A Day in the Life of a Clinical Informaticist

by Darcy Bowling RN, CI-Surgery Clinical Informaticist and  Maria Fera RN, BSN CI- Nursing Clinical Informaticist 

With the implementation of our EHR in June of 2013, Clinical Informatics has definitely been an up and coming department consisting of a diverse team of clinicians.  To sustain an EHR, our Clinical Informatics team requires expert knowledge from all departments within the organization. The diverse expertise of a Clinical Informatics team (CI) allows clinicians and providers within the entire health system to use an electronic health record that enhances patient safety and provides efficiency in documentation and continuity of care across all disciplines.

Often times, our clinical peers at the hospital ask “So what exactly do you do now??”  Well, that’s not always a simple answer…..Below are just a few of the tasks and expectations of a CI on any given “typical day” (if there is such a thing):

  • Attend safety huddle every morning to address Clinical Documentation Workflow Concerns and System issues that pose safety risks to the patients.
  • Attend Hospital Committee Meetings to stay up to date on changes within the hospital so that we can adjust the system to flow with those changes.
  • Support of end users through rounding with clinicians and providers. We use this opportunity to answer questions and hear suggestions from the end users for enhancements or concerns from the trenches that we use to develop our own recommendations for enhancements.
  • Identify difficult workflows within the EHR and develop quick reference guides and tip sheets to help end users.
  • Collaborate with other CIs locally and nationally within Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) in order to ensure a standardized EHR across all CHI Markets.
  • Communicate with end users and super users about ways to enhance the system and communicate status of future enhancement updates.
  • Work closely with national Cerner architect/analyst team for design, build, testing and implementation of enhancements and break fix changes.
  • Manage and lead mini projects that affect the electronic health record such as implementation of ICD-10, Health Touch, and Patient Portals.
  • Consistently review quality data metrics for Meaningful Use measures and attestation.

While the above list of “things to do today” is plenty to keep up with, there are always those days where a CI is pulled away from the task at hand and has to roll with the punches, so to speak, and assist with any unplanned down-times or Regulatory visits.  A day in the life of a Clinical Informaticist is never static and one day very rarely is representative of what will come the next.  Multi-tasking is key to being successful in the field and a 40 hour work week often becomes 60 hours in the blink of an eye!  Just as healthcare is ever evolving, Clinical Informatics is always keeping the pace to ensure new practices, policies and procedures that come along are backed up with an intuitive availability for documentation in the EHR.

Darcy Bowling RN, CI-Surgery Clinical Informaticist, Kentucky OneHealth, SJH, SJE, SJJ and CCH

Maria Fera RN, BSN CI- Nursing Clinical Informaticist, Kentucky OneHealth, SJH, SJE, SJJ and CCH

About Christel Anderson

Christel Anderson, is HIMSS Director, Clinical Informatics
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