Celebrating National Nurses Week 2014

Judy Murphy | May 5, 2014

As a nurse, I am excited to kick off National Nurses Week at the ONC with this post.  Nurses have always played a special role in health care, and no year has highlighted that more than this one.  Today, nurses are found in inimitable roles throughout the health care continuum, often serving as the coordinator of care.  This is true in health IT as well – nurses are often found coordinating IT projects and playing pivotal roles in its adoption and use.

To celebrate the breadth and depth of nursing informatics roles, I’d like to introduce you to the nursing informatics team here at ONC.  In addition to myself, there are 8 nurses at ONC in varying roles, each with different passions, but all united in supporting the transformation of health care through the use of technology.  Each of these nurses has enriched ONC by bringing her unique background and taking on a public service role to facilitate the health IT journey in our nation.

Let’s meet the ONC nurses (in no particular order since they are all awesome)!

  • Helen Caton-Peters MSN, RN.  Helen works in the Office of the Chief Privacy Officer as a Health Information Privacy-Security Specialist providing guidance and expertise on privacy and security matters impacting trust and adoption of health IT.  She collaborates with ONC colleagues, across federal agencies and with stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to address policy and technical questions.  Her work includes mobile health device and application security, and health-data exchange with an emphasis on behavioral health.  She serves as the Standards and Interoperability (S&I) Framework Privacy Lead for the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Initiative, supports the Federal Advisory Committee (FACA) privacy and security workgroup, and participates in meaningful use privacy and security policy development. 
  • Wanda Govan-Jenkins, DNP, MBA, RNSince Wanda’s tour began with ONC in 2011, she has built solid relationships with over 50 EHR vendors through the development and use of the EHR Vendor Portal.  Wanda leads the EHR implementation “Barriers Resolution” project, which involves identifying, summarizing and sharing resolutions to implementation barriers across the regional extension centers (RECs).  She serves as a Project Officer for 8 RECs, and has helped them achieve their milestones and achieve meaningful use targets.  Wanda also was chairperson of one of the panels in the round 2 selection process for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) Health Care Innovation Awards. 
  • Patricia Greim, RN MS.  Patricia serves as a Health Scientist in the Standards Division, in ONC’s Office of Science and Technology.  For the past 10 years, she has applied knowledge gained from nursing vocabularies to the terminology and standards that are foundational for interoperable health records.  She builds coalitions in the standards development organizations to make electronic health information available whenever and wherever patients choose to receive care. 
  • Liz Palena Hall, RN, MIS, MBA.  Liz is ONC’s Long-Term and Post-Acute Care (LTPAC) Coordinator.  In this role she coordinates LTPAC efforts across ONC offices, HHS, and other federal agencies with a primary focus on advancing interoperability and care coordination across care settings, including inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term acute-care hospitals, nursing homes, home health, hospice, and community-based long-term services and supports.  A key component of this role is supporting ONC’s efforts related to voluntary health IT certification for LTPAC and behavioral health software products. 
  • Ellen Makar, MSN, RN-BC, CCM, CPHIMS, CENP.  As Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Consumer eHealth (OCeH), Ellen promotes the adoption of consumer-focused health IT solutions to meet the three part aim of better health, better health care and lower cost.  This includes activities to improve nationwide access, action and attitudes toward the use of health IT, with a primary focus on engaging consumers and catalyzing providers and health data holders to advance consumer engagement.  Ellen has particular interest in advocating for thoughtful health IT solutions that aid the direct care team and enable those closest to the patient whose work can be made more effective, efficient and rewarding through the best applications of health IT. 
  • Commander Alicia Morton, DNP, RN-BC.  CDR Morton is the “original” ONC nurse, having been part of ONC since its inception in 2004.  As such, she has served in many roles and various offices.  She has helped to advance electronic health record certification, standards development, workforce development and clinical decision support activities.  Most recently, CDR Morton successfully led the S&I Framework’s Health eDecisions initiative and is now the ONC lead on its follow-up initiative, the Clinical Quality Framework. 
  • LaVerne Perlie, MSN, BSN, RN.  LaVerne serves as Senior Nurse Consultant in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer.  She leads, coordinates, and implements federal health IT policy, program, and contract management across the domains of Health IT Adoption, Patient Safety, Care Coordination, and Electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQM) specification.  She was Project Officer for the Meaningful Use and Adoption & Implementation Communities of Practice, LTPAC Care Coordination tool development, and REC training.  LaVerne helped establish the ONC/ANIA (American Nursing Informatics Association) quarterly webinar series; providing education by ONC nurses to ANIA members and other nurses.
  • Jamie Skipper, RN, PhD.  Jamie works with our federal and non-federal partners to develop strategies for expanding our national health data infrastructure to support patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR).  The aim is to support the development of a learning health system, so that health data can be securely exchanged and used in a way that allows our health system to constantly be learning.  She helps develop the standards and research protocols to support the practice of evidence-based and evidence-generating care that leads to patients fully realizing their desired health outcomes.

Each day during Nurses Week, we will highlight another nursing informatics story through guest blog posts here on ONC’s Health IT Buzz blog.  Please come back each day to check out the highlighted posts and learn more about the power of health IT in nurses’ hands.

I will end with a big thank you to all nurses for what they do every day to make the world better for those seeking health and health care.  And I especially thank the nurses at ONC for their commitment to our agency and their service to our nation.

As part of National Nurses Week, ONC will be hosting a webinar, “Ten Ways to Maximize Use of Technology: For You and Your Patients,” Tuesday, May 6, from 2 to 3 PM EDT. The webinar will provide practical tips to advance skills and provide knowledge to help nurses take advantage of the potential that health IT has to offer in improving care delivery.

Have a wonderful Nurses Week!