The era of Information technology and knowledge explosion that introduced the comprehensive and complicated information systems has brought drastic changes in the health care sector like all other industries. The attention towards patient’s safety has been increased and health care centers are pressurized to improve the efficiency and performance by standardizing the process and maintaining the quality of health care. One of these important changes and a new concept that emerged in the last decade in “Nursing Informatics.”
The purpose of writing this paper is to explore the importance of nursing informatics by studying the current and emerging meta-structures, concepts and tools of nursing informatics. In addition, this paper will also explain the importance of nursing informatics in areas like EHR, its meaningful use and standardized terminology that helps in improving the delivery of quality patient care.
The information technology also affected the field of health care and today it is has become an important part in the health care sector. Nurses played an active role in designing systems and implementing information technology in the field of nursing and this gave birth to the term nursing informatics.
This term “Nursing Informatics” was not very common in the nursing a decade ago. However, since then this field has emerged and become the most important constituent of delivering health care. A significant increase has been seen during the period of last ten years in the demand of nurse staff that is specialized in informatics. This is due to the reason that knowledge of nursing and specializing in informatics plays an important role in nursing activities, research and education. Today, nursing field considers nursing informatics as a science as well as a system consisting of data and complicated processes.
Definition — Nursing Informatics
According to the definition provided by International Informatics Association’s Interest Group on Nursing Informatics (1998) “Nursing Informatics is the integration of nursing, its information, and information management with information processing and communication technology, to support the health of people worldwide.”
Overview of Nursing Informatics
Nursing informatics basically centers on the concepts of data, knowledge, information and the wisdom. It is a technique that uses the information and knowledge of nursing to effectively represent, manage, utilize and communicate the data, knowledge, information and wisdom in the nursing activities.
Role and Goal of Nursing Informatics
The purpose of nursing informatics is to help not only nurses but also the consumers and patients in making decisions in all roles and settings. The main goal and idea behind nursing informatics is to improve the health conditions of individuals, families, communities and all populations with the help of managing and communicating the information to the right person at right time.
Relationship to Health Informatics
Nursing Informatics was recognized as a necessity for the registered nurses in 1992 by the American Nurses Association (ANA). This step made nursing informatics well established in the nursing industry and today it is considered a discipline specific informatics practice in the field of health informatics (McGonigle and Mastrian, 2011).
Meta-Structures of Nursing Informatics
As explained above, nursing informatics centers on four components, which are also called the meta-structures of nursing informatics (McGonigle and Mastrian, 2011). These are as follows:
1. Data: These are the separate units or entities that are neutrally described without any particular explanation or interpretation.
2. Information: Information is the organized and properly structured form of data that can be interpreted.
3. Knowledge: Information that is used to create, recognize and formalize relationships is known as knowledge. It focuses on the available known information.
4. Wisdom: It is the ability to appropriately apply the knowledge in the management and solution of human problems. It focuses on the right application of knowledge.
The difference between the two meta-structures knowledge and wisdom is that the knowledge focuses on the available known information while the wisdom focuses on the right application of the knowledge (McGonigle and Mastrian, 2011). For instance, there are several options in knowledge for controlling a nervous patient but wisdom is the ability of the nursing staff to choose and use the most appropriate option for controlling this particular patient.
Sciences Underpinning Nursing Informatics
Nursing Informatics is a combination of different sciences; that include information science, nursing science, computer science and cognitive science. This combination of sciences results in a unique blend and creates a specialty of nursing informatics. This blend is then used to collect, organize, interpret and process the nursing data, information and knowledge in order to provide quality health care to the patients (McGonigle and Mastrian, 2011).
Structured Language – Tool of Nursing Informatics
Structured Language is a tool for Nursing Informatics. Nursing knowledge can be gained by learning the ability to extract data, which is also the nursing phenomenon. However, collecting and organizing data, information and knowledge in different languages creates confusion in drawing the nursing phenomenon. Therefore, it is very important to have a universal language and vocabulary which have been formalized by American Nurse Association through a review process of the Committee on Nursing Practice Information Infrastructure (CNPII). Several methods and resources have been introduced to help in the operation of different systems, nomenclatures and concepts. The Informatics Nurse Specialists (INS) therefore, must have the ability to visualize the different functions that may be used for creating, organizing and interpreting data, information and knowledge (McGonigle and Mastrian, 2011).
Concepts and Tools from Information Science and Computer Science
Managing information is the basic and fundamental process in the informatics which includes filing, storing and managing data for different purposes. This data is managed by methods and informatics tools from computer and the information sciences are the key elements of nursing informatics. The data, information and knowledge are processed by the computers and information technology. This latest technology that consists of computer hard wares, soft wares and the competent network technologies that have derived from computer science, makes informatics different from the traditional information management systems.
Concepts Related to Human Computer Interaction
The interaction of human to the computer, known as “Human-Computer Interaction” (HCI) and the ergonomics concepts are very important for the Informatics Nurse Specialists (INS). The element Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is linked with different sciences that include social psychology, psychology and other cognitive sciences. The usability of the computer is also important in nursing informatics as it addresses the effectiveness and efficiency of using an application in the computer. Several publications have been published during the last five years regarding the number of human computer interaction (HCI) and the usage of technology in health care. Vendors have also installed the laboratories where the usability testing is performed to check their products into the lifecycle of their systems.
Importance of Nursing Informatics
Nursing Informatics plays a critical role in all areas of nursing; this paper will discuss the importance of nursing informatics in Electronic Health Record (EHR), the meaningful use of NI and Standardized Terminology.
Importance of Nursing Informatics in Standardized Terminology
Standardized Terminology can be defined as the collection or body of the terms that are used in nursing. There are different types of nursing terminologies that include formal as well as informal terminologies. These standardized terminologies of nursing allow nurse staff to collect, represent, and access and communicate the data, information and knowledge. Examples of the standardized terminologies include Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC), Nursing Outcomes Classification (NOC) and North American Nursing Diagnosis Association International (NANDA-I).
The benefits of standardized terminologies in nursing include; effective communication between the health care professionals, visibility of nursing involvement, appropriate data collection to evaluate the nursing output, check on the standards of care and ultimately the improvement in the quality of patient care (Schiwirian and Thede, 2011). It is important to note that all these goals can be achieved if the systems used for recording data are in congruence with the standardized terminologies of nursing. Therefore, is very crucial to use the latest technology systems by applying the Nursing Informatics and record all data and information using the standardized terminologies. This way the required knowledge and information can be accessed easily by the other health professionals.
Importance of Nursing Informatics in Electronic Health Record (EHR)
Using Nursing Informatics which is equipped with the latest advances in the information technology has also been very helpful when implemented in Electronic Health Record (HER) systems. Electronic Health Record can be simply defined as the collection of all the interactions of an individual with the health care system that are recorded electronically.
This secure and confidential information is available to the health care providers and professionals in all parts of the country. Electronic Health Record helps nurses in decision making when providing care to the individuals by giving access to the health information of the clients. In addition, it also allows data entry and electronic access to the available scientific knowledge.
Nursing Informatics is very essential for the Electronic Health Records because it plays a significant role in the generating, managing and processing the relevant data for making knowledge and information that…