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Last month, more than 37,000 healthcare and IT professionals descended upon Orlando, FL for the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference and Exhibition. As always, a lot of exciting news and developments were shared at the event, much of which can impact the day-to-day work of nurses.

The overall theme of the conference, and HIMSS, is working to find ways to improve healthcare through technology. Topics under this theme included:

  • Establishing healthcare terminology that can be used across all specializations
  • Mobile apps and telehealth that improve patient access to health information
  • Using mobile health to inform healthcare professionals – and save lives – around the world
  • Integration of electronic health records (EHR) among healthcare providers nationwide

 

These topics were especially visible in the exhibits displayed at the conference. Vendors in EHR technology, simulation in education and documentation provided more information than one could consume in a week.

There were other great highlights as well. Here’s a rundown of the biggest takeaways from HIMSS 2014.

 

The Workforce Survey

 

HIMSS kicked off the conference by announcing the results of the 2014 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey. The results highlighted the growing role of nurse informaticists and ways the specialization is becoming more formalized:

  • The number of respondents with a post-graduate degree in any field increased by 19 percent from the 2011 survey
  • The number with a post-graduate degree in nursing informatics or other informatics increased by 24 percent from 2011
  • The average salary for nurse informaticists increased from $98,703 in the 2011 survey to $100,717

 

Nursing Informatics Symposium

 

The first two days of the conference focused on nursing informatics. EHR technology is beginning to target what nurses need at the bedside so they can improve documentation, shift handoff and evidence-based practice.

The nursing informatics competency assessment was covered in my poster presentation “Self-Assessment of Level 3 / Level 4 NI Competencies Tool Development.” This research stood out as it directly impacts the ability of educators to stay current in informatics and better prepare nursing students.

 

Keynote Speaker

 

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a headlining speaker for the conference. She explained that during the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, patients were sent to healthcare facilities that did not have their medical history or medication. Clinton stressed the need for a national EHR system that would allow healthcare professionals to access a patient’s medical records from any facility. A national EHR system would create many career opportunities for informatics nurses, as we are the critical liaisons for hospitals as they establish these changes.

Were you able to attend the HIMSS conference? If so, what were your takeaways? If not, you can find out more by visiting the conference’s website.

The above post is by Dee McGonigle, PhD, RN, FAAN, CNE, Professor, MSN Degree Program at Chamberlain College of Nursing.

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