The Importance of Interoperability in Nursing
Featuring Susan Niemeier, MHA, BSN, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, Ivenix: Featured in The Daily Nurse, 11/17/20
Communication of all kinds is especially important in nursing. But this isn’t limited to conversations between nurses and patients, family, or staff. Another crucial form of communication is interoperability—when different technologies can communicate with each other.
Susan Niemeier, MHA, BSN, RN, is the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) with Ivenix, Inc., a new infusion pump company whose vision is to eliminate infusion-related patient harm. “I guide our overall clinical direction and oversee its marketing and product efforts, working closely with the research and development teams,” Niemeier explains.
Niemeier, who has more than 25 years of experience in health care, took time to answer our questions about interoperability.
Please explain what interoperability is.
In its truest—and broadest—definition, interoperability is the ability to share information across multiple technologies. By ensuring that technologies work together, data is able to flow throughout and across the health system. When information flows freely and functions seamlessly, nurses are equipped to make smart decisions and achieve the best outcome for their patients. When done well, interoperability can lead to a new level of health care—a crucial step in optimizing quality of care.
How does interoperability matter in health care?
When health systems, devices, and applications seamlessly share information, nurses can make smart decisions about a patient’s care. Having a holistic view of this information provides insights to make crucial—and sometimes lifesaving—clinical decisions and adjustments earlier in the treatment process.
Interoperability also brings together critical patient information (i.e., medical and medication history, comorbidities, lab evaluations, etc.) from various sources. Nurses do not have to synthesize the information themselves, which is inefficient, error-prone, and limiting. Instead, they can spend more of their time caring for patients.
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