Feature Stories 2018: Big data for better health

Joohyun Chung
An assistant professor in the nursing program, Joohyun Chung works to better manage patient care through the use of big data.
Feature Stories 2018: Big data for better health
Big data for better health

Improving patient care through informatics and electronic health records

By Adrienne Wartts

Biostatistician Joohyun Chung, assistant professor of nursing, is working to bring electronic health records (EHRs) into the classroom and to use their data to improve healthcare.

An EHR creates a single, digital record of a patient’s medical history that can be updated in real time and available to any caregiver with access to the system. “The wide adoption of EHRs has led us to emphasize the use of informatics as a core competency required of not only nurses, but also all healthcare professions,” said Chung.

Chung recently received a $7,500 grant from Community Engaged Research for her study of the effects of using academic EHRs with nursing undergraduates. She is working on the project with SouthCoast Health in New Bedford.

Chung also helps nurses use EHRs to improve psychiatric care of teenagers at Bradley Hospital. Using information extracted from EHRs, Chung has developed a rating scale for managing aggressive patients ages 13 to 18 years. “This helps us determine if the use of restraint or seclusion is necessary or can be avoided,” she said.

This is just one example of how information contained in large numbers of nursing notes that are available on EHRs can improve patient care, she said.

“We try to discover hidden knowledge from big data so we can use this information to best manage patient care,” said Chung. “Because the amount of available data is so vast, critical thinking and using tools that better enhance our ability to manage patient care based on meaningful data are important.”

More information: College of Nursing