By JULIE TROCCHIO
BOSTON — An innovative nursing program at Catholic Health Initiatives, showcased at the American Organization of Nurse Executives annual meeting here, pulls together electronic information about patients and nurses to help supervisors make decisions about staffing. The initiative, known as the Care Value System, shows how information technology can help improve nursing care.
The patient information used in the system focuses on patients' acuity and nursing care needs. This information is integrated with data about staff nurses — their credentials and experience. This helps administrators assign staff in a manner that is most effective and efficient.
"This is not just a software program, but a clinical program," Barbara Caspers, Englewood, Colo.-based CHI's director of nursing research and practice, said in a presentation at the nurse executives' meeting last month. "It alerts us to when patients are not progressing as expected and helps us assign caregivers best able to meet patients' unique needs."
The program also has improved internal collaboration between financial and nursing departments, she said. Leaders can see if staffing is over or under budget. For example, the system signals if nurses are approaching overtime thresholds. It also helps analyze patients' length of stay.
The results of this pilot have been impressive: cost savings from decreased overtime, improved lengths of stay for all the diagnosis-related groups studied, and improved patient satisfaction based on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey tool.
"In the new normal — which I call today's environment — data is king," said CHI Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Kathleen Sanford. She copresented with Caspers at the nurse executives' meeting. "If we don't have data we can't change nursing in the ways we know will improve care of our patients."
The Care Value System was introduced for CHI's internal use through technology developed by Cerner Clairvia, a software company specializing in health care staffing and patient management. CHI designed the standard processes with supporting technology from Cerner Clairvia.
Michael Romano, CHI's director of media relations, said the implementation of the Care Value System is one of three key initiatives to achieve CHI's nursing vision and destination goal: "To be known as a system with outstanding nursing care" and to meet CHI's business objective of increasing quality while providing cost-effective care.
Two CHI divisions piloted the Care Value System; and plans are now under way to implement it systemwide, Romano said.
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