Developing Telehealth-Focused Advanced Practice Nurse Educational Partnerships

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Shelley Hawkins, PhD, MSN, BSN, FNP-BC, GNP, FAANP
School of Nursing, University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing & Health Science, San Diego, CA, USA
Donna M. Nickitas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE
Nursing, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA
Debra Lyon, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, PMHNP, FAAN
College of Nursing, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Introduction/Background:  As technology has grown exponentially in healthcare, nurse educators must prepare Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) graduates with the knowledge and skills in information systems/technology to support and improve patient care and health care systems. APRN’s are expected to lead in caring for populations who lack accessibility and availability through the use of technology, specifically telehealth.  The capacity to effectively and efficiently use technology in patient care delivery is clearly delineated in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Essentials.  However, APRN’s have minimal, or no, exposure to formalized telehealth education and lack necessary technical skills needed to incorporate telehealth into their patient care.  APRN’s must successfully master the technology using telehealth/telemedicine, electronic health records, health information technology, and clinical decision support systems to advance health.  Furthermore, DNP APRN’s must be prepared to lead the coordination and collaboration with other healthcare providers in their use and application. 

Aim/Goal/Purpose:  The purpose of this presentation is to establish and operationalize telehealth-focused educational partnerships between the University of San Diego (USD) Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science and 4 community stakeholders in order to enhance the preparation of APRN NP students for practice, teaching, and/or scholarly endeavors.

Methods:  The proposed project was initially presented by the project director to selected multidisciplinary stakeholders including leadership, home telehealth personnel, primary care providers, and decision support systems within two major health care systems to garner their support for acceptance and implementation.  Concurrently, backing was obtained from several key USD colleagues including the Director of Simulation and Innovative Learning Lab and Coordinator of the Health Care Informatics Program.  Technology experts skilled in design and production in web applications and electronic modules were secured from two San Diego based technology companies.

Results:  Four telehealth-focused partnerships have been established with the USD DNP & MSN NP Programs.  Two educational pilot programs are being developed with these San Diego based partnerships including 2 health care systems and 2 technology/media based companies.  Students will have opportunities to engage in clinically based telehealth experiences focused on:  (1) providing patient care while incorporating various technology with a specific emphasis on telehealth; (2) conducting research and/or evidence-based practice projects in order to further develop the scientific foundation regarding incorporation of telehealth with patient care; and (3) participating in the production of patient-level educational materials related to specific topical areas.

Conclusions:  Evidence-based APRN student telehealth clinical experiences will assist in preparing graduates who can effectively incorporate telehealth into their clinical practice. Greater access for diverse populations will be available as a result of the telehealth service model as well as better care and better outcomes at lower costs.  Furthermore, APRN’s will provide the necessary leadership and coordination through interprofessional practice by transforming health care through new innovative care models using information systems and technology.