Nursing Informatics In Health Care

Healthcare technology presents several opportunities for transforming and advancing healthcare quality and safety. However, healthcare organizations must be selective in the technologies they invest in, as some technologies have demonstrated limited efficacy in improving patient safety and quality of care (Feldman et al., 2018). Healthcare technologies, particularly electronic health information, significantly facilitate effective clinical and healthcare decision-making by ensuring that the necessary healthcare information is readily accessible. Nevertheless, healthcare technologies are sophisticated and require expertise and skills to use effectively. As healthcare organizations commence to implement healthcare technologies, it is frequently uncertain where human and fiscal efforts should be focused. This paper will focus on justifying the need for a nurse informaticist in a healthcare organization and evidence-based strategies to manage protected health information effectively.

Nursing Informatics and the Nurse Informaticist

Nursing informatics encompasses the science and practice of integrating nursing information and knowledge with technology to control and integrate health information. The American Nurses Association defines nursing informatics as  “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” (Hussey, 2021). Nursing informatics principally aims at improving people’s health while lowering the cost of healthcare. Additionally, nursing informatics develops ways and technologies for the collection, processing, and study of patient information. Nurse informaticists refer to nurse specialists that work with healthcare software and hardware to process, store, and retrieve data to optimize healthcare delivery and improve patient outcomes. 

Nurse informaticists play elemental roles in healthcare. Nurse informaticists, for instance, support nurses, interprofessional teams, patients, and other healthcare stakeholders in their decision-making roles to optimize healthcare delivery and patient outcomes. Through their comprehensive understanding of clinical processes and workflows, nurse informaticists ensure optimal data maximization and application of technology in daily nursing practice. Similarly, nurse informaticists design, test and implement system technologies. Additionally, nurse informaticists serve as a link between healthcare staff and information technology experts. Nurse informaticists further participate in the education of other nurses in matters regarding informatics as well as the formulation of policies and standards. Finally, informaticists serve as project managers and researchers and assess user requirements to enable the smooth transition from one healthcare technology to the next.

Nurse Informaticists and Other Health Care Organizations

Nurse informaticists work in several areas, such as hospitals, nursing schools, clinics, healthcare consulting firms, IT companies, and long-term care facilities. Nurse informaticists are central to assisting members of these organizations to integrate new information technology applications into daily workflows, enhancing efficiency and productivity. The implementation of new healthcare technologies has been met with a lot of barriers in several healthcare organizations, particularly due to “old school” and resistant employees. However, with nurse informaticists, these employees have been supported and educated to navigate through the new healthcare technologies. Nurse informaticists, through interaction with interdisciplinary teams, play a crucial role in ensuring the continuous development and improvement of healthcare technology. Nurses require information to care for patients safely. In collaboration with interdisciplinary teams, nurse informaticists ensure effective communication, which is inarguably one of the most vital aspects of patient safety. As many healthcare organizations shift to value-based care, nurse informaticists have become critical personnel as they focus on various technical areas to better support patients, nursing staff, and other healthcare providers.

Impact of Full Nurse Engagement in Health Care Technology

The involvement of nurses in healthcare technology significantly impacts patient care. Nurses are usually at the forefront of delivering patient care. According to Darwish et al. (2021), the involvement of nurses in healthcare technology significantly enhances patient safety by reducing medication errors. Additionally, full nurse engagement in healthcare technology reduces inefficiencies during healthcare delivery which considerably reduces the cost of healthcare. Furthermore, fully engaging nurses in healthcare technology allow for greater healthcare service delivery. For instance, with the widespread utilization of healthcare technology, patients in remote places can now access healthcare services readily and at an affordable price. Likewise, nurse engagement in healthcare technology increases the nurse’s productivity and job satisfaction, which motivates the nurse, leading to high-quality care. Finally, nurse engagement in healthcare fosters effective communication, which facilitates care coordination and interprofessional collaboration as well as a patient-centered decision-making system.

Protected Health Information

Protected health information (PHI) refers to “the data that relates to the past, present or the future health of an individual, the provision of healthcare to an individual or the payment for the provision of healthcare to an individual” (HIPAA Journal, 2022). The sensitive and valuable nature of PHI dictates that it is prone to security threats and therefore, must be protected from unauthorized access. HIPAA requires that all covered entities safeguard and secure patient health information. Consequently, several strategies have been proposed by the HIPAA that, when implemented, ensure the privacy, security, and confidentiality of protected health information. These evidence-based strategies include a firewall, a spam filter, an antivirus, data encryption, an intrusion detection system, disaster recovery controls, secure messaging platforms, vulnerability scanning, good patch management software, and extensive backups (HIPAA Journal, 2022). According to Kayaalp (2018), data encryption ensures information is only accessed by authorized personnel only while a spam filter blocks malware and malicious emails. Similarly, an intrusion detection system monitors irregular network activity while a web filter protects employees from accessing malicious websites. Furthermore, an antivirus blocks and detects malware, whereas extensive backups safeguard against the loss of patient information. On the other hand, good patch management policies ensure that software is up to date. Moreover, staff should be enlightened on security and anti-phishing. Finally, a secure messaging platform can be adapted to encrypt all communications. According to Kayaalp (2018), no single strategy can be implemented to secure patient information; therefore, they must be used in combination for maximum effectiveness.

Regarding the workflow and return on investment, nurse informaticists analyze issues related to the organization’s workflow and monitor the system to ensure a smooth workflow. Additionally, they design and develop systems that provide solutions to the inefficiencies in healthcare organizations (Hussey, 2021). A vast majority of healthcare organizations have currently recognized the central role of healthcare technology in ensuring quality and safe patient care. As such, most of these organizations have incorporated the position of nurse informaticist as the benefits significantly outweigh the risks (Hussey, 2021).

Opportunities and Challenges

The addition of a nurse informaticist provides a golden opportunity for the improvement of patient care and safety. For instance, the nurse informaticist will ensure accurate data capture, support patients, and facilitate care coordination. Additionally, the nurse informaticist will actively ensure a smooth transition to new healthcare technologies. Moreover, the nurse informaticist will considerably enlighten other nurses and the interdisciplinary team and act as a link between the nursing staff and the IT experts. However, adding a nurse informaticist can be quite challenging for the nurses and the interdisciplinary team. Such challenges include learning the team dynamics, being overloaded with information, fitting into the company’s culture, poor work-life balance, staff conflict, and lack of motivation. Additionally, adding a new employee can be costly in terms of resources. Nevertheless, the interdisciplinary team can collaborate to improve healthcare quality care outcomes through technology in several ways. Firstly, the interdisciplinary team can exploit healthcare technologies to ensure effective communication, which is critical for collaboration. Additionally, the team must use healthcare technologies such as clinical decision supports systems to ensure shared and effective decision-making. Finally, the interdisciplinary team can participate in the formulation of policies that enhance collaboration.

Summary of Recommendations

The nurse informaticist plays an elemental role in the healthcare industry. The nurse informaticist focuses on several technical areas to better support patients, nursing staff, and other healthcare providers. Nurse informaticists further contribute to the continuous development and evolution of healthcare technologies as well as facilitate a smooth transition to new healthcare technologies (Young, 2021). Additionally, nurse informaticists enlighten nursing staff on the effective use of healthcare technologies and provide a link between the healthcare staff and IT experts. Likewise, nurse informaticists are responsible for system development, project management, system optimization and utilization, and quality initiative planning and reporting. Finally, nurse informaticists facilitate effective communication, which is elemental for healthcare decision-making and care coordination (Young, 2021).

Conclusion

Healthcare technologies significantly enhance patient safety and quality care. A nurse informaticist plays an essential role in ensuring benefits of healthcare technology are accrued. Protected health information is valuable and sensitive and therefore must be secured. Nurses should be fully engaged in healthcare technology. Finally, healthcare organizations should consider nurse informaticists’ position.

 

 

References

Darwish, T., Korouri, S., Pasini, M., Cortez, M. V., & IsHak, W. W. (2021). Integration of advanced health technology within the healthcare system to fight the global pandemic: Current challenges and future opportunities. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience18(1–3), 31–34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/34150361

Feldman, S. S., Buchalter, S., & Hayes, L. W. (2018). Health information technology in healthcare quality and patient safety: Literature review. JMIR Medical Informatics6(2), e10264. https://doi.org/10.2196/10264

HIPAA Journal. (2022, March 13). How to secure patient information (PHI). HIPAA Journal. https://www.hipaajournal.com/secure-patient-information-phi/

Hussey, P. (2021). Introduction to Nursing Informatics. In Health Informatics (pp. 1–13). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58740-6_1

Kayaalp, M. (2018). Patient privacy in the era of big data. Balkan Medical Journal35(1), 8–17. https://doi.org/10.4274/balkanmedj.2017.0966

Young, S. (2021, February 2). A nurse informaticist: 3 essential responsibilities. Health Catalyst. https://www.healthcatalyst.com/insights/nurse-informaticist-3-essential-responsibilities

 

Need the best writers to help you with your nursing assignments? Worry no more, At online nursing paper writers we offer the best writing services with affordable prices. Contact us today for the best deals!