by Ruth Slater, RN, BSN, CPHIMS
The American Nurses Association (ANA)’s 2014 definition of nursing informatics (NI) is “the specialty that integrates Nursing Science with multiple information management and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice. NI supports nurses, consumers, patients, and the inter-professional health care team and other stake-holders in their …roles and settings to achieve desired outcomes…” (Bickford, 2014).
I would like to focus on what I believe are some of the most critical aspects of NI practice, which is the communication of information, knowledge and wisdom, and the support for decision-making. These represent the core of informatics practice and are what attracted me to the field. In addition, they also illustrate the following standards of NI practice: Standard 6,(evaluation), standard 9,(evidence based practice and research) and standard 10(quality of practice) (Bickford, 2014).
The nursing process is what defines professional nursing practice and is the key to providing quality nursing care. The nursing process is also the driving force of informatics practice. The evaluation portion of the nursing process lends itself to the informatics nurse who is inherently responsible for the monitoring of that technology and ensuring the support and delivery of safe and efficient evidence-based quality care.
The 2011 HIMSS informatics workforce survey found quality initiatives were among the top three functions for informatics practitioners (HIMSS, 2014). I would venture to say that this is even higher than the 21 percent that was listed by the survey, as the first two functions were system implementation and system development, both of which are quality driven. The HIMSS Position Statement says “together nurses and nursing informatics must lead and be visible, vocal and present at the table to achieve healthcare delivery transformation” (HIMSS, 2011). The cornerstone of this healthcare delivery transformation is carefully developed metrics and constant quality monitoring. The necessary leadership for this transformation must be provided through nursing informatics leaders in healthcare organizations that recognize the essential functions of quality and safety provided by nursing informatics.