Dementia & Palliative Education Network

Developing EHR Decision Support Tools

Most dementia care costs come through skilled nursing and acute care encounters, many of which may be avoidable. Educational institutions—led by the UW SoN—are preparing students and practicing nurses with dementia care knowledge and skills. The healthcare industry is also developing ways to support dementia care nurses, but they struggle because dementia care protocols are not broadly distributed and the current technology that can incorporate best practices into nurses’ workflow isn’t enough.

Cartoon graphic of male medical professional standing near older male patient in hospital-style bed

With a grant from the CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund, DPEN has begun development of “Dementia Care Works” (DCWTM), a technological tool that will support the delivery of the dementia training curriculum and help optimize nurses’ workflow. This digital map will be integrated with dementia Quality Indicators and will contain assessments, decision support, and care tools to help train nursing students and the quicken nurses’ work across care settings. The use of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems is now mandated for all healthcare organizations; therefore these systems are excellent tools for documentation, communication, billing, and evaluating healthcare practices and outcomes.

Cartoon graphic of an open laptop displaying "EHR" and a female medical professional

Technology is essential to quickly prepare students and practicing nurses to use new dementia nursing skills. DPEN is partnering with UW Clinical Informatics Research Group (CIRG) to design a platform that will be integrated into the UW Medical Center EHR (EPIC) and other industry EHR systems (e.g., Point-Click Care).  DCWTM will serve as a companion to the school’s existing dementia training curriculums and will guide trainees in using evidence-based assessments and practices. It will be a tool for documenting how well nurses are applying dementia-related skills and will serve as an evaluation tool that can help calculate the return on investment.

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