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Technology to deliver nursing best practices at the point of care

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Unique partnership between Aurora Health Care, Cerner Corp. and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing elevates the role of nursing in the delivery of care

MILWAUKEE, Wis., Aurora Health Care, Cerner Corp. and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have announced a unique partnership that is expected to change the way nursing care is provided in hospitals and communities.

By using Cerner Millennium® architecture that shares information throughout all 13 of Aurora’s acute-care hospitals, the partnership’s goal is to enhance care, education and outcomes, by mining Aurora’s robust database of information to measure the impact of nurses on the delivery of care, while determining nursing best practices. The new partnership also leverages the expertise of Aurora and UWM’s College of Nursing faculty in nursing research and community health to develop new clinical content for nurses and make it available at their fingertips at the point of care. This new clinical content will be made available throughout Aurora Health Care and ultimately, to hospitals across the country.

“An important aspect of this partnership is that it will help define nurses’ unique contributions to patient care outcomes,” said Susan Ela, RN, Senior Clinical Vice President for Aurora. “Nurses currently draw on experiential knowledge in day-to-day clinical decision-making. This effort will enable us to evaluate the care quickly, determine what care contributes to the best results and give nurses the ability to implement best practices much sooner. Patients will benefit through improved health, and nurses will benefit by focusing their care on things that are known to lead to better outcomes.”

Here’s how the program will work: Aurora will make Cerner’s nursing information system available at its hospitals including new content for specific diseases and venues that are customized to the nurse’s workflow and co-developed by Cerner, UWM and Aurora. In addition to storing patient information, the computer system captures information on the way nurses deliver care and patient outcomes. UWM will study the data collected and identify best practices, which can be implemented throughout Aurora, and made available to other health care providers across the country that use Cerner Millennium. The content and tools should decrease care variance and standardize the way nurses deliver care for people with specific conditions.

For example, the care of congestive heart failure (CHF) involves nursing interaction across the continuum of care, from the doctor’s office to the emergency department, hospital floor, intensive care unit, and even to the home. Data regarding CHF care will be captured by the system. UWM College of Nursing researchers will study the data that is collected and determine which nursing actions have the most positive impact on clinical outcomes. This allows “best practices” to be implemented throughout the Aurora system.

Aurora is highly regarded for its community health and teleservices programs that keep patients on the right track as they leave the hospital and manage their disease at home. The researchers will help develop content to support the nurse’s role in patient education around CHF before discharge and post-discharge follow-up. More effective and standardized clinical discharge instructions and follow-up might lower incidence readmission rates and improve the quality of life for patients.

This is what is called “translational research” – a method that takes research and moves it immediately into the hands of the provider.

“Much of the work that nurses do – educating patients about their condition, coordinating care with other medical and social agencies, helping families/patients deal with stress, and promoting preventive care – isn't captured in current patient records systems,” said Sally Lundeen, dean of UWM’s College of Nursing. “By developing ways of better capturing information on what nurses are doing, researchers will be able to make links between the work of nurses and the outcomes for patients.”

Aurora is the first integrated health care system in the nation to use the Cerner system in this context. The process quickly provides nurses information that enhances their role in patient care. It reduces time spent on paperwork and gives nurses more time for direct patient care.

“This is a unique collaboration between corporate, health care and academic worlds to promote adoption of nursing standards and improve patient care,” said Paul N. Gorup, co-founder and senior vice president of Cerner, a Kansas City, Mo.-based company and a leading supplier of health care technology worldwide.

Aurora’s national leadership in health care, broad patient population and robust deployment of Cerner systems coupled with UWM’s expertise in nursing processes and community health will allow us to quickly deploy nursing best practices and close the loop by measuring outcomes and driving new knowledge into the care process,” said Gorup.

Norma Lang, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN, will lead the research effort as a UWM visiting research professor. A former dean at the College of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as at UWM, Dr. Lang is internationally known for establishing the Lang model, which measures nursing quality, and has been honored by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations with the prestigious Codman Award for championing the use of outcomes to improve patient care. Dr. Lang earned her BSN from Alverno College, and a master’s degree in nursing and a doctorate in educational administration and curriculum at Marquette University.

“At Aurora, we strive to provide the best possible care, combining technology, skill and compassion. Our nurses are proud to be among the leaders in a project that will greatly advance the quality of nursing and the measurement of patient outcomes,” Ela said.

Cerner Corp. is taking the paper chart out of health care, eliminating error, variance and waste in the care process. With more than 1,500 clients worldwide, Cerner is the leading supplier of health care information technology. The following are trademarks of Cerner: Cerner, Cerner’s logo, Cerner Millennium. Nasdaq: CERN,

The UWM College of Nursing has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report among the top 10% of graduate schools of nursing nationally. UWM faculty have received numerous grants for nursing research including grants from the National Institute of Health, Department of Health and Human Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

Sally Lundeen, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (414) 229-4189
Ron Irwin, Aurora Health Care (414) 647-3405
Justin Scott, Cerner Corp. (816) 201-6438

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