In the last 50 years, medical roles have evolved with the use of technology to the point they are now a fluid part of our practice. Nurses are required under the scope of practice to innovate. With innovation in mind, the American Nursing Association collaborations are key, using the framework of “cultivate and inspire future nurse innovators, ignite nursing innovation, and highlight and celebrate nursing innovation.” American nurses use positive patient outcomes and fulfill obligations to society, while the NHS has “The Code” for nurses, preserving the patients’ dignity with the focus on the promotion of human rights. The NHS has created the “NHS Innovation Accelerator” to address evidence-based innovation. The accelerator matures innovative concepts through knowledge sharing and support. In Finland, healthcare professionals have an extensive Health Care Professionals Act which first and foremost promotes the safety of patients and strives to improve the quality of health care services. Still in Finland, Sitra, an innovation fund fostering healthcare innovation and the Ouluhealth innovation ecosystems bring together academics and industry professionals through public-private partnerships. Innovation via health tech is about tools to make healthcare professionals and patient care more efficiently but most importantly keeping a patient’s dignity, safety and positive health outcomes intact.
The daily practice of a healthcare professional is shifting towards collaboration and an innovative mindset. The first ethos is patient safety, dignity, best outcomes and quality of care. There is a shift from chronic treatment to preemptive care; addressing the cause of mental health, social needs, and community support. The innovation of “how we care for each other” is in constant flux. Communication among nurses, doctors, and patients has moved to email, video conferencing and mHealth.
When innovation is driven from within, it typically has longer lasting effects. Doctors and nurses are creating and driving innovation inside their practice and out to the global community. The World Health Organization reports that (WHO, 2013), “29 million nurses and midwives in the world, with 3.9 million of those individuals in the United States.” The nursing community is the largest group in health care and on the forefront of using all health technology tools. The nurse innovates, designing, creating and participating in the experience. Nurses are the last line of defense for education, safety, and quality for all tools used on patients. With new vital sign machines, sonogram/ultrasound, and telemedicine connected devices; nurses must understand the design to ensure best patient outcomes, quality, and safety. Healthcare professionals are working with less staff and the goal is for the tools to improve clinical workflow and shift the patient experience to a collaboration.
The WHO states: “there is a global shortage of health workers, in particular nurses and midwives, who represent more than 50% of the current shortage in health workers.” This means each nurse and doctor must shift to being mini chief information officers and understand the security of new health tech tools. Healthcare professional across the board have folded innovation and informatics into their daily practice. The focus must come from within healthcare professionals to design, create and collaborate with patients on focused education. In Helsinki, doctors and nurses can come to a global forum to discuss next steps to curate ideas, innovate, and collaborate on how to innovate while championing human rights, quality of care with the best outcomes for all global citizens.
DANIELLE SIARRI, MSN, RN
Nurse Informatics Specialist and Health IT Advisor