The Emerging Role of the Chief Nursing Information Officer

The Hinge to Nurse Engagement in IT-Enabled Clinical Initiatives

Kate Goddard, Senior Analyst

Engaging nurses is critical to the success of clinical IT-enabled initiatives. Nurses are often the first and last point of contact with a patient and, therefore, the first and last opportunity to prevent an error. This makes them an enormous asset in ensuring that clinical information systems do no unintentional harm to patients.

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Our new research note explores how the Chief Nursing Information Officer (CNIO) role is emerging, providing a path to engage and empower nurses in IT initiatives at the senior executive level.

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The importance of engaging nurses in IT-enabled initatives

Nurses will also benefit from well-designed and well-implemented IT-enabled initiatives. They are responsible for preventing errors and bear the burden of repetitive (and often redundant) form filling and other documentation.

“Nurse engagement is a key lever for successful use of IT.”

Major benefits of clinical IT systems include:

  • A safety net for processes such as medication administration
  • Streamlined administrative tasks such as data entry
  • More free time for nurses to spend with patients

Not engaging nurses can result in poorly designed and adopted systems that may generate new safety risks.

As the importance of clinical IT increases globally, the role is developing organically in some organisations. Based on our analysis of CNIO positions around the world, we find that the heart of the role involves serving as a liaison between informatics and clinical departments in addition to advocating for system change.

However, proper adoption of IT across all user groups presents one of the biggest challenges organisations face. IT initiatives can greatly impact nursing practice, and poor implementation can hamper overall care delivery and introduce new safety risks. Nurse engagement is a key lever for successful use of IT.

Benefits of Clinical IT Systems to Nurses

  1. Improve quality and safety
  2. Inform real-time decisions
  3. Foster more efficient communication
  4. Track performance
  5. Engage patients

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