Report of the 2017 Omaha System International Conference: A Vision for the Future

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Excerpt

The ninth biennial Omaha System International Conference was held in Eagan, MN on April 21 and 22, 2017. Participants from many countries and disciplines representing a continuum of users from novice to expert engaged in lively conversations about new developments in Omaha System applications in practice, education, software development, and research. A highlight of the event was the opportunity to begin the process of examining terms and definitions for a revision of the Omaha System terminology that will be published in the forthcoming third edition of the Omaha System book. There were 23 posters that exemplified the global community’s investment in Omaha System learning and excellence from the perspectives of practice, education, and research. The conference received excellent reviews. Constructive feedback from participants will guide planning for the 2019 conference.
The host school for this year’s conference was the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS) Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences. Dr. Barbara Joyce from UCCS shared novel efforts to examine community data through innovative partnership with the Colorado Springs Park and Recreation Department as well as UCCS nursing students working to improve population health at the community level. Fellow keynoters included Scott Randall (Champ Software, North Mankato, MN) who shared IT security challenges for health care and personal privacy, and Adriana Galvan (Guadalupe Alternative Programs, St Paul, MN) who shared the consumer perspective.
As part of her presentation, Galvan emphasized the importance of information management in healthcare, especially for consumers who may have limited health literacy. She described the use of the Omaha System for consumers and the “MyStrengths MyHealth” app (copyrighted and publicly available) based on a draft version of the Omaha System for consumers in English and Spanish. The app allows anyone (aged 18 or older) to document a problem-specific health snapshot based on the Omaha System’s four domains and 42 problems. This app is novel in that it includes strengths as well as challenges and needs, and thus provides a comprehensive holistic perspective on health. The Omaha System data gathered from use of the app is standardized in alignment with the 2005 Omaha System terms, and may be incorporated within electronic platforms for improved communication in health care settings and beyond.
Three awards were presented for Excellence in Omaha System Practice, Education, and Research as follow: to Gail Peterson, RN, BSN, Public Health Nurse, Polk County Health Department, Balsam Lake, Wisconsin, USA (Practice); to Madeleine Kerr, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota School of Nursing, Minneapolis, MN, USA (Education); and to Frances F. K. Wong PhD, RN, FAAN, FHKAN, Associate Dean, Faculty of Health & Social Sciences, Professor, School of Nursing, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong (Research). Their combined expertise, experience, and passion for the Omaha System are awe inspiring, and the awards were much deserved.
Educators Barbara Joyce and Mary Reynolds-Keegan described incorporating the Omaha System within courses and assignments in order to assist students to grasp the important fundamental informatics competencies exemplified by the Omaha System’s sound taxonomic principles. This theme was echoed by Kari Miller from Optum (Eden Prairie, MN), who encouraged participants as she described how applying the sound principles of the Omaha System within the iCue platform has improved care management and reduced documentation time. “My nurses tell me they feel like nurses again,” enthused Miller. In addition, Nicole Brown described a statewide initiative for children with special healthcare needs incorporating the Omaha System into state health department data and evaluation processes.
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