”

Rosanna Mackinnon, Project Officer for eHealth NSW’s Rural Medicines Formulary project, also brings a frontline perspective to her work, having been exposed to electronic medical record (EMR) systems while studying nursing.

“As a nurse I offer a perspective around administration versus prescribing, a focus on evidence-based practice and I often think of the medicine from a patient’s perspective, such as adherence, pill burden, and ease of use,” said Rosanna.

eHealth NSW Chief Executive Dr Zoran Bolevich acknowledged the great efforts of the many nurses among eHealth NSW’s workforce.

“Nurses are absolutely integral to the smooth running of our health system and the provision of high-quality patient care,” Dr Bolevich said.

“We are proud to have built a strong, multi-disciplinary workforce here at eHealth NSW, and nurses working within our organisation are helping us to design, build and support digital systems that are used by their colleagues at the clinical coalface.

“Their efforts are helping to enhance patient care and safety for the people of NSW – and we thank them for the passion, expertise and skills they share so generously.”

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