Nurses must play a leading role in all aspects of digital healthcare to ensure technology is used for the benefit of the care recipient, professional bodies say.
The Australian College of Nursing, HISA and Nursing Informatics Australia are seeking feedback on a joint draft position paper outlining the importance of nursing informatics and the role of nurses in digitally transforming healthcare.
It has been developed following the widespread adoption of digital health technologies and aims to recognise the role of nurses in the successful planning and use of these technologies.
HISA chief Dr Louise Schaper said informatics was about deriving value from information and that aged care nurses played a key leadership role in capturing the clinical information of care that could lead to better outcomes.
“Those roles and their importance need to be acknowledged,” Dr Schaper told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“We are looking at shaping the current and future roles for nurses in Australian healthcare and that includes aged care.”
The paper calls for a nurse executive within each organisation to have responsibility for nursing informatics and for nurses to be a partner in decision making around the use of digital healthcare technology for clinical, management, education and research.
It also calls for informatics education to be included in all university nursing programs and training for all nursing staff when they start a job or when new systems are introduced.
“We would like to see a nursing workforce that is able to navigate the digital health landscape on behalf of the nursing profession and their patients,” said Dr Schaper.
The paper highlights some key issues including not enough nurses being included in all stages of health information technology – from design and planning to implementation and evaluation.
Dr Schaper said they were keen to hear from organisations and individuals in the aged care sector about the issues the nursing workforce was dealing with, the way information was managed and the role that nurses played.
Call for digital health support for aged care providers
Aged and Community Services Australia CEO Pat Sparrow agreed informatics was important for a modern healthcare system and welcomed nursing organisations having a closer examination of their role in this area.
For the government’s Digital Health Strategy to improve outcomes and innovation for healthcare in Australia, all the different areas – acute care, aged care, GPs and pharmacy – and their different platforms needed to communicate with one another and staff had to be equipped to use the systems.
“We appreciate the significant role nurses will play in assisting consumers in aged care interact with My Health Record,” Ms Sparrow told AAA.
“We believe there should be resourcing support for aged care providers to help them assist consumers to sign up and implement My Health Records processes and ensure staff, including registered nurses, are equipped to manage the new systems.”
The consultation has been extended to Friday 21 April. Organisations can request a further extension by emailing HISA, Dr Schaper said.
Access the paper and feedback tools here.
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