Technology Needs Assessment

 Overview

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Conduct a health information technology needs assessment. Then, present your findings and recommendations, in a 4–5-page executive summary, regarding a new or upgraded telehealth technology for your organization or practice setting.

Note: Each assessment in this course builds upon the work you have completed in previous assessments. Therefore, complete the assessments in the order in which they are presented.

SHOW LESS

Nurse leaders play a key role in the decision-making processes associated with the purchase of a health information technology and any subsequent technology upgrades and improvements. A thorough and accurate needs assessment establishes a foundation for evaluating the overall value to an organization of the various technologies that can be used to support nursing and improve patient care.

The needs assessment you will conduct in your first assessment enables you to take a systematic approach to developing knowledge about a new or upgraded telehealth technology that would impact nursing practice. The needs assessment also identifies assessment work that may already have been completed and any gaps that still exist and must be addressed. The goals of completing the needs assessment are to:

  1. Identify gaps in practice that must be addressed to improve patient care.
  2. Understand the nature and scope of needed changes and identify associated opportunities and challenges.
  3. Enable a thoughtful and systematic approach to change implementation and management.

This assessment provides an opportunity for you to work through the needs assessment process and present your findings in a way that will help you gain the support of executive leaders.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

  • Competency 1: Evaluate technologies used to gather patient data; inform diagnoses; and enhance care quality, safety, and outcomes.
    • Explain the relevance and importance of a needs assessment.
    • Identify the safety requirements and regulatory considerations when using a new or upgraded telehealth technology.
  • Competency 2: Develop a collaborative technology integration strategy.
    • Describe the potential impact of internal and external stakeholders and end users on the acquisition of a new or upgraded telehealth technology.
  • Competency 3: Develop a strategy for managing technology use that enhances patient care and organizational effectiveness.
    • Identify the key issues in nursing care affecting patient outcomes that a new or upgraded telehealth technology will address.
  • Competency 4: Promote effective technology use policies that protect patient confidentiality and privacy.
    • Identify the patient confidentiality and privacy protections that a new or upgraded telehealth technology must address.
  • Competency 5: Communicate effectively with diverse audiences, in an appropriate form and style, consistent with applicable organizational, professional, and scholarly standards.
    • Support assertions, arguments, conclusions, and recommendations with relevant and credible evidence.
    • Write clearly and concisely in a logically coherent and appropriate form and style.

 

Required Resources

The following resources are required to complete the assessment.

Vila Health is a virtual environment that simulates a real-world health care system. In the various Vila Health scenarios, you will apply professional strategies, practice skills, and build competencies that you can apply to your coursework and in your career. The information you gather in this scenario will help you to complete the assessment. 

 

Assessment Instructions

Note: Your needs assessment will provide the basis for the remaining assessments in this course.

Preparation

Telehealth technology can be representative of many different scenarios. For example, the technology could be designed to assist nurses with providing care, such as chronic disease management, to rural patients. It could also be designed to enable physicians to access enhanced care strategies from other providers in another part of the United States, or internationally. Such care strategies might include radiology readings or assistance in an operating room with a new procedure.

For this assessment and all remaining assessments, choose any new or upgraded telehealth technology that you would like to see implemented in your organization or practice setting. Be creative and imagine what it would be like to have any telehealth resources that would benefit your community. Then, imagine that executive leaders in your organization or practice setting are considering the purchase of those resources to improve the quality of care provided to patients and enable medical and nursing staff to extend coverage for patients in the region.

Finally, as a nurse leader with responsibilities in upper management, imagine that you have been asked to determine whether this purchase will adequately address key issues in patient care and lead to improved outcomes.

To prepare for the assessment, you are encouraged to reflect on performance gaps in your organization, what outcomes are measured, and how telehealth technologies can help to improve outcomes. Also, consider how you would effectively communicate the need for a new or upgraded technology to executive leaders in a way that will help you obtain their support. In addition, you may wish to:

  • Review the assessment instructions and scoring guide to ensure that you understand the work you will be asked to complete.
  • Review the Guiding Questions: Technology Needs Assessment document, which includes questions to consider and additional guidance on how to successfully complete the assessment.
Requirements

Determine the need for the new or upgraded telehealth technology. Present your findings and recommendations in an executive summary. Include any available assessments and gap analyses that may have been conducted previously.

Complete the Vila Health: Preparing for a Technology Needs Assessment simulation, linked in the required resources.

The executive summary requirements, outlined below, correspond to the grading criteria in the Technology Needs Assessment Scoring Guide, so be sure to address each point. Read the performance-level descriptions for each criterion to see how your work will be assessed. The Guiding Questions: Technology Needs Assessment document, linked in the required resources, provides additional considerations that may be helpful in completing your assessment. In addition, be sure to note the requirements below for document format and length and for citing supporting evidence.

  • Explain the relevance and importance of a needs assessment.
  • Identify the key issues in nursing care affecting patient outcomes that the new or upgraded telehealth technology will address.
  • Identify the safety requirements and regulatory considerations when using this technology.
  • Identify the patient confidentiality and privacy protections that this technology must address.
  • Describe the potential impact of internal and external stakeholders and end users on the acquisition of this technology.
  • Support assertions, arguments, conclusions, and recommendations with relevant and credible evidence.
  • Write clearly and concisely in a logically coherent and appropriate form and style.
Document Format and Length

Format your executive summary using APA style.

  • Use the APA Style Paper Template, linked in the resources. An APA Style Paper Tutorial is also provided to help you in writing and formatting your executive summary. Be sure to include:
    • A title page and references page. An abstract is not required.
    • A running head on all pages.
    • Appropriate level 1 section headings.
  • Your executive summary should be 3–4 pages in length, not including the title page and references page.
Supporting Evidence

Cite at least five credible sources from peer-reviewed journals or professional industry publications to support your implementation plan.

Additional Requirements

Proofread your executive summary before you submit it to minimize errors that could distract readers and make it more difficult for them to focus on the substance of your analysis.

REQUIRED FOR ASSIGNMENT!

 Vila Health

Nurse leaders are often tasked with leading efforts around the implementation of health care technologies. Tasks associated with those efforts include:

  • Conducting a technology needs assessment.
  • Identifying key stakeholders.
  • Implementing the plan.
  • Training the staff on how to use the technology.

This activity will explore some of the things that must be considered when tackling a technology needs assessment.

Located in Minneapolis, St. Anthony Medical Center (SAMC) is a 120-bed facility that is part of Vila Health, a medium-sized system of health operating facilities in the Midwest. Recently, the Murray County Central School District approached Vila Health to discuss a potential pilot telehealth counseling program for high school students in rural areas. Since many of these students have limited or no access to school counselors or other mental health resources, the district hopes that a telehealth program supported by SAMC will fill in an essential gap.

SCENARIO:

 St. Anthony Medical Center Meeting Room 

  
Frederick MoraDirector of Quality Management – Vila Health Group

Alright – it looks like we’re all here; let’s get started. The reason I invited you all to this meeting is that we have an interesting opportunity but I want to make sure that the pilot is a good fit for us and that we’re a good fit for them. So – let me tell you a little about this project. We’ve been contacted by the Murray County Central School District. They have received a grant to explore ways to expand delivery of mental health resources to young people in their community. Since many of the students in these small towns have limited access to mental health resources, the district hopes that a telehealth program supported by SAMC will fill in an essential gap. Ana Nguyen, from Behavioral Health and Tara Jennings, our nursing informatics lead, will be heading up our team in working with the Murray County folks.

 
Christopher HewittVice President of Medical Support Services

We think this would be a good opportunity for a number of reasons. It allows us to explore expanding our telehealth offerings without having to commit a substantial amount of resources initially. But, obviously, the first step would be to work with the folks at Murray County to conduct a needs assessment. You all know that I’m big on needs assessments – and that’s because they work. When you do a solid needs assessment, you are able to go into a project with clear objectives and a clear understanding of what opportunities and challenges you’re facing.

 
Troy HollandDirector of Patient Services – St. Anthony Medical Center

One of the issues that I focus on is patient confidentiality. Because everyone it seems has access to Skype or Facetime, people sometimes don’t think through the privacy issues that need to be considered. Ultimately though, the same requirements for patient privacy and confidentiality that are in place for face to face visits apply to telehealth visits. So I would expect to see those requirements addressed in a needs assessment.

 
Tara JenningsDirector of Nursing Informatics – St. Anthony Medical Center

I’m pretty excited about this project. There’s a lot of energy behind it and already a number of people who want to see it succeed. For that reasons, we need to make sure we understand what the current state is. What do we know and what gaps in our knowledge are there? I already have a number of questions such as – who are the stakeholders and are they going to be engaged or resistant? What are the claims going into this project? What are people expecting it to accomplish and are those expectations realistic? We also need to make sure that the needs assessment looks at technology options and any regulatory issues, such as HIPAA considerations.

 
Ana NguyenBehavioral Health Nurse Manager – St. Anthony Medical Center

I know that telehealth solutions are being leveraged in many counseling and other behavioral health settings, but I don’t know a lot about how the regulatory and security issues are handled. I’m going to want to know what the security safeguards are, what the security risks are, and how the program plans to deal with them. There are so many small details to consider – for example, something as simple as how will students access the service? If they are being let out of class, does that “out” them to their classmates? If there’s a room where students go to engage with the counsellor, is the room soundproof or might someone be able to eavesdrop? These are the kinds of small detail that does have to be considered.

 

Conclusion

Activity complete! In this activity, you had the opportunity to observe the planning committee discuss the different areas that must be addressed in the technology needs assessment. This information should help you complete your own technology needs assessment for the topic you have chosen for your assignment.

GRADING RUBRIC:

1- Explain the relevance and importance of a needs assessment. 

Passing Grade:  Explains the relevance and importance of a needs assessment, and identifies assumptions underlying the suggested needs assessment. 

2-  Identify the key issues in nursing care affecting patient outcomes that a new or upgraded telehealth technology will address. 

Passing Grade:  Identifies the key issues in nursing care affecting patient outcomes that a new or upgraded telehealth technology will address, and impartially considers conflicting evidence and/or other perspectives.
 

3- Identify the safety requirements and regulatory considerations when using a new or upgraded telehealth technology. 

Passing Grade:  Identifies the safety requirements and regulatory considerations when using a new or upgraded telehealth technology, and suggests criteria that could be used to evaluate whether requirements are met. 

4-  Identify the patient confidentiality and privacy protections that a new or upgraded telehealth technology must address. 

Passing Grade: Identifies the patient confidentiality and privacy protections that a new or upgraded telehealth technology must address, and identifies knowledge gaps, unknowns, missing information, unanswered questions, or areas of uncertainty. 

5-  Describe the potential impact of internal and external stakeholders and end users on the acquisition of a new or upgraded telehealth technology.
 

Passing Grade:  Describes the potential impact of internal and external stakeholders and end users on the acquisition of a new or upgraded telehealth technology, and identifies assumptions on which this description is based. 

6-  Support assertions, arguments, conclusions, and recommendations with relevant and credible evidence. 

Passing Grade:  Supports assertions, arguments, conclusions, and recommendations with relevant, credible, and convincing evidence. Skillfully combines error-free source citations with a perceptive and coherent synthesis of the evidence. 

7-  Write clearly and concisely in a logically coherent and appropriate form and style. 

Passing Grade:  Writes clearly and concisely in a logically coherent and appropriate form and style. Main points, ideas, arguments, or propositions are well-developed and engaging. Adheres to all applicable disciplinary and scholarly writing standards and conventions. 

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