Gail Keenan

Gail Keenan, PhD, RN, FAAN

R. Murray And Annabel Davis Jenks Endowed Professor & Chair

Department: Family, Community and Health Systems Science
Business Phone: (352) 273-6352
Business Email:

About Gail Keenan

Gail Keenan was named the R. Murray and Annabel Davis Jenks Endowed Professor for Teaching and Research in Clinical Nursing Excellence in September 2014, and then named Chair of the Department of Family, Community and Health System Science in January 2018. Keenan is an international leader in nursing informatics whose work has helped improve electronic communications among health care teams. Keenan’s research program focuses on continuously refining a “big picture” standardized clinical data set to provide a summary of patient care, support day-to-day communication between members of the care team and universalize electronic health records. As a recipient of more than $7.5 million in research funding, Keenan has focused her research on creating and implementing useful electronic health records. Specifically, her research team has built and refined an electronic plan of care method — HANDS — designed to improve the consistency of documentation and handoff communication.

Keenan holds key policy-related leadership roles. She serves as chair of the clinical information systems work group and is co-chair of the nursing work group policy task force for the American Medical Informatics Association. She is also a member and past chair of the American Nurses Association Committee on Nursing Practice Information Infrastructure. Keenan also serves as president and CEO of Healthteam IQ, a plan of care software product and training module that can be used alone or as a component of any electronic health record. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.


Continuously refining and expanding a simple universal automated method for collecting a “Big Picture” standardized clinical data set (HANDS) for the multiple purposes of:

– Providing a current and historical summary of care wherever the patient presents that is always in the same format and utilizes standardized terminologies – Supporting day to day communication and handoffs (SHARER) of members of the patient’s care team within and across settings – Connecting universally to all EHRs – Generating standardized data for use in evaluating care, identifying and disseminating best practices, and benchmarking across systems

Building and continuously improving methods of analyzing standardized data captured in HANDS and translating this into meaningful and immediately useful decision support at the point of care.

Demonstrating the impact of the HANDS “Big Picture” method on reducing the cost of care for chronically ill patients (sickle cell, cardiac, eol and others)

Demonstrating the value of HANDS data in identifying nurse training and competency needs as well as providing rationale for appropriate staffing

Enabling wide scale diffusion of HANDS into education/practice

She is currently involved in the following research activities:

Dr. Keenan’s research focuses on developing and refining a feasible automated methodology for collecting a standardized clinical data set for the purpose of improving the planning, delivery, cost and health outcomes of nursing care across the continuum. She is currently involved in the following research activities:

HANDS Research Project

Refinement of a web based software and method for nurses to document their patient care in the electronic health record and communicate with other members of the interdisciplinary team. The Hands-on Automated Nursing Data System (HANDS) is a standardized plan of care method in which the patient’s plan is updated at every nurse hand-off allowing the interdisciplinary team to track the story about care and progress toward desired outcomes in a standardized format across time and units. The HANDS Method includes a standardized interface, database, rules of data entry and rules for use of the plan in hand-offs and in interdisciplinary communication. The HANDS related research and researchers have been nominated and received numerous awards. The research agenda is currently funded by NINR for a 4 year R01 focused on thoroughly evaluating HANDS standardized data (through datamining and statistical analyses) and generating best practices and benchmarks for EOL hospitalized patients. Also the research grant is funding the immediate translation of findings into useful and meaningful decision support at the point of care.

Honors & Awards

2013 · American Academy of Nursing
2012 · North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA)
2009 · Journal of Nursing Scholarship Health Policy and Systems
2006 · Summer Institute for Nursing Informatics, University of Maryland
2005 · Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Executive Fellows Program
2005 · American Medical Informatics Association
2004 · Midwest Nursing Research Society
2003 · HealthCare Informatics
1987-1994 · UIC School of Public Health Department of Health Resources Management

Board Certifications

  • Registered Nurse
    State of Illinois


2017 AMIA … Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium
2015 Proceedings (IEEE International Congress on Big Data)


Sep 2019 ACTIVE
Tailored Clinical Decision Support Formats Designed to Improve Palliative Care for Cancer and Chronically Ill Patients: A Pre-Clinical Test
NATL INST OF HLTH NINR · Principal Investigator
Apr 2019 ACTIVE
Advancing Interdisciplinary Science of Aging through Identification of Iatrogenic Complications: The UF EHR Clinical Data Infrastructure for Enhanced Patient Safety among the Elderly (UF-ECLIPSE)
Sep 2014 – Jun 2016
Describing, Contrasting, & Visualizing End-of-life Care
UNIV OF ILLINOIS · Principal Investigator


Postdoctoral Fellowship
1994-1996 · University of Iowa
1994 · University of Illinois, Chicago
Master of Science in Nursing Service Administration
1983 · University of Illinois, Chicago
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
1977 · Rutgers University
1971 · St. Anthony School of Nursing

Contact Details

(352) 273-6352