Purpose: The purpose of the informatics shared governance council is to bring nurses voices to the decision-making table regarding technology and workflow. As the end users, nurses should have a say in how they document and interact with technology in their workplace.
Description: The shared governance structure entitles every unit to have a nurse as an elected chair that attends meetings to provide input on new projects and current enhancements while also disseminating the pertinent information back to their respective units to keep everyone up to date on changes being made. This leadership position is a two-year term that is supported by their unit with four hours of paid project time per month. The informatics council as an addition to current councils, which include advancing practice and education, quality practice and patient safety, supporting practice and management, steering, and ambulatory care, was an ask that came from leadership in the department of nursing and clinical care services.
The National Academy of Medicine (2022) noted in their national plan for health workforce well-being that electronic health records (EHRs) and inefficient workflows are among the most highly cited causes of health worker frustration and burnout. To decrease this burnout, the informatics council meets once per month for two hours as stakeholders to hear various presentations on current asks, enhancements, and changes as well as to bring their own ideas to analysts and informaticists that can help accomplish them. Ensuring that tools used to document patient information are efficient, usable, and standardized helps improve communication between providers, nurse satisfaction with the EHR, and overall nurse well-being (Rebholz, 2022).
Evaluation/outcome: Current evidence is consistent in that burden is continuing to increase while little is being done to reduce the volume of unnecessary or non-value-added data elements (Swietlik & Sengstack, 2020). Nurses who use the EHR everyday can help with decreasing this burden. For example, at University of Colorado Health, Project Joy was started to reduce required nursing documentation by including nurses who used these flowsheets every day in the project (Rebholz, 2022). Giving time back to nurses will increase their satisfaction as well as patient satisfaction. The goal of the informatics shared governance council is to provide a structure for various teams to ask the opinions of nurses before builds are completed and go-lives are implemented. This will ensure that nurses from various units including ambulatory care sites will have a say in informatics topics. A great deal of planning and preparation has gone into this council, and as it gets started, data and metrics will be measured to evaluate efficiency in documentation as well as workflow optimization.
1) National Academy of Medicine 2022. National Plan for Health Workforce Well-Being. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26744.
2) Rebholz, Tim. (2022). Epic Share. Project joy helps nurses reclaim time at the bedside. https://www.epicshare.org/share-and-learn/project-joy-helps-nurses-reclaim-time-at-the-bedside#_ftnref6
3) Swietlik, M. & Sengstack, P.P. (2020). An evaluation of nursing admission assessment documentation to identify opportunities for burden reduction. Journal of Informatics Nursing, 5(3), 6-11. https://www.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?m=43594&i=676363&p=6