Nurses: The Unsung Heroes Changing Healthcare

CAPT Alicia Morton, DNP, RN-BC | May 8, 2018

Nurses are the lifeblood of our healthcare system. Every day throughout the country, dedicated and compassionate nurses are having a positive impact on the health and lives of patients. But that’s not news to anyone!

What might be news to most Americans, however, is the critical role that nurses play in revolutionizing our health care system through the adoption and widespread use of technology – particularly electronic health records (EHRs). During this National Nurses Week, I want to highlight the important role nurses provide as they shepherd in the next generation of technology that promotes better, more informed patient care.

As a nurse myself, I understand that nurses are short on time and heavily tasked. I began my career as a clinical nurse, and my career has taken many interesting turns. After serving in the United States Navy I joined the United States Public Health Commissioned Corps where I was deployed during Hurricane Katrina to help with evacuation, initial triage and setting up field hospitals. My health information technology (health IT) work outside of the clinical setting began at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and I joined the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in its infancy, where I now lead the Division of Certification and Testing. The most notable area of my responsibilities today is running the ONC Health IT Certification Program.

Through my work, I always keep my clinical experiences and nursing informatics training in mind and advocate for nurses and their critical role the selection and use health IT in the course of patient care. I know all the nurses on the ONC staff also share my commitment to advocating on behalf of our nation’s nurses.

I do believe that health IT significantly improves the care delivery experience and will continue to evolve to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety of patient care. We need to hear nurses’ input and ideas in our work, because we recognize that you are the front line for making health IT truly work on a local and national level.

Health IT significantly improves the care delivery experience and will continue to evolve to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety of patient care.

Using health IT, you’re helping reduce medical errors and enhance the performance of potentially life-saving clinical decision support technologies. And you’re making it easier for patients to access their health records and be more engaged in their own health decisions.

Though you may not hear it every day as you stay late to provide patient and family education and support, finish critical documentation, or receive a new patient, the results of your hard work is critical and essential for our healthcare system. ONC joins you in taking pride in your role as a force driving this health care revolution.

Thank you for your service, and happy National Nurses Week!