So much of what you do as a nurse centers on comforting and healing, but in today's healthcare landscape, you need data just as much as heart to be effective. Nurse informaticists analyze data to derive actionable information that enhances, improves and redefines care.
The Value and Benefit of Combining Technology With Patient Care
Since the adoption of computers in hospitals in the 1970s, technology has become an indispensable part of healthcare. HIMSS contributor Cristina Cassano notes that technology is now being integrated into clinical applications that more directly affect patient care. Massive amounts of information are available from electronic health records alone, yet the challenge remains how to standardize that information and transform it into usable intelligence.
Currently, many nurses receive some static data related to their patients' care like end-of-shift reports or monthly scorecards, according to "The Promise of Big Data: Improving Patient Safety and Nursing Practice" published in Nursing2019. However, this data isn't enough to show patterns or trends in an easily accessible way. Rather, nurses need real-time information from a variety of sources, aggregated and synthesized to identify potential improvements.
Nurse Informaticists Play a Big Part
Using computers and statistical analysis software, nurse informaticists analyze big data to identify patterns and opportunities for improvement in their institutions, populations and communities. Then they share those insights to reduce preventable harm, create new processes and increase efficiency, according to Andrea Lea, author of "The Role of Informatics in Nursing" published on Nursing Made Incredibly Easy.
Nurse informaticists use big data to research, report and implement changes like revising infection control protocols, designing interventions for at-risk populations, reducing surgical site infections, and identifying sepsis faster.
These tech-savvy nurses also serve as the link between information technology professionals and healthcare providers. Their knowledge bridges different disciplines, and from that knowledge, nurse informaticists offer a unique wisdom to their colleagues and patients.
Nurse informaticists do more than integrate and analyze different types of data and manage information and technology. They collaborate with healthcare providers in various roles; apply research, critical thinking skills and evidence-based practice; consider multiple factors that affect care delivery including social, cultural, legal and ethical; and lead change to better the outcomes for patients, populations and healthcare systems.
Nurse informaticists advance nursing practice and create processes to help other nurses deliver excellent care. In a nurse informaticist's hands, big data is an essential part of improving patient care and advancing professional nursing.
As a nurse informaticist, you can use technology to elevate the level of care for patients in measurable ways, but no tool or technology can ever replace the calling you have to care for people. Rather, better integration of technology into clinical practice can improve care in ways that haven't yet been imagined.
Sources:Lippincott Nursing Center: The Promise of Big Data: Improving Patient Safety and Nursing Practice
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