SAN DIEGO, CaliforniaThe Workflow Information
Systems for European Nursing Care (WISECARE) program is using information
technology to foster knowledge sharing and to promote evidence-based nursing
care among 15 European cancer centers.
Speaking at the Oncology Nursing Society’s 26th Annual
Congress, Nora Kearney, RGN, MSc, head of the Nursing and Midwifery School,
University of Glasgow, Scotland, and Derek Hoy, RN, MSc, research fellow,
Glasgow Caledonian University, Edinburgh, described the development and
initial experiences with this ambitious project.
"In Europe, nursing costs account for 40% to 60% of
total health care costs. So nursing care is a hugely significant
resource," Ms. Kearney said.
But, she added, the relationship between nursing care and
patient outcomes is largely unknown. "The information that nurses use
in managing patient care is rarely collected to influence practice,"
she said. "We use the information on an individual-patient basis but
rarely exchange that information with our colleagues across the country,
much less across Europe. We wanted to change that."
The purpose of the WISECARE project was to evaluate the
impact of nursing care on the total quality of patient care in Europe. The
goal was to systematically use clinical nursing data stored in electronic
patient records for clinical and resource management.
Program developers reasoned that this would encourage a
shift in emphasis from individual knowledge to knowledge sharing, which
ultimately would lead to improved patient care.
Moreover, they anticipated that the interactive sharing of
experiences in the database with other institutions would lead to the
development of a knowledge base of "best practices" in nursing
care. This, in turn, would allow participants to compare and measure their
performances against the "best practices" of other institutions.