Nurse Informaticists Address Texas Ebola Case, EHR Design Questions

By Susan McBride, PhD, RN-BC, CPHIMS, professor and program director of the Masters in Nursing Informatics Program, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and Mari Tietze, PhD, RN-BC, FHIMSS, associate professor and director, Interprofessional Health IT Program at Texas Woman’s University (TWU). The views expressed are those of the authors and don’t represent those of Texas Tech or TWU.

Silo_-_height_extension_by_adding_hoops_and_staves EHRs: information ‘siloes’ or interprofessional collaboration?

The recent Ebola case in Dallas—in which a patient was admitted to the hospital three days after he visited the ER exhibiting symptoms associated with Ebola and reporting that he’d recently traveled from West Africa—brought this global public health story close to home for many of us residing in the area. As has been widely reported, the patient died last week after nearly 10 days in the hospital.

An initial focus of media coverage was the suggestion that a failure of nursing communication had contributed to the release of the patient from the hospital on his first visit. Partly reflecting evolving explanations offered by the hospital, the media focus then shifted to a potential flaw in the hospital’s electronic health record (EHR) system, in which information recorded by a nurse about the patient’s travel history might not have been visible to physicians as well. […]

Nurses Under Fire: Cleared in Texas, Embattled in California

By Shawn Kennedy, interim editor-in-chief

By now you’ve probably heard that last Thursday Anne Mitchell, the Texas nurse who found herself fired from her job and on trial after reporting a physician for what she felt was poor medical practice (see our report in the October 2009 issue) was found not guilty (her colleague, Vicki Galle, had her case dismissed prior to trial). It only took the jury about an hour to exonerate Mitchell of criminal charges and uphold her right to advocate for patients. (Day-by-day reports from the trial were made available on the Texas Nurses Association  (TNA) Web site.)

The case garnered national attention—at its core was a nurse’s right (duty, really) to safeguard patients in her or his care. It seemed a no-brainer, and almost incredible that the case even came to trial. Last Friday, I spoke with TNA president Susan Sportsman, PhD, RN, who agreed, saying she was surprised the case went forward, especially after the state medical board agreed that what the nurses did was appropriate. Sportsman said, “This is the role of nurses—it’s required that we report what we see to safeguard patients. This nurse was just doing her job, what she was supposed to do.”

Like nurses everywhere, Sportsman was “delighted and ecstatic” about the verdict. Sportsman noted a guilty verdict would have discouraged nurses and others from coming forward about poor care out of fear of losing their jobs and facing prosecution.  Perhaps […]

February 16th, 2010|Nursing|4 Comments