For National Nurses Week, we caught up with Ron Lyse, a registered nurse serving as Manager of HIE and Integrated Systems Architecture for MemorialCare Health System in Fountain Valley, CA.
“I basically grew up in the hospital,” Ron says. His mother was a nurse, and one of Ron’s first jobs was patient transport. He later enrolled in nursing school and made the transition to health IT several years after obtaining his RN degree. “I’ve always been a computer geek at heart,” he admits. Ron’s first IT role was as a clinical analyst working on MemorialCare’s Epic implementation in 2006.
Ron’s job responsibilities these days focus mostly on interoperability. MemorialCare relies on InterSystems HealthShare to exchange clinical information and other critical data among the health system’s various facilities, as well as with community providers and ACOs: “With interfaces in place, we can embed information from across the continuum of care directly into the clinical workflow.” Ron’s goal is to make data exchange so seamless that the clinician doesn’t even know it’s happening. When things are working as they should, “the information is just there.”
Ron explains that for nurses, who often serve as a patient’s first point of contact in urgent care settings like the ER, access to a patient’s full medical history can vastly improve the triage process and ensure patient safety. “In emergency situations where patients can’t speak for themselves, access to things like medications lists, diagnoses, allergies and treatment plans can even save lives,” he says.
Ron has led a number of IT rollouts in his time at MemorialCare, and he credits his nursing background as one of the key contributors to his success. “It’s a cliché, but my ability to ‘speak clinician’ allows me to serve as translator between the clinical and IT staffs.” And even though he is no longer directly involved in patient care, he wants his colleagues to know they can take advantage of the knowledge he’s gained as a nurse. “We have color-coded badges that identify you as a clinician,” he explains. “I made sure my RN credentials were listed. It gives me instant credibility with front-line staff.”
With an eye to the future, Ron points to all the emerging sources of data and the broad range of devices on which that data needs to be available. Information from analytics solutions, alerting systems, remote monitors, sensors, and wearables, for example, will need to be integrated into the patient record and available on computers, tablets and phones. “Nurses and other clinicians will need to filter this data to determine what is usable and actionable in their practice,” he predicts.
Ron believes nurses will continue to play an integral role in the use of health IT to improve healthcare outcomes. He encourages nurses to seek out opportunities to be software superusers and join IT-related committees at their hospital or practice to get involved and build their technology skills.
Learn more about the work J2 is doing at MemorialCare.