Nursing Informatics is a specialized area of nursing and branch of the profession that is seeing much growth. This blog post’s purpose is to be an elementary introduction to this burgeoning specialty.
According to the American Nursing Association, “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 is accomplished through the use of information structures, information processes, and information technology” (ANA, 2015).
Squarely focused on information, data, and communication, a nurse informatics career looks closely at how to use numbers to boost performance, both for patients and for an organization as a whole. This role’s goals are to “boost efficiency, cut costs, and boost patient care quality” (Nurse Journal, 2019). Nursing professionals within this specialty are positioned at the intersection of nursing science, computer science, and information science, where they are able to “better manage and communicate information, data and knowledge in the practice of nursing. Nursing informatics specialists facilitate data integration, information and knowledge so that they provide better support to patients, nurses and other health care providers” (Nurse Journal, 2019). One thing on which they spend a lot of their energy is documentation, because “high quality care is fully dependent upon strong communication among the wide variety of health care providers. As health care providers communicate via notes on a chart, a nurse informatics analyst wants to increase the speed and accuracy of the charting process. This means that health care workers have better access to patient notes, and can mean better decisions about care” (Nurse Journal, 2019).
Typical employers for nursing informatics employees include facilities across the care continuum, from hospitals to medical practices, as well as a wide range of consulting firms, universities, and corporations. Job titles that match this professional competency include:
The demand for nursing informatics isn’t going to abate any time soon. Not only will the aging U.S. population require more caregivers, but we’ll need all the help we can get to control healthcare costs. That’ll require a growing number of nursing informatics analysts. Nurse Journal cites an American Medical Informatics Association finding that as many as 70,000 nursing informatics specialists or analysts may be needed in the next five years, with the surge in related to data gathering and analysis required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) of 2009 and the Patient Protection and Accountable Care Act (PPACA) of 2008.
A typical route to becoming a nursing informatics expert starts with being a registered nurse. After a BSN, many get a master’s degree, either as a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a master’s in information or computer science. Nurse Journal advises those considering this direction that the “career is demanding in terms of project management, critical thinking and creativity. It is important to be able to work with a vast variety of people. You also must have skills to resolve demands that conflict, which can happen as you develop information systems to meet everyone’s needs” (Nurse Journal, 2019).
HealthStream’s learning management system and comprehensive suite of competency management tools empower your healthcare workforce to deliver the best patient care.View All Learning & Performance
When you enact HealthStream's quality compliance solutions, you can do so with the confidence your healthcare organization will meet all standards of care.View All Quality & Compliance
Fulfill compliance requirements with a variety of programs and courseware designed to address critical regulatory requirements as well as educate staff to recognize and mitigate risks.View All Products
HealthStream offers professional training and education on how to best optimize your reimbursement process within your healthcare organization.View All Reimbursement
Improve the preparedness of your staff, increase survival rates, and cut costs with the advanced resuscitation training services from HealthStream.View All Resuscitation
Expand the decision-making skills and effectiveness of your healthcare workforce with HealthStream's clinical development programs and services.View All Clinical Development
Delivers everything you need to request, gather, and validate information about a provider to create a single source of truth for downstream processes.View All Credentialing
Make sure your healthcare staff can schedule out appointments and work schedules with ease using HealthStream's line of software solutions.View All Scheduling & Capacity Management