Past Meetings

Technologies to Address Staffing in Nursing

10/17/03  Back

Health TechNet’s October meeting began with announcements regarding the progress of the Health Tech Net finance committee and a summary of currently pending Medicare Reform from The Honorable Richard S. Schweiker (former DHHS Secretary). 

The finance committee’s most recent meeting addressed specific ways it could fulfill its mission of helping Health TechNet members find and utilize resources for venture capital. The committee identified three increasingly ambitious activities as means of fulfilling this mission. First, the committee will find information regarding resources for finding investment capital and post it on the Health TechNet website. Second, the committee will offer to be a focus group to which members can make mock presentations describing their company and their capital financing needs and receive constructive feedback. Finally, over the long term, the committee will attempt to become involved at a strategic and policy making level to attract investment capital and resources to the region.

Secretary Schweiker gave a very comprehensive and insightful explanation of the complexities of the Medicare Reform Conference Committee deliberations. He identified several key issues, such as means testing and unlimited regional competition among Medicare + Choice plans, that are contentious enough to hinder final passage. He told the group that at this point, no predictions can be made as to whether a final bill will pass, because there are so many extremely controversial issues yet to be resolved and the climate among the various political factions is so tense.

Next, Steve Dodd of Ecognito presented his company’s identity theft solutions for e-commerce. He explained that identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States, which occurs, despite personal vigilance, when institutional holders of confidential informatiion are careless with personal data. Ecognito is dedicated to protecting personal data even when others with whom it is shared are not. According to Mr. Dodd, twenty percent of identity theft involves medical information databases. Importantly, Ecognito is HIPAA compliant. To learn more about Ecognito’s capabilities, contact Mr. Dodd at

The week’s feature presentation was “Technologies to Address Staffing in Nursing.” Brian Gugerty, Dr. Anura DeSilva, and John Milligan all made presentations regarding this issue.

Brian Gugerty, DNS, RN spoke regarding Nursing Informatics. He explained that the primary goal for technology in nursing is to decrease nursing demand. Trends in information technology tailored to this goal include the electronic health record, as well as standardized terminologies and languages. The main issue with regard to implementation of these and related technologies is not expense, but culture. If these technologies do not fit into a nurse’s routine, they will not be utilized. So the focus must be on the clinical and administrative side of nursing. He said intelligent scheduling and staffing systems are as important as clinical applications.

Dr. Anura DeSilva of Care Systems, Inc. discussed the software his company has created to improve the process of nursing while assimilating it with the existing nursing culture. He explained that his software was developed only after a long study of nurses in their working environment. The problems his software is designed to address include the shortage of nurses, overtime, traveling nurses, and the low nurse retention rate. Dr. Desilva explained that much of a nurse manager’s time is consumed on scheduling and adjusting schedules to meet personal and emergency demands. His company’s software cuts the nurse manager’s time spent scheduling by 90%, optimizes costs, and lowers nurse turnover.

Finally, John Milligan of Care Fusion discussed his company’s wireless mobile systems and how they can be utilized in nursing. He explained that wireless mobile systems fit in easily with the nurse’s work flow and reduce human errors. Wireless mobile systems are already being utilized in the government sector and the commercial market but are not yet being utilized extensively in nursing. As many as 98,000 deaths per year are due to human errors. Eighty-six percent of these errors could be prevented with information technology. Wireless networks, bar-code readiness, and mobile hardware available at the point of care, and real time mobile applications can all improve nurse working conditions and reduce medical errors. John then presented Care Fusion’s products, which include a wireless bar code medication administration system, a wireless bar code-enabled blood and specimen collection system, a wireless comprehensive task manager, and a wireless comprehensive patient information solution. All of Care Fusion’s products are HIPAA compliant.