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HI grad student Ashley Leising

Health Informatics student’s simulation piloted by Franciscan Health

April 26, 2019

Ashley Leising’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR) project, for which she built patient records for training nurses, is currently being tested by Franciscan Health for use in their sim lab. Leising, a graduate student in Health Informatics at the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, has also been invited to deliver a presentation about her simulation project at the Epic XGM (Expert Group Meeting) Conference in May.

Leising, who has a degree in psychology and originally studied to be a nurse, is employed by Franciscan Alliance in Beech Grove as an Information Services Educator while working on her master’s degree. She gained an understanding of EMR design, build, and structure, as well as security and confidentiality, in her health informatics courses.

Nurses observing a mannikin in a hospital bed

Nurses receive hands on practice in the sim lab for various patient care skills.

Nurses listen as an instructor explains and demonstrates use of technology

The sim lab incorporates all technology used in an actual care setting, to help create the most realistic experience possible.

The simulation or “sim” lab, where nurse training is conducted, is a common practice in teaching hospitals such as Franciscan. Participants have the opportunity for hands-on experience of medical procedures before interacting with live patients. Conversely, EMR training is typically given in a didactic or classroom environment. Based on her experience, Leising recognized that nurses did not have adequate preparation for documenting care during an actual patient procedure.

Using her informatics skills, Leising worked with the sim lab supervisor and staff to develop and integrate training modules for patient code, stroke, and adverse reactions to chemo. She then evaluated nurses’ simulation performance with and without the aid of the EMR, and compared results pre- and post-training. The EMR training reduced the time for the nurse to interact with the EMR and provide better patient care, making them more efficient, Leising said.

As a result of her work, Leising was invited to present her project to the Franciscan annual nursing practice showcase, to the IS division management, and to the Chief Information Officer at Franciscan. She also submitted her project proposal to Epic, the EMR provider, which resulted in her being one of 74 submissions chosen to be presented among 40 organizations nationwide.

Leising’s project results have sparked an initiative within Franciscan Health to standardize and expand EMR and simulation integration over the next one to two years throughout  Franciscan’s 13 hospitals. Knowledge sharing through platforms such as XGM, could lead to additional adoption as a solution for many health care organizations.

Josette Jones, Ph.D., Health Informatics program director and Leising’s advisor, remarked on how Health Information Technology (HIT) has changed nursing practice for the better. In addition to safeguarding the core nursing meta-paradigm constructs of “patient, health, and nursing, HIT requires nurses to first focus on the structure and algorithm of data, information, and knowledge used by nurses and, second, capitalize on technology to support and expand care beyond the formal healthcare settings. “Nurses lack the formal training in information systems, databases, and information technology security to answer the demands HIT poses.  Health informatics professionals are well versed in those skills and competencies through their education; the collaboration and supportive functions provided by health informaticians to nurses when using HIT is a perfect fit,” Jones said.

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Joanne Lovrinic