The benefits of having a nurse-leader on a team implementing health IT:
- Clinical expertise: A nurse leader is a valuable asset to the implementation teams. She brings clinical knowledge that’s essential for designing, implementing, and maintaining health IT systems which support efficient and safe patient care.
- User perspective: Since nurses are usually the first users of technology in health, it is important to involve a nurse leader who can ensure that technology meets their needs, aligns itself with nursing workflows, and follows the processes and procedures of the profession.
- Communication Skills: Nursing professionals are excellent communicators. They can communicate effectively with other members of the healthcare team including doctors, administrators and healthcare professionals. Nurse leaders can help bridge the gap in communication between technical staff and the clinical team, encouraging collaboration and communication.
- Change management: Because nurses are skilled in handling change, they can ensure that health information technologies are seamlessly integrated into healthcare environments. Nurse leaders are also able to provide staff with education and training in order to encourage adoption of and effective usage of technology.
The challenges of including a nurse as a leader in implementing health IT:
- Time constraints: Many nurses are busy in their clinical work, but being part of the team that implements software can add more to this workload. This leads to time restrictions and conflicting demands.
- The nurse leader may not possess the technical skills required to successfully implement the health information systems. This may mean that they need to receive additional training or assistance to make a positive contribution to the team.
- Staff may be resistant to change. The introduction of Health Information Technology can disrupt clinical workflows and cause some resistance from staff. To overcome staff resistance, nurse leaders will need to discuss concerns with them and highlight the advantages of technology.
- Coordination challenges: the implementation team could consist of multiple members, with each having their own objectives and goals. The nurse leader may have to collaborate closely with team members in order to align the implementation with the goals and objectives of the organization.
A nurse leader can be a valuable asset to a team implementing health IT. They bring clinical knowledge, an understanding of the user, good communication and skills in change management. Nevertheless, challenges may arise due to the time constraint, lack of technical expertise, resistance towards change and issues with coordination.