Last week, American Nurses celebrated Nurses Week and this week, Canadians are taking the time to celebrate the positive impact that nurses make every day on patient care with National Nurses Week (May 11–17).

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) has fittingly selected the theme 'Every Step' to connect stories and experiences of patients to nurses' work, which is undoubtedly essential to care coordination and guiding patients through each step of care provision.

I'm a nurse, I've worked in and managed many care settings, and I can tell you it's in our DNA to do whatever we can for our patients. Nurses are the physical link to all of the community resources with the patient. They're the ones that connect with patients when they need something immediately or miss an appointment. They are integral in follow-up care. But being there every step of the way hasn't always been so easy. Prior to the introduction of technologies like EMRs or clinical portals, it was extremely difficult to manage more than a handful of patients effectively.

Up until the last decade, nurses completed most of their administrative work by hand, which lead to record and test duplication, missed information or even lost reports. At times, patient information would come in, perhaps pressing and concerning, and they would then have to fax or relay that information to a third party by telephone. Yes, communication was happening, but not in a way that was efficient or secure for either the patient or the healthcare practitioner. Certainly the collection of patient data in any regulated way was difficult, meaning that working towards creating a healthier population was next to impossible.

Fast forward to today; healthcare IT has allowed nurses to successfully care for more patients and manage their health information far more efficiently and effectively. With patient information available through a number of devices, we are now able to receive updated records and are notified of discharge alerts in a timely manner.

For example, if an A1C test came back for one of my patients at a high level, at the same moment that I've received that information I'm able to notify the physician or even refer them to a diabetic counselor with one quick swipe. In short – I can provide my patients the proper coordinated care they deserve.

My role with Orion Health allows me to use my education and experience as a healthcare coordinator to make my clients as successful as possible through the use of our products and effectively create a workplace where healthier populations are possible.

As you can see, we've come a long way since the days of the dial tone – but there is still more to come. Nurses want healthcare IT platforms that are user-friendly, giving them all the information possible with only a couple clicks.

Nurses will continue to be there for you every step of the way, and Orion Health will be right beside them, working together to make their lives easier and our populations healthier.