The History of Healthcare Informatics

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The History Behind Nursing Informatics
Jackie Bailey
Colorado Christian University
Prof. L. Rieg
CIS312A: Final Paper
September 26, 2012

The History Behind Nursing Informatics
Nursing informatics (NI) has become a vital part of healthcare delivery and has become a defining factor in the selection, execution, and assessment of technology that supports safe, exceptional quality and patient-centered care. Nursing has become so uniform. The data in patient records has become a valuable resource and has improved assessments and overall patient care. Before the launch of nursing informatics throughout the second half of the 20th century there were not any real standards for language. The use of data restricted the function and effectiveness of any early informatics applications. Nurses began developing standardized language systems during the turn of the century. International collaborations involving different medical disciplines have led to the improvement of standards and have opened the door for strong and reliable information tools.

Nurses have the ability to change and improve healthcare. They have the potential to change outcomes with the use of informatics. The use of this technology does require change; a change in the person, the institute, and the systems. Nurses are developing and applying informatics to find new knowledge and are improving the quality of care given on a global level (Edwards, H. 2011). Nurses have identified three important factors in nursing informatics: basic computer skills, informatics knowledge and information literacy (Thede, L. 2012).

In the beginning there was Florence Nightingale. Not only did Nurse Nightingale pioneer the nursing profession she also started the first informatics in nursing. She stated ‘In an attempt to arrive at the truth, I have applied everywhere for information, but scarcely an instance have I been able to find hospital records fit for any purpose of comparison. If they could be obtained, they would enable us to decide many other questions besides the one alluded to …if wisely used, these improved statistics would tell us more of the relative value of particular operations and modes of treatment than we have any means of obtaining at present. They would enable us, besides, to ascertain the influence of the hospital … upon the general course of operations and diseases passing through its wards; and the truth thus ascertained would enable us to save life and suffering, and to improve the treatment and management of the sick … .” (Florence Nightingale. Ozbolt, J.G., Saba, V.K. 2008). Nurse Nightingale began nursing informatics by introducing three health sciences into nursing: health services research, evidenced-based practice and informatics (Ozbolt, J.G., Saba, V.K. (2008). She requested that clinical records be analyzed to assess and improve care and outcomes (Ozbolt, J.G., Saba, V.K. (2008). She noticed the need for change before there really was a need for change. Her efforts brought about nursing informatics and the nursing profession became more modernized.

Nearly 100 years later a woman by the name of Harriet Werley started to encourage the use and growth of informatics in the nursing profession (Murphy, J. 2010). In the late 1950’s she was the first nurse to participate in research in a hospital (Ozbolt, J.G., Saba, V.K. (2008). She was asked to provide consultation for IBM on the possible use of computers in healthcare (Ozbolt, J.G., Saba, V.K. 2008). Nurse Werley saw the benefits of computers used to store patient information and to improve patient care (Ozbolt, J.G., Saba, V.K. 2008). She devised a minimum data set to be collected from every patient Ozbolt, J.G., Saba, V.K. 2008).

In the 1970’s nursing informatics really began to bloom. The first records of the use of computers in the nursing field started to appear in professional and scholarly literature (Murphy, J. 2010). Nursing care plans began...
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