Nurses comprise the largest share of end users of the electronic health record (EHR). All the more reason, then, to involve this group in the implementation process to help shape the final product. This is exactly what Belgian hospital Ziekenhuis Geel did, which started using the EHR HiX at the end of January 2021. This article explains how end users can contribute to a comprehensive IT solution tailored to their actual work processes.
Ann Mertens is nurse manager of the Cardiology department at Ziekenhuis Geel. At the start of the implementation process, she committed herself to be actively involved in shaping and configuring the nursing record in HiX. She was able to use her experience in ensuring that the nursing care processes were optimally supported by HiX. She tells us more about her role in the shaping process of the EHR.
EHR tailored to the nursing staff
'When I, as head of the nursing staff, was asked to work on the EHR project, I immediately accepted. If we were going to make changes, I wanted to be there from the start. I provided input from my perspective for the configuration of the nursing record. This enabled me to make sure that my colleagues and I would be getting efficient, user-friendly solutions. As end user, I was able to offer suggestions and share my views – not self-evident, but definitely important.'
Efficient care processes within a single record.
'The go-live of the new, standardised EHR in Ziekenhuis Geel was a huge change for our entire organisation. Before, we would use different applications in the hospital, which meant we did not have access to the same information. As nurses, for example, we were not able to view all of the patient's appointments in our record. Now that all departments work within a single, large record, sharing information has become much easier. Certain implantable objects or devices, for example, are now directly registered in HiX on the Emergency Department. When the patient arrives at our department, we can immediately see if the patient has for example a urinary catheter, where the catheter is located, et cetera.'
A clearer nursing process
'The nursing care process has become much clearer and more organised. When we join the physician on a ward round, we can now see all the necessary information on the task list: notes from the physiotherapist, the latest lab values, the most recent parameters, fluid intake and output. It provides a complete overview of the patient's condition. As a nurse, I can simultaneously make my reports, without having to close screens and open different parts of the patient record. This makes our work easier and helps us in providing care, which we can adapt to the latest findings.'
Continuous innovation and improvement
'Caring for the patient is always the number one priority; any documentation and administrative work comes afterwards. Our patients will not notice any immediate changes from the switch to HiX. They will in the future, however, when we will be able to offer documents such as questionnaires to complete digitally, via an online portal. That would be a major step forward.
Both healthcare and the world of IT are in a constant state of change and development. Software solutions are continuously adapting and expanding. And with good reason: there is always room for improvement. We are able to weigh in on the finished product by offering feedback and suggestions.'