We’re lucky to work alongside Karen Martin, RN, MSN, FAAN, Health Care Consultant, Martin Associates.

For a change, instead of us asking her questions, she asked us our thoughts on Nightingale Notes and the Omaha System.

We know the Omaha System is powerful, useful and capable, and how beneficial standardized terminology is, so Karen asked us about how we use it.

Karen Martin: To maximize the value of the Omaha System, the whole Omaha System needs to be used. That doesn’t mean every clinician needs to use every part, but the vendor definitely needs to include the whole Omaha System and make it available to the clinician. Would you agree?

Champ Software: We fully agree, yes. We know that not every clinician or department needs access to each section, or the whole part. That’s why we built Nightingale Notes on the Omaha System, rather than adding it on top of our EHR software.

In the process of helping our customers and doing our own research, we’ve learnt that EHR software vendors usually add support for the Omaha System afterwards, rather than building it in from the beginning.

This means that there are often large portions of the software that aren’t using the Omaha System, which means that there is often a need to add data again, in a cumbersome way, or perhaps even that data is missing.

KM: That makes a lot of sense. Having quantitative data demands that huge amounts of data are collected and processed, however that data remains largely in EHR ‘data cemeteries.’ That’s what we’ve really got to get away from. We have to move from collecting data, to using data. We need to convert data to information, knowledge, and wisdom. What are your thoughts on that

CS: ‘Data Cemeteries’…I like that phrase! We all want to find out information quicker, and to make sure that the information we’re using is up to date, accurate and reliable, so utilizing a standardized terminology is essential.

After all, if you can’t pull your data back out in reports to prove the effectiveness of a certain program, then your data is losing value.

KM: In the light of the recent, and high-profile data breaches such as Equifax, security is an increasing challenge. I think security starts with being able to stay in close touch with your EHR software vendor. What do you do to ensure Nightingale Notes remains secure yet easy to use?

CS: That’s a good question. We take customer, client and clinic data security extremely seriously. We have been asked about this a lot recently after the Butler County Health Department in Kansas ransomware attack.

We use several methods to ensure security, including the same level of encryption as used by banks. Nightingale Notes does not run off an individual PCs, but is ‘in the cloud’, on servers in a data center highly restricted areas out of state.

For added security, people who work at the data center need to have good reason to even be on the floor our servers are on, and then need to authenticate themselves before they can access the servers. There is also plenty of redundancy in case a hard drive ever fails.

Even if a clinician was to leave a laptop at a client’s house, all data would still be safe.

This all but eliminates the risk of client data being compromised.

In addition, our support team is in the US. We’ve heard that some of our competitors have an overseas support network. Or the company is so large that reaching an actual support person is hard.

Another thing customers really appreciate is that our support personnel know our customers and are always reachable.

KM: That’s a very sensible approach. What do you think about the fact that clinicians need to obtain and document accurate and consistent data, which is essential for clinician-clinician communication, for agency managers and other who want to use data to create reports, and so on? Do you think that EHR software needs to facilitate this?

CS: We do think that EHR software needs to facilitate that, yes. We know from speaking to clinicians, what their main challenges are, what changes would make their lives easier, and what we can do to benefit their clients.

We work hard to ensure that Nightingale Notes meets these needs to enable clinicians to focus on client care, rather than administration.

Having accurate, up to date and reliable data is essential when it comes to client care, and we’re making sure that Nightingale Notes makes it easy to identify, collate and share this data where required.

Reporting is such a big part of modern EHR software, and our customers tell us that being able to set up the custom reports they want to get the data they need is another reason why so many public health agencies choose Nightingale Notes.

KM: So, one of the goals is to use the Omaha System and Nightingale Notes EHR software to generate comparable, sharable data?

CS: Oh definitely. We’ve heard many stories from public health agencies who have learnt a lot, and been able to provide better client care thanks to shared data.

We’re always looking for ways to make finding and sharing data easier, to ensure that Nightingale Notes EHR software gives clinicians the information need to do their job better.

KM: What should people do if they want to know more about Nightingale Notes?

CS: They should visit www.champsoftware.com, or call (507) 388-4141, and tell us what they need their EHR software to do, and we’ll do our best to help them.

KM: That seems like a great place to end this discussion. Thank you very much for your insight.

CS: Thank you too. It’s not often we get to answer questions like these. It makes a real change.


We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Karen Martin for taking time to speak to us.

Unsurprisingly, it’s not just Karen Martin who’s keen to promote the benefits of using the Omaha System.

Karen Monsen, PhD, RN, FAAN recently presented on the subject of Empowering Local Health Departments to Address Health Inequity at the Michigan Premier Public Health Conference.

She talked about her experiences, and gave an insight into what Local Health Departments can achieve using the client data from their EHR and the Omaha System.