Greater KC Insight

HIMSS 7 Journey: A quest that provides growth

by Andrea Hall and Christina Hiatt


As a department leader, you think you have an idea of what goes on in your facility.  You have meetings where you discuss how things should work, and dream up beautiful patient care scenarios where relaxed nurses take care of patients participating in their care.  You imagine them referencing their EMR often, abandoning all pieces of paper years before and utilizing the EMR as their “ultimate source of truth.”  Then you start a HIMSS 7 Journey, hoping to showcase your beautiful facility and their complete adoption of a paperless world where they utilize data to drive outcomes.  And you realize how far off you were.  


HIMSS 7: Why do we care...
Because our patients come first. HIMSS stage 7 is awarded to institutions with a complete EMR and who use data to improve patient care.  Stage 7 hospitals use a mixture of discrete data, and medical images within the EMR to drive their patient outcomes. They share their data through standardized electronic transactions, and embrace positive patient identification with things like medication and blood product scanning. While a bedside nurse may struggle with the why behind a certification, they never struggle with why behind better patient care.

When you find a gap in your EMR…
To prepare for HIMSS stage 7, mock surveys are conducted throughout the hospital.  The staff we encountered could speak to the EMR, but could also speak to their paper processes and the why behind them.  They spoke to quality initiatives, their roles and how they impacted patient care.  They also talked about processes we had no idea were on paper.  Things we had never even thought of.  Instead of problem solving and panicking, we listened.  They were right.  There are gaps in our EMR that were completely overlooked. We provided quick wins but also uncovered some new projects.

Don’t stop believin’…
On this journey , we learned that our staff does more than we imagined. They make thousands of decisions every day in which they put patients first. They want to do the right thing.  While technology is an aid to them, their role is at the bedside providing care in times of need.  Somewhere along the way we forgot that part.  Even as informatics nurses we get too disconnected.  As we approach our survey we have learned so much about ourselves, about our staff and about how far our technology has come.  We encourage you all to engage on current state reflection.  Put away your fancy new projects and technologies.  Go out and visit how far you have come.