How Nursing Informatics Benefits Quality Outcomes
May 11, 2020
A recent HealthStream blog post, “What Is Nursing Informatics?,” includes the ANA definition that "Nursing informatics (NI) is 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. NI supports nurses, consumers, patients, the interprofessional healthcare team, and other stakeholders in their decision-making in all roles and settings to achieve desired outcomes. This support, which ensures the benefits of nursing informatics are realized, is accomplished through the use of information structures, information processes, and information technology” (ANA, 2015).
Connecting Nursing Informatics and Artificial Intelligence
According to an article in The Online Journal of Nursing Informatics, “Artificial intelligence (AI) is a relatively new concept in healthcare, particularly in nursing practice.” (Carroll, 2018). An important area of AI for nursing is predictive analytics, which “allows nurses to discover previously unknown patterns in multiple sources of clinical and operational data that can guide better decision making. Through the use of predictive data, nurses can gain actionable insights that enable greater accuracy, timely, and appropriate interventions in a prescriptive way for both patient and nurses” (Carroll, 2018). Furthermore, “The difference is that AI, particularly predictive analytics, adds breadth and precision to decision making for healthier care experiences for those giving and receiving care” (Carroll, 2018).
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Improved Quality Outcomes Resulting from Nurse Informatics
The importance of nursing informatics is tied to the primacy of data in healthcare. Using the various electronic medical record systems that are now ubiquitous in healthcare for collecting health information across an organization, nurse informaticists are managing, interpreting, and communicating data with a primary purpose to improve the quality and outcomes of patient care. Here are some examples of the benefits of nursing informatics shared by Electronic Health Reporter:
“Modern nursing care is driven by individual patient needs and history — information that is collected and organized in electronic patient records. By documenting a patient’s condition, and sharing that information electronically, nurses are able to more effectively manage care, and by extension, improve the quality of that care.”
Fewer Medical Errors
“Nurses are often on the front lines of ensuring that their patients are kept safe and preventing medication errors, misdiagnoses, falls, and other problems. Health informatics provides important data that can prevent these errors; for example, an electronic record can provide information about a possible dangerous medication interaction or allergy that might not otherwise be immediately apparent. Armed with data, nurses can make quick decisions that keep their patients safe.”
“Medical errors cost nearly $40 billion every year, and many of those errors are preventable with informatics. Not only does information provide nurses with alerts to avoid errors, it also helps to automate certain tasks, both improving nurse productivity and preventing some of the costs associated with health care.”
Improved Care Coordination
“Nurses are often called upon to help coordinate the care of their patients. This often means relaying information from physicians, therapists, pharmacy, billing, and more, both during care and at discharge. Without all of the necessary information, patient care could suffer. Informatics improves the coordination of this information, allowing nurses to give their patients all of the information they need, improving both outcomes and the satisfaction with care” (Electronic Health Reporter, November 14, 2016).
ANA, “Nursing Informatics: Scope and Standards of Practice,” 2nd Edition, ANA 2015 as quoted at https://www.himss.org/what-nursing-informatics.
Carroll, W. (July, 2018). Artificial Intelligence, Nurses and the Quadruple Aim. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI), 22(2). Available at http://www.himss.org/ojni
Electronic Health Reporter, “How Nurses Are Using Health Informatics to Improve Patient Care,” November 14, 2016, Retrieved at https://electronichealthreporter.com/nurses-using-health-informatics-improve-patient-care/.
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