AtStaff Introduces a New, Outcomes-Based Patient Acuity System That Integrates Nursing...

Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:00am EDT

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AtStaff Introduces a New, Outcomes-Based Patient Acuity System That Integrates Nursing Outcomes Classification (NOC)

   AtStaff's Chief Nursing Executive to Present Company's New Acuity
Solution Today at National Nursing Informatics and Classification
IOWA CITY, Iowa--(Business Wire)--
Sharon Eck Birmingham, DNSc, RN, AtStaff's Chief Nursing Executive
and a national leader in evidence-based, outcomes-driven nurse
staffing, will outline today, in a presentation at a national nursing
informatics conference sponsored by the University of Iowa's College
of Nursing, how healthcare organizations can significantly improve
patient care by integrating an outcomes-approach to patient acuity

   In her presentation, "Outcomes-Driven Acuity Measurement Using
Nursing Outcomes Classification," to be delivered this afternoon at
the 8th Institute of Nursing Informatics & Classification, Birmingham
will reveal how AtStaff's patient acuity solution has adopted Nursing
Outcomes Classification (NOC) to automate outcomes-driven acuity
measurement and drive patients to positive clinical results.

   Developed at the University of Iowa's College of Nursing, NOC is a
comprehensive, standardized language of patient/client outcomes
developed to evaluate the effects of nursing interventions. The
outcomes taxonomy provides an easy to use, clinically relevant
language that has been proven for more than 16 years of scientific
testing and clinical implementation. Each patient outcome includes a
list of indicators to evaluate a patient's status in relation to the
outcome, measured on a five-point Likert scale. The outcomes are
developed for use across the continuum of care, and may be used to
follow patients throughout a hospitalization or over an extended
period of time.

   "Incorporating NOC within AtStaff's ClairVia(R) Outcomes-Driven
Patient Acuity * is a huge breakthrough in the world of patient acuity
in several important ways," says Birmingham, who has nearly 25 years
of nursing leadership experience, and was involved in the initial
classification discussions in the mid-1980s. "First and foremost, it's
an acuity solution that focuses directly on each patient's condition
and outcomes progress, not on caregiver activity. It precisely
calculates workload for staffing levels and skill mix based on
patient-specific outcomes relevant to the clinical population, and
guiding each patient toward expected outcomes and length of stay.

   "Secondly, because it's based on NOC, it's based on the
industry-proven, patient outcomes taxonomy that supports and
complements established, evidence-based standards of care. And rather
than being a separate system that takes time and attention away from
patient care, it leverages the patient assessments that are already
part of professional nursing practice and patient documentation.

   "Also," Birmingham adds, "with ClairVia Patient Acuity, patient
outcomes assessments are automated directly from clinical
documentation systems via HL7 data connectivity. For healthcare
organizations not currently using an EMR, the software provides a
direct-entry screen. An audit process for inter-rater reliability and
staffing validation is built into the automation for ongoing
evaluation; this process replaces historically labor intensive paper

   This year alone, AtStaff has started 12 ClairVia Patient Acuity
implementation projects. Interest is mounting, Birmingham reports,
because of a heightened national focus on patient safety, and
increasing state staffing legislation requiring valid acuity
methodologies and direct caregiver involvement in system selection and

   ClairVia Patient Acuity will continue to capture the attention of
nursing leaders because it represents "a dramatic departure from
traditional acuity offerings that primarily track caregiver activities
and measure tasks performed," says Michael Warner, AtStaff's
co-founder and Chief Science Officer.

   "Traditional acuity systems are famous for not surviving," Warner
states. "Sooner or later, confidence among nursing is lost because of
a lack of validity, or because they require too much time away from
patient care. Confidence among both nursing and financial leaders may
also be lost because 'acuity creep' erodes both reliability and
validity. But by embedding patient acuity directly in the
documentation of nursing practice -- through patient outcomes
assessments -- ClairVia Outcomes-Driven Patient Acuity avoids these

   The most important and fundamental benefit of ClairVia Patient
Acuity, emphasizes Beth Pickard, AtStaff's President & Chief Executive
Officer, is that it addresses the overriding goal in healthcare:
achieving the best possible clinical outcome for each patient.

   "Our acuity solution enables caregivers to actively track and
drive each patient in real time along each improved, outcome phase of
care -- from the point of admission and all the way to discharge,"
Pickard says. "This is essential in consistently achieving positive
clinical results."

   Moreover, she says, ClairVia Patient Acuity provides the means for
ongoing staffing effectiveness analysis and process improvement --
which are vitally important to continually improve patient care

   "With ClairVia Patient Acuity, you have documented proof where and
why a patient deviates from the desired plan of care, and can pinpoint
the role of staffing in the deviation. Comparisons may be made for
similar patient groups across organizations to see whether patient
progress differs, and studies can identify variables and best
practices for optimal patient safety and progress toward the next
level of wellness."

   About the Institute on Nursing Informatics & Classification

   The 8th Institute on Nursing Informatics & Classification will be
held June 9-11, 2008 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The
conference provides an annual forum on advances in nursing informatics
and classification. Particular emphasis is placed on the actual use of
standardized language in clinical and educational settings. More
information can be obtained at

   (Due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and
paste this hyperlink into your Internet browser's URL address field.
Remove the extra space if one exists.)

   About Sharon Eck Birmingham, DNSc, RN

   Over Sharon Eck Birmingham's career of nearly 25 years, she has
held positions as nurse manager, director, chief nurse and adjunct
faculty in large academic medical centers. Birmingham's primary
clinical and administrative expertise has been in maternal child
health in both acute and ambulatory settings, with a focus on access
to and care for underserved women and their families. She has served
on the steering committee for Magnet Designation in two academic
medical centers.

   Birmingham's consultation experience includes: staffing and
scheduling, clinical quality and fiscal outcomes, unit-based research
implementation, CNO coaching and Magnet consultation.

   She obtained her bachelor's degree in Nursing and master's degree
in Nursing Administration from The University of Iowa. She obtained
her doctoral degree from Yale University with an emphasis on uses of
data in healthcare decision-making. Birmingham conducted her doctoral
dissertation on "The Effect of Nurse Staffing on Clinical,
Organizational and Financial Outcomes." This research won the Yale
School of Nursing Dissertation Prize.

   She is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor at The University of
North Carolina, School of Nursing in Healthcare Systems.

   About AtStaff and ClairVia(R)

   Healthcare management software systems from AtStaff serve more
than 1,200 healthcare organizations, medical facilities, nursing
departments and group practices.

   The company's set of ClairVia(R) demand management solutions for
the hospital enterprise marketplace improves quality of care, patient
safety and patient throughput by ensuring that patients receive the
exact, clinically appropriate level and amount of staffing care from
admission to discharge.

   AtStaff markets five ClairVia solutions:

   --  ClairVia Demand Manager

   --  ClairVia Outcomes-Driven Patient Acuity

   --  ClairVia Caregiver Assignment

   --  ClairVia eWork

   --  ClairVia Staff Manager

   More information on AtStaff and its ClairVia solutions is
available at

   * Patent Pending

AtStaff, Inc.
Stephen R. Werk, Director of Marketing
919-382-8282, ext. 205

Copyright Business Wire 2008
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