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by Laura Brower
Published on May 8, 2017

Augusta University Health (formerly Georgia Regents Health) works closely with Cerner through a strategic alignment called the Jaguar Collaborative. In this blog, AU Health leader Laura Brower, RN, vice president and chief nursing officer, explains how the collaboration (also called Cerner ITWorks) helps the organization drive fundamental cultural change and improve care.

When I joined Augusta University Health (AU Health) in 2014, our organization was at a turning point. We had legacy technology — many of our solutions were 10 years behind the latest upgrades.

We were also functioning in siloes within our organization. Everyone was working hard on urgent problems. Operations were characterized by activities rather than by defined processes. We lacked interprofessional collaboration, standardization, alignment and process maturity. Our operations needed to advance to an integrated approach with defined processes that are repeatable and regularly evaluated for improvement in collaboration among all organizational units. With these challenges in mind, we knew we needed a partner to help us enhance our practice environment.

Bridging the gap between nursing and HIT

Our overall goal was to optimize our professional practice of nursing. We wanted to bridge the gap between nursing and health IT (HIT) and improve all of the clinical pathways for nursing. We also implemented our journey to the Magnet Recognition Program for nursing excellence.

Throughout all of this work, one thing has remained clear: The path forward is about much more than the technology — it's the people with whom we work through the Jaguar Collaborative.

In 2008, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) asked: Who or what is the entity that can make the biggest impact on transforming health care? The answer, IOM found, was nursing.

Some of the initiatives we put in place were built around IOM's Future of Nursing report, messages that our nurses should practice to the extent of their license, they should be full partners with physicians in redesigning healthcare, and the need to have better data utilized in improving performance and outcomes. For us, bridging the gap between nursing and HIT was about consulting and innovation — finding a way for our unique needs to be met and help us advance care.

As our journey began, we started working to find gaps in nursing practice and also analyzed how prepared we were to begin our Magnet journey.

The Year of the Nurse

At AUHealth, 2015-2016 was the Year of the Nurse. We worked non-stop with the Cerner ITWorks team to implement 12 solutions, including iView documentation, interdisciplinary plans of care, breast milk and depression screening projects, the Clairvia scheduling and a bed capacity system, as well as case management.

All of these implementations occurred in just one year.

Within 12 months, we had become better users of technology and a more collaborative team. We identified and developed our chief nursing information officer, a role we did not have before the Jaguar Collaborative.

We have advanced because of true transformational leadership at Cerner and AUHealth — We all worked together, and it took us all to drive the fundamental cultural change at AUHealth.

Our increased clinical alignment with the Jaguar Collaborative has helped us put the person — the patient — at the center.

We call our closest relationships with our clients Cerner ITWorks. Through these strategic alignments, we manage all of your IT needs — and more. Learn more here.

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