The use of informatics has become an essential component of providing quality healthcare. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has elected the use of informatics as its fifth and final core competency for healthcare providers. The utilization of informatics has become the main stream approach for nursing care today. This fifth core competency is directly intertwined with the four previous competencies that have been outlined by the IOM. Patient centered care is the first of the core competencies. Utilizing informatics can assist nurses in providing patient centered care by decreasing the amount of time spent on documentation and searching for data. For example, by having an electronic medical record (EMR) available, less time is spent on searching for lab results and information needed to provide care for the patient. Results are more readily available and communication between nursing, ancillary staff and providers is more fluid. This time saver can allow the nurse to spend more time at the bedside. The second core competency is to work in inter professional teams. The use of informatics plays a large part in the effectiveness of this competency. By focusing on electronic communication in which progress notes are available for everyone to see, it helps to ensure that everyone is up to date on the patient’s progress. This can be extremely beneficial when determining a safe discharge plan for the patient. By having progress notes readily available from the therapists, nursing, pharmacy and so forth, one can feel confident that the patient will be discharged safely. The patient may feel that they are able to handle being at home alone, when in fact the therapists are recommending an interim stay at rehab. By having informatics available it helps the interdisciplinary team approach work more effectively. Evidence based practice (EBP) is the third competency outlined by the IOM. “Utilizing evidence might impact interventions such as prevention, diagnostic tests, or therapy; affect the ability to compare alternatives; and in some cases, lead to the decision that no intervention is the best choice (Finkelman & Kenner, 2013, p. 338).” The use of informatics can help to increase the availability and use of EBP. The use of EMR can help to ensure that all nurses are performing tasks and charting the same way. For instance, if a wound care nurse has discovered a new process for treating decubitus ulcers based on EBP, they can incorporate this into the EMR to ensure that everyone is charting the same information (after it has been approved). Quality improvement is the fourth core competency. Informatics can play a huge part in improving the quality of care. If a facility is trying to decrease the number of catheter acquired urinary tract infections (CAUTI), they can begin to track data directly from the EMR. The infection prevention nurse is able to set filters to track all of the patients that have Foley catheters in place, and how many acquire an infection during their hospitalization. This information can be extremely beneficial to determine if prevention measures are proving to be effective or not. This is just one example of how the use of informatics can make a huge difference in improving the quality of care that patients receive. Informatics Importance in Healthcare
Informatics can be defined as an integration of nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing practice (Finkelman & Kenner, 2013). The use of informatics has changed the way care is delivered by increasing communication between healthcare providers and with patients as well. More than ever information is available at everyone’s fingertips. Whether it is a patient accessing WebMD to find information regarding their diagnosis, or a physician looking into a new surgical procedure. There are many reasons as to...
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