ANA represents registered nurses as both consumers and advocates of health care. As part of the Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice: registered nurses have the responsibility to be advocates for consumers of health care, especially to vulnerable populations, or those with disparities in access to care. This means empowering consumers to access beneficial health resources that can facilitate their ability to achieve their health goals. Health IT offers secure resources that enable consumers to access their confidential health records where and when they are needed Education is needed to inform nurses and consumers how to access these resources to improve the efficiency, safety, quality, timeliness, and patient-centeredness of the health care system. ANA is taking action to support this effort because we believe: Consumers of health care must be the central focus of the health system, and should be empowered to be full participants in both clinical and financial decisions about their care. Consumers must have access to their own health information in order to ensure the accuracy and completeness of these records. Nurses are uniquely poised at all touch points in the health care delivery system to educate consumers on how to access their health information directly and actively participate in all health-related decisions. As essential members of the health care team, nurses will partner with other professionals to design healthcare delivery systems. These delivery systems will utilize health IT to enhance consumer access to resources that facilitate shared health-related decision-making.
Judy Murphy, RN, FACMI, FHIMSS, FAAN, the Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy at the ONC, praises ANA's efforts and agrees that registered nurses are ideally positioned to lead consumers into a more active role in their health decisions. "It starts by accessing your health records. So join the national effort to take care of your health with health IT and ask your provider for electronic access to your personal health information," urges Murphy.
As a result, ANA is asking all registered nurses to take the pledge to access, educate, advocate, and empower consumers to use health IT to manage their health.
In September 2011, the HHS’ ONC for Health Information Technology led a national campaign to educate and engage the public on the value and benefits of health information technology (health IT) in improving their health and healthcare. The ONC is promoting the widespread adoption of health IT through incentives and has recognized that active consumer participation is necessary to fulfill health IT's promise of improved healthcare quality and coordination. ANA is currently advocating for nurses to take charge of their own health through the Healthy Nurse program and to encourage nurses to join the Pledge by accessing their own health information and build, add to, or update their own personal health records (PHRs). The second phase of the program will be to empower registered nurses to educate consumers on how to access and use their health information. ANA will support this campaign by providing a web-based Resource Toolkit that nurses can use to help manage their own health, their family's health, and—as consumer advocates—their patients' health.
American Nurses Association. (2012). Healthy Nurse Program. Retrieved from www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/WorkplaceSafety/Healthy-Nurse
American Nurses Association. (2010). Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, (2nd Ed.). Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. (2012). Health IT Resources for Patients and Families. Retrieved from www.healthit.gov/patients-families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. (2012). Information Technology in Health Care: The Next Consumer Revolution. Retrieved from www.healthit.gov/patients-families/benefits-health-it
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's Consumer Campaign Pledge. Retrieved from www.healthit.gov/pledge/
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's website. Retrieved from www.healthit.hhs.gov