Examples of Informatics in Nursing – Applying your Master of Science in Health Informatics
Nursing informatics is a field that has evolved as the use and storage of data have been integrated into the forefront of patient care and practice management. As technology has evolved over the years, so have examples of informatics in nursing.
Though the profession of nursing remains the same, the daily work of these healthcare professionals is heavily influenced by informatics, with special attention to the accuracy and communication of patient data and care.
What are some examples of informatics in nursing?
Examples of informatics in nursing demonstrate how much the field has evolved, and show how nurses have integrated the use of data and new technologies to improve patient outcomes.
Informatics is the practice of collecting, analyzing, and leveraging data more effectively, influencing the way care is delivered, how resources are managed, and the way teams operate each day.
One example of informatics in nursing can be observed in the relationship between provider and patient. The role of nurses as they integrate data from and communicate data to other providers such as other nurses, physicians, and pharmacists is vital to high-quality integrative patient care. There exists a close connection between nurse and patient in clinical settings, and nurses often feel the impact of changes in best practices more immediately than other healthcare professionals, as nurses frequently play the role of an information integrator.
The second example of informatics in nursing is the extent to which nurses are influenced by informatics, the science of how to use data, information, and knowledge to improve human health and the delivery of health care services. Nurses, in particular, are attuned to pay attention to the accuracy and communication of patient data and care.
Third, in nursing, as with healthcare in general, informatics is being used to address the many challenges of patient healthcare, including integrating wearable technologies – all of which significantly impact the way nurses provide patient care.
Technologies that have evolved due to health care/nursing informatics include:
- Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) – is an application that allows health care providers to use a computer to directly enter medical orders electronically. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMMS) reported that as a result of electronic charting, nurses are able to obtain information quickly and efficiently, using the information to improve the daily workflow. Storing the information electronically is more easily available to all members of the care team, including the physician and other care providers, as well as staff teams at other healthcare organizations that the patient may visit.
- Electronic medical records (EMRs) – are digital versions of the paper charts in clinician offices, clinics, and hospitals. Gone are the days of paper charts that had to be meticulously updated with handwritten notes. Today, nurses are more likely to input notes into electronic health records and other systems that keep a patient’s medical history up-to-date and easily accessible.
- Patient portals – secure online websites that give patients 24-hour access to their test results, medication records, and other personal health information. As the U.S. population becomes more mobile, it is increasingly important that their personal medical records can travel with them to any office or medical organization they may visit during their lifetime.
- Healthcare workflow management – provides better internal controls and greatly improved efficiency to reduce risk, increase compliance, improve productivity, and encourage efficiency. Health informatics is also an important part of care coordination in nursing. The ability to track staffing, workflow, and communication can help nurses to identify areas where current processes can be improved. This can also help ensure that staffing levels remain adequate, which is critical for providing patients with the best possible care. If the nurse-to-patient ratio drops too low, patients are more likely to suffer adverse results. Maintaining adequate levels helps nurses provide the best possible care each day without burning out.
- Machine learning – a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) focused on building applications that learn from data and improve their accuracy over time without being programmed to do so. Evidence-based practices have long been an essential part of nursing, and today, determining those best practices involves the use of health informatics. Analyzing the mass quantities of data collected regarding patient care and outcomes helps to determine how best to treat these conditions and situations in the future. The more data that is collected and analyzed, the more accurate the resulting conclusions tend to be, providing the best possible information for determining how best to care for patients in the future.
What is nursing informatics?
According to the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, a highly regarded peer-reviewed scientific journal, the revised definition of nursing informatics is as follows:
“Nursing informatics is a specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, and knowledge in nursing practice. Nursing informatics facilitates the integration of data, information, and knowledge to support patients, nurses, and other providers in their decision-making in all roles and settings. This support is accomplished through the use of information structures, information processes, and information technology.”
What is the goal of nursing informatics?
Beyond the definition, the goal of nursing informatics is to improve the health of populations, communities, families, and individuals by optimizing information management and communication.
This includes the use of information and technology in the direct provision of care, in establishing effective administrative systems, in managing and delivering educational experiences, in supporting lifelong learning, and in supporting nursing research.
The purpose of nursing informatics is also to analyze information requirements; design, implement and evaluate information systems and data structures that support nursing; and identify and apply computer technologies for nursing.
How did nursing informatics originate?
In the late 1980s, informatics nurse specialists were becoming more prevalent. Individuals were creating new roles and inserting themselves into new jobs and workflows, related primarily to the integration of computer technology into health care settings. Nurse informatics jobs were chiefly concerned with core concepts of managing and processing nursing data, information, and knowledge.
As technology has become more widely available, patients are taking a more active role in their health care, and clinical nurses are able to take advantage of the clinical information system to structure how they provide care.
Modern nurse informatics professionals need to consider pertinent theories, concepts, tools, and structures that are useful to the informatics nurse specialist, as well as take into account information structures such as taxonomies and other meaningful organization of information, as well as information technology, and the communication of information.
Nursing informatics is a complex and nuanced field, and informatics nurses are in high demand in the healthcare industry.
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