A year ago, more than one hundred nursing leaders representing seventy organizations met to define a unified, collective vision for the future, one that bridges the quality chasm using information technology. On November 1, 2006, the Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) Summit participants defined action steps that the nursing profession can take to better prepare our nursing workforce to use technology and informatics with the goal of improving the delivery of patient care. Today a practicing nurse’s portfolio of necessary skills includes computer literacy, information literacy, and informatics skills. The TIGER Initiative is focused on helping the nursing profession to adopt informatics tools, principles, theories, and practices that make healthcare safer and more effective, efficient, patient-centered, and equitable for all stakeholders. The executive summary report and recommendations from the TIGER Summit are available online at www.tigersummit.com.
While the TIGER Initiative started out as a grass-roots effort to engage all stakeholders who are committed to a common “vision” of an ideal electronic health record (EHR) for nursing practice, today more than 120 diverse organizations are joining this effort. While the original 70 organizations that attended the Summit work towards completing their strategic action plans, additional nursing professionals have joined the TIGER Initiative to collaborate on nine important topics. These nine topics include:
- Standards and Interoperability
- Healthcare Information Technology National Agenda/Policy
- Informatics Competencies
- Education and Faculty Development
- Staff Development/Continuing Education
- Usability/Clinical Application Design
- Virtual Demonstration Center
- Leadership Development
- Consumer Empowerment/Personal Health Record
As of this writing, 280 nurses have volunteered their expertise to work on the nine collaborative teams.
Each collaborative team is lead by an industry expert on the specific topic. The goal of each collaborative team is to share their findings and recommendations with all practicing nurses and nursing students through targeted outreach activities. Examples of the materials that the collaborative teams are developing include presentations, white papers, webinars, and articles for publication in specialty journals and textbooks.
The diverse background of the nurses participating in this initiative is unparalleled. Participants represent the interests of nursing professional organizations, nursing informatics organizations, government agencies, information technology vendors, industry partners, non-profit organizations, healthcare provider organizations, and academic institutions. Together these teams are reaching out to gather case studies, examples of innovative practice and education models, publications, and ongoing research programs that represent a diversity of nursing professionals both in educational preparation and practice experiences. These teams are concurrently developing mechanisms to enhance collaboration between professional organizations, government and policy-making agencies, and industry partners to specifically address the educational needs of the nursing workforce so they can better use technology to improve the delivery of patient care.
Why are so many nursing leaders on board with the TIGER Initiative? There has never been a better opportunity for nursing to lead the effort to reform our healthcare delivery system using technology as the enabler and the bridge to do so. Technology is also the enabler facilitating the collaborative effort of these teams. These teams are meeting via web-enabled meetings, sharing documents via wikis and SharePoint®-enabled websites, and conducting audio conference calls that are recorded if not all team members can attend the meetings. The outcomes of each of the collaborative teams will be available for distribution through a variety of electronic and multi-media delivery mechanisms. The collaborative teams have already established their topic-specific goals and are organizing smaller work groups to accelerate the achievement of their outcomes. It is not too late to roll up your sleeves and joint this effort! Instructions are provided after each collaborative team description. If you have feedback or questions related to the TIGER Initiative and/or the ways in which you can become an active proponent of this program, please contact the Program Director, Donna DuLong, at the email address below.
Donna DuLong, RN, BSN
Donna DuLong is the Program Director of the Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) Initiative. Donna has worked in the healthcare information technology industry for 17 years, focusing primarily on nursing-based, information-technology solutions related to patient safety, medication management, and evidence-based knowledge. At the TIGER Initiative, Donna coordinates the efforts of the nine collaborative teams and the participating organizations towards achieving the three-year action plan that was defined at the TIGER Summit. Donna has held several executive management positions in the healthcare information technology market with responsibilities for business development, product development and management, marketing, compliance, implementation, and customer support. Donna has worked with numerous Health Information Systems vendors including Thomson Healthcare, HBOC/McKesson, Pyxis Corporation, Multum Information Services, Cerner, Bridge Medical, and Medvantx. Donna holds a baccalaureate degree in nursing from Michigan State University. She has completed graduate work in nursing and business at the University of San Diego, and has worked for seven years in critical care nursing.