Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Back to School: Tiger and the VLE. Why Faculty Need to Access This Site

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Back to School: Tiger and the VLE. Why Faculty Need to Access This Site

Article excerpt

The world of health care is becoming more dependent on health information technology (HIT) tools. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) of 2009 was designed to promote and expand the adoption of health information technologies. One component focused on ensuring that all health care entities adopt interoperable electronic health care records (EHRs), and criteria were established to ensure that all health care providers would become meaningful users of EHRs and other HIT tools.

These meaningful use criteria are tied to national patient safety and quality initiatives and progress across three stages. At each stage, the hospital, clinic, or private physician office must demonstrate how criteria were met by generating and sending reports, exchanging data electronically, or by attestation. With each stage, additional criteria are required to maximize the use of EHRs for the provision of efficient, effective, safe, and quality care. The criteria also focus on the engagement of patients and consumers in their health care. As meaningful use progresses through each stage, the goal is for more patients to have the ability to access and read their EHRs while also adding data they generate, such as daily glucose readings.

In tandem with federal initiatives, the competencies expected for nursing students at all levels now include information management and informatics outcomes. The QSEN initiative (Cronenwett, Sherwood, & Gelmon, 2009), the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials (2008), and the National League for Nursing's outcomes and competencies framework (2010) emphasize the importance of the integration of informatics competencies. But do we have a cadre of nurse faculty who are knowledgeable about informatics who can begin to integrate content into the nursing curriculum to meet these outcome competencies? My sense, from talking with faculty across the United States, is that many schools of nursing are struggling. Many do not have resources to help faculty integrate informatics into the curriculum. In my view, informatics must be woven into the curriculum. Having a separate course will not foster the concept of informatics as an integral and essential component of the health care system and the entire health care experience.

What options do schools of nursing have? One new option is now available from the TIGER (Technology Informatics Guiding Educational Reform) initiative. As many of you know, TIGER was a grassroots movement started in 2004 when the secretary of health and human services established the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The first phase of TIGER culminated in an invitational summit in which leaders from specialty organizations came together to chart a short- and long-term vision of how we would prepare nurses to work in a consumer-centric information-technology-intensive health care environment. The second phase focused on creating action plans.

The third phase of TIGER saw the creation of the TIGER Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), a web-based learning platform designed by an interprofessional health care team to provide access to knowledge about informatics and allow for interactions with the informatics community. As noted on the VLE webpage, "The internet-based format provides convenience, flexibility, dynamic content and real-time accessibility to relevant information through webinars by industry experts, in-depth education sessions, demonstrations, smart rooms, simulations, white papers, and other communications." The target audience is clinicians working in health care, faculty and students, administrators, and any health care professional who wants to learn and develop knowledge, skills, and awareness of technology and informatics. By increasing one's knowledge of HIT and informatics, a clinician can contribute to creating a safer, more effective, efficient, timely, patient-centered, and equitable health care system. …

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