State of the Society
As infusion clinicians, how do we implement new evidenced-based information, such as the Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice (the Standards)? We receive it, read it, and may even update an organizational policy and procedure. But this doesn't always result in an actual change in practice. How effective is the education provided, and how do we ensure our colleagues are able to apply the new information in their daily patient care? Where do our responsibilities begin and end to support the best infusion practices? In health care today, patient outcomes are the single, most important measure to ensure our practices are effective. It's simply not enough to teach the Standards. We need to monitor and measure patient outcomes to improve the overall health and well-being of our patients, while reducing facility readmissions and the overall cost of health care.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM), recently renamed the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academies, has had a significant impact on health care and has helped chart a direction for continued quality and the delivery of safer health care. The IOM, now HMD, was founded in 1970 as an independent organization with a mission to provide unbiased, authoritative information and advice related to health and science for policy, policy makers, and professionals.
Over the past several years, there have been significant changes in health care based on research and recommendations initiated by HMD. A group of reports, such as Crossing the Quality Chasm,1To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System,2 and The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,3 are just a few of the recommendations made by the then IOM, based on its scientific research. These recommendations are just a few components of a much larger picture in reaching our overall goals in health care, which includes reducing health care costs.
Government programs, such as value-based contracting and bundled payments, are still in their infancy, and telemedicine is on the horizon. Population management presents an array of questions such as: What best practices should I apply with a specific population? How well are we following best practices in patient populations? And how can we create better outcomes for them? If they haven't already, these initiatives potentially will have an impact on infusion services and practice. As infusion nurses, we need to use our collective knowledge to validate infusion practices and measure patient outcomes.
Today, we need to know what patients, families, and caregivers believe their return on investment has been after receiving health care services. Were their health care goals and expectations met? How do our individual practices affect each patient's outcome? As clinicians, we have the ability to affect overall outcomes in health care, one patient at a time.
We are very fortunate to have INS working diligently to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of health care. INS provides a consistent framework for the infusion profession and wholly supports professional education.