As host Dr. Jay Andrews notes in an anecdote at the start of this episode, the impact of nurses in healthcare extends far beyond treating patients. And this episode’s guest, Dawn Mattera, wears a number of hats in addition to the nursing cap she’s proudly worn for over 30 years.

As the administrative director for the Critical Care and Emergency Department at Holy Name Medical Center, Mattera is a central figure in New Jersey’s last remaining independent, Catholic health system––which is composed of a comprehensive 361-bed acute care medical center, a cancer center, medical fitness center, residential hospice, nursing school, and physician network.

Holy Name has always emphasized patient-centric care, and its leadership recognizes the pivotal role technology can play in realizing this vision. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, with its 42-bay emergency department at full capacity and all 50 ventilators in use, Holy Name undertook an almost unimaginable IT project––building its own custom EHR system. With a keen focus on improving patient outcomes and lessening the administrative burden on clinicians at the point of the care, the new EHR’s design relied heavily on the input of the nursing staff. Mattera shares experiences from this remarkable project, explains how the technology has freed clinicians to focus on patient care, and has helped advance performance improvement documentation.

Among the topics that Dr. Anders and Mattera discussed:

  • An early encounter with a nurse that influenced Dr. Anders’ medical career
  • Mattera’s career trajectory––from nurse to nurse advocate to champion of documentation reform
  • Holy Name’s crucial role as a “ground zero” facility during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • How the glut of pandemic-related paperwork underscored the need for more automation
  • Holy Name’s decision to build a customer EHR during the pandemic
  • The role of nursing staff input and feedback in the design and iteration of the custom EHR
  • How the new EHR helped slash ED nurse documentation time by 50%
  • Deployment of the custom EHR in other departments throughout Holy Name
  • Adapting the new system for other departments
  • Satisfying JCO (Joint Commission) requirements with the new system
  • Lessons learned
  • “If you had a magic wand and could change anything in healthcare IT today, what would it be?”

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