Helping Nurses Make Bigger Changes for their Smallest Patients
At the Ward Family Heart Center at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., using an inter-disciplinary team called CHAMP® (Cardiac High Acuity Monitoring Program), nurses like Lori Erickson, MSN, CPNP-PC, CHAMP clinical program manager, are saving lives of babies born with single ventricle heart disease who are in the critical inter-stage period between the first and second stages of surgery.
CHAMP provides families with a tablet PC that has a proprietary app installed to enable nearly-instantaneous in-home monitoring and to improve communication during this vulnerable time, while allowing the infants and their families to spend more time at home. We had the chance to speak with Lori about the program, the importance of technology in nursing, the future of patient care, and more.
I have always been intrigued by the hemodynamic process and true strength of the infants with congenital heart disease. I started working as a single ventricle and fetal cardiology Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) position at Children’s Mercy in 2012, and transitioned to the CHAMP single ventricle APRN as both programs expanded in July 2017.
The basis of CHAMP started from the concept of inter-stage home monitoring for infants with single ventricles care in the first year of life. CHAMP infants are at risk of sudden events, including death, at home in the first months of life, so this technology is on the forefront of care improvement. This program uses an application on a mobile device at home to transfer data to the inter-stage cardiac team in the hospital, leveraging cloud-based technology.
There are many other ambulatory models that may empower nurses to be proactive with care coordinators across the continuum of health. Megan Jensen, MSN, CPNP, an inpatient heart center APRN and Lori’s co-worker at Children’s Mercy, pointed out recently that CHAMP was a program that followed High Reliability Organization (HRO) principles. I would suggest any program that follows these principles to consider using technology to improve care.
Nursing has always had a seat at the table of program and process development with our heart center technology and administrative teams with CHAMP. As the frontline users, we have always been able to give feedback and voice any concerns or ideas. I have had great nurse mentors in my life that showed me how to look at the end goals and to make short- and long-term goals to make sustained change and process improvement.
Nursing informatics, including telehealth, is a growing area of nursing that has opportunities for exponential areas of care improvement. Technology shifts in the last 10 years like electronic medical record systems, online databases, cloud technology, and at-home remote monitoring have applications across all types of nursing and in all settings.
You are the experts in process improvement in your generation. Do not be afraid to speak up.
To learn more about the CHAMP program and how it’s changing the lives of families, visit childrensmercy.org.