Dr. Rajesh Konnur
The technology in health care is increasingly becoming an integral part of the health care delivery system & is declared by strategists as a means whereby sustained improvement in healthcare outcomes can be attained. Nurses, through their role in patient care delivery, have a pivotal role in technology deployment, maintenance and evolution. Beside this supplying of technical information has also become one of their roles.
Scholes & Barber (1980) coined the term “nursing informatics”, defining as “the application of computer technology to all fields of nursing —- nursing services, nursing education & nursing research”.
A more recent definition that reflects current nursing practice comes from the International Medical Informatics Association (2009. It states that nursing informatics is “a science & practice (that) integrates nursing, its information and communication technologies to promote the health of people, families and communities worldwide.”
Brief Historical Concepts:
Informatics became a specialty in nursing in the early 1980s at U.S. with the introduction of health information systems (HIS) in hospitals. Information technology specialists were unable to operate these systems without the assistance of nurses because some of their functions required clinical knowledge for order entry and results reporting. As a result, Nursing Systems Coordinators (NSC) emerged as a specialized position within hospitals. NSCs would work alongside IT specialists until HIS was implemented; nursing staff were properly trained to use it. In recent years, as health information technologies become a routine part of the practice landscape in healthcare workplaces, there has been recognition that all nurses need competencies in nursing informatics; and indeed should enter the workforce prepared to use health information and communication systems (Bond, 2009).
Nursing Informatics (NI) is the specialty that integrates nursing science with multiple information, management and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage & communicate data, information, knowledge & wisdom in nursing practice.
Nursing Informatics supports nurses, consumers, clients, the inter professional healthcare team & other stakeholders in their decision-making in all roles & settings to achieve desired outcomes. This support is accomplished through the use of information, structure, information processes and information technology.
Tenets of Nursing Informatics:
- Distinct specialty practice and body of knowledge.
- Includes clinical and non – clinical aspects.
- Supports nurses to improve quality of care & welfare of healthcare consumers.
- Focus on delivering right information to right person at the right time.
- Human factors related concepts are interwoven in practice.
- Ensures confidentiality & security of data & information & advocates privacy.
- Promotes innovative, emerging & established information technology.
- Collaborates with & is closely linked to other health related informatics specialties.
Standards of Nursing Informatics:
Standards of Practice:
Standard 1: Assessment.
- The informatics nurse collects comprehensive data, information & emerging evidence.
Standard 2: Diagnosis, problems & Issues identification.
- The informatics nurse analyses assessment data to identify diagnosis, problems, needs, issues, & opportunities for improvement.
Standard 3: Outcomes Identification.
- The informatics nurse identifies expected outcomes for a plan customized for the healthcare consumer or the situation.
Standard 4: Planning.
- The informatics nurse develops a plan that prescribes strategies, alternatives & recommendations to attain expected outcomes.
Standard 5: Implementation.
- The informatics nurse implements the identified plan.
Standard 5A: Coordination of Activities.
- The informatics nurse coordinates planned activities.
Standard 5B: Health Teaching & Health Promotion.
- The informatics nurse employs informatics solutions & strategies for education & teaching to promote health and a safe environment.
Standard 5C: Consultation.
- The informatics nurse provides consultation to influence the identified plan, enhance the abilities of others & effect change.
Standard 6: Evaluation.
- The informatics nurse evaluates progress towards attainment of outcomes.
Standards of Professional performance:
Standard 7: Ethics.
- The informatics nurse practices ethically.
Standard 8: Education.
- The informatics nurse attains knowledge & competence that reflect nursing & informatics practice.
Standard 9: Evidence Based Practice and Research.
- The informatics nurse integrates evidence and research findings into practice.
Standard 10: Quality of Practice.
- The informatics nurse contributes to quality & effectiveness of nursing & informatics practice.
Standard 11: Communication.
- The informatics nurse communicates effectively in a variety of formats in all areas of practice.
Standard 12: Leadership.
- The informatics nurse demonstrates leadership in the professional practice setting & the profession.
Standard 13: Collaboration.
- The informatics nurse collaborates with the healthcare consumer, family & others in the conduct of nursing and informatics practice.
Standard 14: Professional Practice Evaluation.
- The informatics nurse evaluates their own nursing practice in relation to professional practice standards and guidelines, relevant statues, rules & regulations.
Standard 15: Resource Utilization.
- The informatics nurse employs appropriate resources to plan & implement nursing informatics and associated services that are safe, effective and fiscally responsible.
Standard 16: Environmental Health.
- The informatics nurse supports practice in a safe & healthy environment.
Nursing informatics specialists in a wide variety of settings ultimately aim at improving patient care delivery & the nursing practice experience. Today’s nurse informatics aims to improve patient care delivery outcomes through interventions on behalf of nurses and clients.