BACKGROUND: There is wide recognition that, with the rapid implementation of electronic health records (EHRs), large data sets are available for research. However, essential standardized nursing data are seldom integrated into EHRs and clinical data repositories. There are many diverse activities that exist to implement standardized nursing languages in EHRs; however, these activities are not coordinated, resulting in duplicate efforts rather than building a shared learning environment and resources.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this paper is to describe the historical context of nursing terminologies, challenges to the use of nursing data for purposes other than documentation of care, and a national action plan for implementing and using sharable and comparable nursing data for quality reporting and translational research.
METHODS: In 2013 and 2014, the University of Minnesota School of Nursing hosted a diverse group of nurses to participate in the Nursing Knowledge: Big Data and Science to Transform Health Care consensus conferences. This consensus conference was held to develop a national action plan and harmonize existing and new efforts of multiple individuals and organizations to expedite integration of standardized nursing data within EHRs and ensure their availability in clinical data repositories for secondary use. This harmonization will address the implementation of standardized nursing terminologies and subsequent access to and use of clinical nursing data.
CONCLUSION: Foundational to integrating nursing data into clinical data repositories for big data and science, is the implementation of standardized nursing terminologies, common data models, and information structures within EHRs. The 2014 National Action Plan for Sharable and Comparable Nursing Data for Transforming Health and Healthcare builds on and leverages existing, but separate long standing efforts of many individuals and organizations. The plan is action focused, with accountability for coordinating and tracking progress designated.
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