Informatics in Nursing and Healthcare
Informatics Functional Areas
Modern day healthcare has changed into big business and that big business is customer service driven and patient safety oriented. However, new research approximations reveal that up to 440,000 Americans are dying annually from preventable hospital errors. (Hospital Safety Score, 2013) That said preventable medical errors now rank as being the third foremostleading cause of death in the United States. (Hospital Safety Score, 2013) The response to this news is evident in the underscoring of new governmental policy changes and intense oversight. For example, the explosion of healthcare related technologies centered on the patient, such as the development of electronic health record (EHR). The promise of improved clinical decision making support tools aimed at reducing medical errors, cost, and waste along with a new found push for patients to safeguard themselves and their families from harm in a healthcare settings has created its own set of issues. Nursing informatics specialists working in areas of development are essential to bridging the gap that exists between patient safety, governmental healthcare goals and end user acceptance.
Roles and Duties
The electronic health record (EHR) is a documentation tool that yields data beneficial in augmenting patient safety level, evaluating care quality, maximizing efficiency, and assessing staffing needs.(Lavin, Harper, & Barr, 2015) However there exist many issues that inhibit healthcare providers, associations, and patients from truly recognizing the overwhelmingly beneficial impact they could have. Nursing informatics plays a pivotal in role in filling the gap between third party software developers and bedside caregivers. Lavin et al. (2015) stated that, “If patient safety is to be optimized through EHR use, effective collaboration between nurses and health information technology (HIT) staff is needed, along with greater clarity of the patient safety perspective that direct care nurses offer”. Therefore, the role of the nursing informatics member is to essentially attach meaning to raw health care data by way of their own experiences with clinical reasoning, clinical judgments, patient interventions and finally patient responses to outcomes. (Lavin et al., 2015)Another example of duties related to nursing informatics would be in “voicing nursing’s concerns; improving basic informatics education; reviewing and advancing nursing sensitive EHR technology; increasing collaboration between health IT and nursing standards; and making nursing practice visible” (Lavin et al., 2015, np).
Personal Attributes, Interests, Knowledge and Background
I have always had great interests and higher levels of aptitude in the field of technology. I grew up building computers from some of my earliest memories. Therefore, my mind naturally understands computers and software. As a professional nurse, I have had to learn both written and electronic methods used for patient charting and can respect the pros and cons of each modality. I understand and embrace the process by which nurses think and act while delivering patient care. By focusing my attention to the development and creation of an EHR, I offer the intrinsic ability to embed the fundaments of nursing into such development.
The role of the nurse informaticist differs among associations and organizations so the need for proficiencies and skills are contingent on the organization’s requirements. However, the three skills that I think I should further develop are in the context of change management, workflow documentation, and requirements gathering. For example, “using change management processes will help to move the transition of the users from current state to future state more manageable. The use of change management processes will also allow the users and the organization to understand the impact and prepare them to deal with the change.” (Lavin et al., 2015) Additionally, workflow documentation is essential for many reasons. Lavin et al. (2015) stated that, “knowing how to obtain and document requirements is critical to the success of a project as it outlines the current and future needs of the users and the organization”. Lastly, a strong understanding and proficient skill set with applications such as Microsoft Viso will help to become a leader in all aspects of the system life cycle.
As we endeavor to expand on and improve the quality, safety and cost of care, the capacity to share data across healthcare environments, payers, policy advocates, and with healthcare consumers is becoming a vital element of health information technology (IT). Nurses working in the field of nursing informatics along with their clinical backgrounds, will help brdge the gaps and making change easier.
Hospital Safety Score. (2013). Hospitals errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. . Retrieved from http://www.hospitalsafetyscore.org/newsroom/display/hospitalerrors-thirdleading-causeofdeathinus-improvementstooslow
Keenan, G. M. (in press). Big data in health care: An urgent mandate to change nursing EHRs! Online Journal of Nursing Informatics.
Lavin, M. A., Harper, E., & Barr, N. (2015). Health information technology, patient satey, and professional nursing care documentation in acute care settings. Online Journal of Issue in Nursing, 20. http://dx.doi.org/10.3912/OJIN.Vol20No02PPT04
Sidebottom, A. C., Collins, B., Winden, T. J., Knutson, A., & Britt, H. R. (2012, April). Reactions of nurses to the use of electronic health record alert features in an inpatient setting. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 30, 218-226.