Forging Collaborations between SON and UCSF Health

UCSF SON and Medical Center Nursing Informatics Group

Given the rapid adoption of electronic health record (EHR) systems and advancement of data science, the time is ripe for the field of nursing to embrace these emerging topics and to ensure that nursing perspectives are included. Nurses in any health system play multiple critical roles in the process, from data collection, information generation, and information consumption. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that UCSF Health recently hired its first ever Chief Nursing Informatics officer, Kay Burke.

Our school has a history in the field of nursing informatics, with a program offered. Some key faculty from this program have served as leaders of the field of biomedical informatics. For example, alumni professor Suzanne Bakken, PhD, RN, FAAN, (now at Columbia University) is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association.

With Kay’s arrival at UCSF Health, we and other SON faculty conducting data-related research see great potential for developing a stronger partnership with UCSF Health. This will enable us to not only identify but also solve impactful problems — first within UCSF Health, then across the UC system — with the ultimate goal of generalizing this to other academic and community health systems, using informatics and data science approaches.

With this in mind, the three of us partnered to bring together a group of stakeholders for a brainstorming session. This group included Kay’s colleagues at UCSF Health and SON researchers and software developers from the Hu lab (which Xiao directs) and the ECG Monitoring Research Lab (which Michele directs).

In a lively three-hour discussion, colleagues from UCSF Health described the challenges they are facing in improving the efficiency of care delivery while striving for optimal quality. One example discussed was “discharge readiness.” Researchers at SON shared the current state of software-based interventions for addressing alarm fatigue called Alarm eXpert (AlarmX) and another software/algorithm-based solution to fuse various kinds of data from patient monitors and electronic health record systems to predict patient deterioration. The group also discussed an interesting data modality from the EHR that captures a user’s interaction with Apex, which is a UCSF incarnation of EPIC EHR system, and several novel ideas emerged from our group brainstorming.

We and the other attendees felt this first meeting was energetic and there is a huge potential for collaboration between the SON and UCSF Health. The timing could not be more perfect as our school is going through the Strategic Planning process to identify important areas in which we can partner with the health system on innovation, data science and artificial intelligence. The implementation of any Strategic Plan needs the support of boots on the ground – our group of faculty, research staff and pre—and post-doctoral students are ready to go!

Xiao Hu, PhD, School of Nursing
Michele Pelter, PhD, RN, School of Nursing
Kay Burke, MBA, BSN, RN, UCSF Health