By Angel Hoffman, RN, MSN
Today, there are many individuals talking about big data and precision medicine, while wondering what this all means to the future of health care. Topics which emerge are health and wellness and you may as well add preventative care to the list as well. However, these are not new terms to those who have been in the health care industry for more than thirty years.
Nursing programs taught about preventative care and wellness, but then Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs) were launched and a whole new way of thinking changed the way business and reimbursement were conducted. There was an emphasis on disease management and cancer centers sprung up all over the country. Significant strides in medical advancement and technology contributed to improved outcomes. Joint replacements and cardiac surgery became somewhat routine and the cost of health care continued to rise.
Perhaps, this is a new day of “putting it all together” with preventative care and wellness, connected to medical advances and technology to improve outcomes and decrease costs. Hence, the birth of “learning health systems” makes its debut. As a nation, we are looking at a national learning health system and working with the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC). Learning health systems will incorporate data from multiple entry points including health information exchanges (HIEs) as well as personal data from wearable mobile devices. Individuals will have an opportunity to be directly involved with managing their own health, even more than they currently are today, by incorporating data from multiple sites.
Health care providers will also be looking at ways to use predictive analytics to improve outcomes and encourage wellness in individuals. The Learning Health Community has established the Governance and Policy Framework Initiative as a complement to the Essential Standards to Enable Learning Initiative (ESTEL). There are multiple individuals contributing to this work, both clinical and non-clinical. In the midst, are the nurses and there are several which have been working toward this with members of ONC.
One thing which has remained throughout the years and is still true today, is that no matter what changes occur in health care, NURSES are at the center of the care with the patient. Who are the nurses? They are a large group of dedicated professionals who put their patients first. They are constantly learning new information, applying it to the situation at hand and contributing to the future of health care. Nurses are forever watchful and interpreting subtle as well as obvious changes in patient conditions. They use their assessment skills in conjunction with the available technology, which is often referred to as the Science of Nursing. However, the Art of Nursing is about the human spirit and the use of the sense of touch. This combination of skills is what makes nurses key to decisions which involve health care. It is the “caring” within health care which contributes to positive outcomes.
Let’s celebrate nurses this week, as we continue to move forward. Happy Nurses’ Week to a group that is a valuable commodity!
Angel Hoffman, RN, MSN, is a principal and owner of Advanced Partners in Health Care Compliance, LLC. For more information, visit