Fairfield University School of Nursing and Emergisoft Corporation to explore innovative software applications to enhance nursing education


Image: Emergisoft luncheon
(L-R) Orin Grossman, Ph.D., academic vice president of Fairfield University; Joseph J. DeSilva, chief executive officer of the Emergisoft Corporation; Suzanne H. Campbell Ph.D., associate professor of nursing at Fairfield University; Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J.; Jeanne M. Novotny, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing; David Trimble, vice president, Government Affairs and Corporate Development, Emergisoft Corporation; Philip A. Greiner, D.N.Sc., associate professor of nursing at Fairfield University.

Fairfield University School of Nursing has entered into an agreement with the Dallas, Texas-based Emergisoft Corporation to develop the educational uses of the EmergisoftED software product currently being used in hospitals across the country. University and Emergisoft officials met today on the Fairfield campus to announce the agreement.

Under the partnership, the School of Nursing will integrate Emergisoft's "Emergency Department Information System" software in its nursing curriculum beginning this academic year and examine its potential to help educate nursing students around the country. The software at the center of the collaboration creates electronic patient medical records so physicians and nurses can track each step of a patient's care management process. For instance, it allows for nurses to electronically report every event of a patient admitted to a hospital's emergency department, from triage procedures and medication administered to patient care instructions.

Jeanne M. Novotny, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing, said that a major asset of this software is that it can help teach nursing students about electronically documenting the care they give to patients. "Documenting treatment is a critical issue in nursing, and it is very important for students to develop this particular skill. Ultimately, the collaboration exemplifies Fairfield University School of Nursing's continued efforts to be at the forefront of educating students to meet the demands of 21st Century healthcare."

Emergisoft specializes in assisting hospitals and health systems in the transition from paper-based medical records to electronic systems in an effort to improve the delivery of healthcare. The software that will be implemented at Fairfield enhances the review, tracking, and reporting of a patient's care in real time, online. Joseph J. DeSilva, Emergisoft's Chief Executive Officer, added, "We are very pleased that our emergency department software is supporting Fairfield University's goal of creating a real life environment that benefits nursing students and allows them to prepare and understand how a paperless environment using electronic medical records can help to improve patient safety and the delivery of care."

An important feature of this software is that it offers Syndromic Surveillance Reporting, a program that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require of all U.S. hospitals in the near future. The software automatically scans for any common symptoms among multiple patients admitted to a hospital. The software picks up an unusual amount of similar symptoms among patients that could signal a public health emergency, such as a pandemic, in order that it can be reported to governmental agencies.

"The EmergisoftED software and database will serve not only as a teaching tool in Fairfield's nursing curriculum, but an important learning tool benefiting our current nursing students", said Philip A. Greiner, D.N.Sc., associate professor of nursing.

Dr. Greiner explained that Fairfield faculty and staff will be able to create realistic ‘scenarios' and simulations of patient health problems based on real-life case studies with an Emergisoft database that can in turn be used to educate their students. For example, it will allow faculty to create simulations that are more realistic than might otherwise be possible using faculty experiences.

Fairfield's nursing students will also be able to provide feedback on the software. As they use the software in simulated situations, they will provide feedback that will help determine the ultimate utility of the product for nursing education.

Suzanne H. Campbell Ph.D., associate professor of nursing, said, "We believe it puts us on the cutting edge for both our curriculum and scenario development. We will be working to create a unique use for it within classroom and scenario simulated experiences to enhance student learning. This complements our efforts to enhance our students' self-confidence and performance in hospitals and the community."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 28, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 27