Healthcare organizations are rapidly moving towards implementing digital technologies, electronic health records (EHR), and clinical decision support systems (CDSS) to improve patient outcomes and organizational efficiency. Integrating technology in healthcare requires specialized expertise to manage data, ensure the security of protected health information, and improve the efficiency of clinical workflows. A nurse informaticist is a professional with expertise in nursing, information management, and technology (Khezri, 2019). In this proposal, we recommend creating a nurse informaticist position in our organization to address the challenges of healthcare technology implementation and provide significant benefits for our organization.
Nursing Informatics and the Nurse Informaticist
What is Nursing Informatics?
Nursing informatics is a specialized field of study that combines nursing science, information science, and computer science to manage and communicate healthcare data and information (Khezri, 2019). Nursing informatics focuses on developing, implementing, and evaluating information systems and technologies to support patient care, education, and research.
Role of the Nurse Informaticist
A nurse informaticist combines expertise in nursing practice, clinical workflows, and health information technology to support patient care delivery and improve organizational efficiency. The primary responsibilities of a nurse informaticist include the following: First, the nursing informaticist collaborates with interdisciplinary teams to design, implement and evaluate health information technology systems and clinical decision support tools (Egbert, 2019). The nursing informaticist also Manages clinical workflows, documentation standards, and data integrity to ensure the accurate capture, storage, and retrieval of healthcare data. They also Assess organizational needs and opportunities for implementing health information technology to support patient care, education, and research (Egbert, 2019). Lastly, nursing informaticists also analyze clinical and administrative data to support quality improvement initiatives, research, and decision-making.
Nurse Informaticists and Other Health Care Organizations
Experience with Other Health Care Organizations with Nurse Informaticists
Many healthcare organizations have implemented nurse informaticist roles to support technology integration into their clinical workflows. Studies have shown that nurse informaticists play a crucial role in developing and implementing health information technology systems. For example, a study by Harerimana et al. (2022) showed that nurse informaticists were instrumental in implementing an electronic medication administration record (eMAR) system in a Swiss hospital. The nurse informaticists ensured that the eMAR system met the workflow requirements of the nursing staff and improved the quality and safety of medication administration.
Interaction of Nurse Informaticists with the Rest of the Nursing Staff and the Interdisciplinary Team
Nurse informaticists collaborate with the interdisciplinary team, including nursing staff, physicians, pharmacists, and information technology specialists, to design, implement, and evaluate health information technology systems. They work closely with nursing staff to assess workflow requirements and ensure the successful implementation of health information technology systems. They also provide training and support to nursing staff and other healthcare professionals to ensure the efficient use of technology in patient care (Harerimana, 2022).
Impact of Full Nurse Engagement in Health Care Technology
Impact on Patient Care
Fully engaging nurses in healthcare technology significantly impact patient care quality and safety. Studies have shown that integrating technology into nursing practice improves patient outcomes and reduces the incidence of adverse events. For example, a study conducted by Seo et al. (2019) showed that implementing electronic nursing documentation and communication tools improved patient outcomes and reduced hospital stay length.
Protected Health Information (Security, Privacy, and Confidentiality)
The nurse informaticist and interdisciplinary team must also use evidence-based strategies to ensure PHI’s privacy, security, and confidentiality. This can be done by: first using encryptions. This powerful tool can help protect PHI from unauthorized access or theft. The team can use encryption techniques to secure PHI during transmission, storage, and retrieval. The Second is through Implementing access controls. Access controls can help prevent unauthorized access to PHI. The team can use various access control mechanisms, such as role-based access control (RBAC) and multi-factor authentication (MFA), to ensure that only authorized personnel can access PHI (Seo, 2019). The third strategy is to review and update policies and procedures regularly. The team must regularly review and update its privacy, security, and confidentiality policies and procedures to ensure they align with the latest industry standards and regulations.
The Fourth is to provide regular training to staff. The team must also provide regular training to their staff to ensure they are aware of the latest security threats and know how to handle PHI appropriately. This training should also cover policies and procedures related to PHI protection. The fifth strategy is conducting regular risk assessments (Seo, 2019). The team must conduct regular risk assessments to identify security threats and vulnerabilities in their systems and processes. They can use this information to develop mitigation strategies and improve their security posture. Lastly, the team should use secure communication channels such as encrypted emails and secure messaging platforms to transmit PHI. This helps to prevent unauthorized access and interception of PHI.
Opportunities and Challenges
Adding a nurse informaticist role will present both opportunities and challenges for nurses and the interdisciplinary team. Therefore, potential opportunities include Improved data collection and analysis where a nurse informaticist can help nurses and the interdisciplinary team collect and analyze data more efficiently and accurately (Khezri, 2019). This can help improve patient care outcomes, identify areas for improvement, and monitor progress. Another opportunity is the increased use of technology. Here a nurse informaticist can help promote the use of technology to support patient care. This can include electronic health records, telehealth, mobile health, and other tools to help nurses and the interdisciplinary team deliver care more efficiently and effectively. Lastly is improved communication, where a nurse informaticist can help improve communication between nurses and other healthcare professionals. This can include developing standardized terminologies and protocols to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Some challenges may result from introducing a nurse informaticist position. These include resistance to change. Implementing new technology and processes can be challenging, and some nurses and other healthcare professionals may resist change. A nurse informaticist can help address these challenges by educating staff about the benefits of new technology and processes. The other challenge may arise through training and support when a nurse informaticist must provide ongoing training and support to ensure that nurses and other healthcare professionals are comfortable using new technology and processes (Khezri, 2019). This can be time-consuming and require additional resources. The last challenge is then privacy and security concerns. Privacy and security breaches are at risk with the increased use of technology. A nurse informaticist can help address these concerns by implementing appropriate security protocols and ensuring that all staff is aware of their responsibilities in protecting patient data.
To collaborate effectively and improve quality care outcomes through technology, the interdisciplinary team can: Identify goals and objectives by working together to identify specific goals and objectives for using technology to improve patient care outcomes. The team should also develop a plan for achieving their goals and objectives. This may include selecting appropriate technology, developing training programs, and implementing new processes and procedures. Next, effective communication is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page (Khezri, 2019). The team should establish clear communication channels and ensure all staff is updated on changes or developments. Finally, the team should continuously evaluate the effectiveness of any new technology or processes. This will help identify areas for improvement and ensure that patient care outcomes are continually improving.
Summary of Recommendations
In conclusion, the recommended nurse informaticist role presents several benefits for healthcare organizations. The following are three key takeaways that the CNO and HR manager should remember: First, the nurse informaticists have a crucial role in the development, implementation, and evaluation of health information technology systems and clinical decision support tools. They collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to ensure the successful implementation of these systems, assess organizational needs, and analyze clinical and administrative data to support quality improvement initiatives and decision-making. Nurse informaticists also collaborate closely with nursing staff to ensure the successful integration of technology into clinical workflows (Egbert, 2019). They provide training and support to nursing staff and other healthcare professionals to ensure the efficient use of technology in patient care.
Lastly, Fully engaging nurses in healthcare technology significantly impacts patient care quality and safety. Studies have shown that integrating technology into nursing practice improves patient outcomes and reduces the incidence of adverse events. Therefore a nurse informaticist role will present opportunities for improved data collection and analysis, increased use of technology, and enhanced patient care quality and safety. However, the interdisciplinary team must also use evidence-based strategies to ensure protected health information’s privacy, security, and confidentiality. The organization should consider hiring a nurse informaticist.
Khezri, H., & Abdekhoda, M. (2019). Assessing nurses’ informatics competency and identifying its related factors. Journal of Research in Nursing, 24(7), 529-538.
Harerimana, A., Wicking, K., Biedermann, N., & Yates, K. (2022). Nursing informatics in undergraduate nursing education in Australia before COVID-19: A scoping review. Collegian, 29(4), 527-539.
Egbert, N., Thye, J., Hackl, W. O., Müller-Staub, M., Ammenwerth, E., & Hübner, U. (2019). Competencies for nursing in a digital world. Methodology, results, and use of the DACH recommendations for nursing informatics core competency areas in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Informatics for Health and Social Care, 44(4), 351-375.
Seo, K., Min, Y. H., Choi, S. H., & Lee, H. (2019). Evaluation of the Korean version of the self-assessment of nursing informatics competencies scale. BMC nursing, 18(1), 1-9.