Before the emergence of the use of the computer system and the storage of health records electronically, the entry and retrieval of data were done manually by the use of a pen and paper. The entry of records was efficient at the time, but now it cannot work with technological advancements everywhere (Sipes, 2016). Besides, the use of pen and paper had numerous disadvantages such as there were lack of backups and limited security of information, inconsistent layout, time-consuming, and highly prone to errors (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). In the age of technological advancements in healthcare informatics, the entry and retrieval of healthcare records can only be done by the click of a computer using a mouse (Sipes, 2016). An example is a laboratory inputting lab results that are easily accessible by all the teams who may be taking care of a patient.
The implementation of the strategy of the use of a backup system is necessary since every technological device may be prone to fail at some point leading to the loss of medical records. There should be the availability of an allowance in the operability of the whole system in case the system needs maintenance at some point (Mosier et al., 2019). Without a backup system, the last resort would be going back to the pen and paper methodology. With the continued evolution of nursing informatics as a specialty, the future of nursing seems bright since manual tasks are being replaced with the use of electronic devices (Mosier et al., 2019). The replacement assures people of improved quality, more productivity, and a reduction in costs (Sipes, 2016). The professional interaction will ensure that there is the execution of processes within a minimal period and with the expected quality level hence an overall improvement of service delivery in the healthcare system.
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2017). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Mosier, Sammie, DHA, MA, BSN, NE-BC, CMSRN, BC, Roberts, Wm., Dan PhD, RN, et al. (2019). A Systems-Level Method for Developing Nursing Informatics Solutions: The Role of Executive Leadership. Journal of Nursing Administration, 49, 543-548. https://doi.org/10.1097/NNA.0000000000000815
Sipes, C. (2016). Project Management: Essential Skill of Nurse Informaticists. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 225, 252–256.
For the purposes of this paper, the technology or data specialist in this case will be referred to as the nurse informaticist. Any interaction between the nurse informaticist and the other professionals in the healthcare organization cannot be talked about if the role of the former has not been defined. The nurse informaticist is a relatively recent role for the advanced practice nurse and involves responsibility for all technological applications used in healthcare.
The informaticist professional is responsible for the seamless capturing of patient data, adherence to and enforcement of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), access to the technological systems and installation or upgrading of any of the systems such as the electronic health record or EHR system (Alotaibi & Federico, 2017; McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). Since the use of technology to capture patient data is already mandated by law, this means that the nurse informaticist must literally communicate with all the other healthcare professionals in the organization.
Continuous Education (CE)
Being the healthcare professional with both the technological and medical knowledge, the nurse informaticist is a valuable resources person who regularly gives presentations to staff on how systems are to be used. She teaches the applicability of the systems and their benefits to patients, staff, and the organization. This is one way in which she interacts with the other healthcare professionals in the organization.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
As she is the custodian of all the technological systems used in the healthcare organization, she is also the person responsible for designing and disseminating the standard operating procedures or SOPs to be used by all staff when accessing the technology systems. This means that she will also have to interact with the other staff through tools such as internal emails or memos.
Giving Individual Access or Passwords
The nurse informaticist is the gatekeeper of all technological systems within the healthcare organization. These include principally the certified electronic health record technology or CEHRT system as well as the clinical decision support or CDS system. For any individual employee in the organization to have access to the system (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, and so on), they must be given a unique password by the nurse informaticist. She will therefore also interact with them individually at this level.
As the other healthcare professionals utilize the system functionalities such as the CPOE (computerized provider order entry), PDMS (patient data management system), BCMA (bar code medication administration), and eMAR (electronic medication administration record); they will encounter challenges here and there. The only resource person that they will consult first for troubleshooting will be the nurse informaticist. This is therefore yet another way in which she interacts with the other healthcare professionals.
New Technology Applications or Improvements (Project Management)
Last but not least, the nurse informaticist is responsible for any new project involving installation of a new system or upgrading of an existing one. This essentially makes them the project manager (Sipes, 2016). They will thus interact with the other healthcare professionals by informing them of the impending change and also educating them of the need for the same.
One strategy for improving the above interactions is to strengthen the technology units taught in the basic courses for all healthcare professionals. This will enable them to see the nurse informaticist as a valuable resource and not as a nuisance. The continued evolution of nursing informatics will impact professional interactions in that data will play a very crucial role (Wang et al., 2018). The medium of communication will henceforth be electronic data.
Alotaibi, Y., & Federico, F. (2017). The impact of health information technology on patient safety. Saudi Medical Journal, 38(12), 1173–1180. https://doi.org/10.15537/smj.2017.12.20631Links to an external site.
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K.G. (2017). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge, 4th ed. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Sipes, C. (2016). Project management: Essential skill of nurse informaticists. Nursing Informatics, 252-256. https://doi.org/10.3233/978-1-61499-658-3-252Links to an external site.
Wang, Y., Kung, L., & Byrd, T.A. (2018). Big data analytics: Understanding its capabilities and potential benefits for healthcare organizations. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 126(1), 3–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2015.12.019Links to an external site.
Information technology has enhanced healthcare by utilizing various applications to gather, store, and retrieve data as needed. When collected and used effectively, these data can impact nursing care’s productivity, efficiency, performance, effectiveness, cost, and value (Mosier, Roberts & Englebright, 2019). Data gathering has significantly improved the healthcare environment in this era of nursing practice because of nursing informatics. Although information technologies have many advantages for improving the standard of patient care, they can easily jeopardize the patients’ care if they are not timely and accurately used, as in your case. Decision-making based on outdated data delays care and worsens patients’ conditions.
Mosier, S., Roberts, W. D., & Englebright, J. (2019). A systems-level method for developing Nursing Informatics Solutions: The role of executive leadership. The Journal of nursing administration. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31651614/.