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Who Better to Lead Innovation in Healthcare?

Who Better to Lead Innovation in Healthcare?

By: American Nurses Association


Nurses Can Show Us All the Way

Once upon a time, researchers, tech developers and vendors went right to doctors for input and downloads for new ideas.

That was then, this is now.

Nurse’s voices were once missing as an active part of healthcare innovation, but no longer. As patient advocates in and out of the hospital, the “shock troops” on the front lines of healthcare. RNs know how to improve procedures and processes, the patient experience and where to apply new technologies and creativity to solve real problems.

Dan Weberg, PhD, RN, is senior director of innovation and leadership for Kaiser Permanente’s national nursing leadership and strategy team. He strongly advocates for nurses’ expanded role in healthcare innovation, citing their unique patient care expertise.

“When vendors come to the hospital to pitch their ideas, nurses should be in the room to communicate their everyday work and to question and advocate. That’s the leadership needed.”

Technology Improves Care, and Nurses Can Help Prove It

Nurses have a strong track record of improving processes and procedures in healthcare settings of all kinds. As Dr. Weberg points out, nurses see psychosocial aspects of patients that other healthcare providers don’t see. They are key to showing how technology can help underserved populations who have less access to physical facilities.

“As nurses, we need to help create that business case and use data to prove tech can improve care. Studies have shown that this type of technology decreases emergency department visits.”

Three Technology Trends to Consider:

  • Mobile technology offers revolutionary efficiency, information access and accuracy for patient care. Nurses will lead the way in making this new technology work.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is being put to work managing increasingly complex patient care, providing more reliable and insightful data and information. AI can never replace a nurse and a bedside presence—but it will absolutely enhance a nurse’s work.
  • Virtual reality and advanced simulation tools are making nurse education even more effective, helping nurses learn more and learn faster, as well.

Imagine the possibilities in healthcare settings with new technologies. Nurses certainly can see the future: Virtual home and family health assessments; engaging patients wherever they are; monitoring patient conditions 24/7/365 while they live their lives; working with remote and underserved populations; the list goes on. And in many cases, nurses will show us the way.

One Good Idea: ANA’s New Innovation Framework

Recognizing the power of nurse-led innovation, in 2018, the ANA unveiled a three-part innovation framework to transform healthcare. Various initiatives highlight the need to cultivate and inspire future nurse innovators, ignite nurse-led innovation and celebrate nursing innovation.

ANA offers an Innovation Bundle of two excellent webinars:


This package offers two highly popular nursing innovation programs to help you further the culture of innovation in your workplace. Both online courses cost $125 — $112.50 for ANA Members. The courses teach how to highlight creativity in nursing, gaining valuable insights that will build creative capacity. The bundle covers design thinking, with new mindsets, skills and behaviors that create champion problem-solvers.

Courses are Led by Karen Tilstra, Ph, who has co-founded innovation labs, including the award-winning Florida Hospital Innovation Lab (FHIL) in Orlando as well as the Orlando Magic Innovation Lab, and has designed and facilitated over 300 design thinking projects.

Categories: Individual Development

Tags: Nurse Initiatives

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