NURS-6015, Section 3, Information and Healthcare Technologies Applied to Nursing Practice June 12, 2011
Using Informatics in the Clinical Setting
Information technology, the interpretation and management of information using computers to analyze data, is not a new concept. Computers assist people day-to-day, from simple budgeting using a home computer, to larger management of government budgets and programs. The healthcare industry, especially nursing, has been slow in embracing available technology (Simpson, 2005). Daily, nurses gather data, turn their data into information, and, analyze the information using evidence-based medicine to provide patient care. Computers provide an effective and faster way to process information, share the knowledge derived from the information, and add evidence to the nursing role (Hebda & Czar, 2009). The purpose of this paper is, to evaluate the use of informatics in my clinical area and suggest areas of improvement.
Paperwork will always be a part of any health care industry. As informatics evolves, we will undoubtedly find ways to omit paper records altogether. However, there are many times when providing paperwork is necessary: in discharges from hospitals or urgent care settings, visit summaries after office appointments, and for consents requiring signatures. Paperwork is also necessary, when attending meetings where discussion of reports, management of the department, and consideration of future needs of the work area or patients include many participants. Of course, all of this information will undoubtedly end up in a database.
In my clinical setting, we have electronic medical records (EMR’s), interoffice email, and instant messaging which alleviates the clutter of paperwork. Many times, before nurse planning meetings, our administrative assistant will make copies of the agenda items, and distribute them prior to the meetings. All of us have this information in our email accounts. However, when it comes time to meet about these items, we need the printed document to participate and take notes. The nurse informaticist needs to be the leader in implementing the use of tools that are cost effective, streamline care and coordination: all without the inconvenience of clutter (American Nursing Association, 2008). One proposal is to have an overhead of the data or reports we are discussing, and participants can take notes they deem pertinent, without the waste of many paper printouts going into the trash. Communication
Most people believe communication is generally two or more people talking, or people writing and receiving letters (Dobkin & Pace, 2006). With the increasing use of informatics, primarily EMR’s, communication is evolving. In the clinical setting, we have many patients who can access many parts of their EMR online. They review lab results, send and receive messages to and from their healthcare team, and review topics concerning their diagnoses. In 2004, a part of President Bush’s State of the Union address, concerning EMR’s, made it clear that integration of a fully functioning EMR should be in place and operable by 2014 (Speedie & Davies, 2006, Suppl).
Currently, the company for which I work strives to deliver information to providers, staff and patients, which are evidence-based. By providing evidence-based care, and utilizing an EMR, the nurse can provide sound care, plan patient outcomes, receive alerts for medication management, health maintenance, and the healthcare team has current information available day or night. This is especially important in the management of patient care where multiple parties are responsible for the health and well-being of the patient (HIMSS Nursing Informatics Awareness Task Force, 2007). Having worked for this company for ten years prior to their implementation of the EMR, I know we are moving forward in communication ability. A few...