Nursing Informatics - The Missing Link
Nursing Informatics — The Missing Link
Leading the change
The healthcare landscape with ARRA, MU, CPOE, ICD-10, HIE, and ACOs is requiring hospitals to move from an IT adoption rate of less than 25% to up to 80% by 2016. The short-term success and the long-term strategic survival will require internal resource positioning between healthcare operations and information technology. Complex information systems and government regulatory requirements will change the way clinicians have traditionally worked. The ability to improve patient safety, quality, and efficiency of care will necessitate Nursing Informatics to lead the charge. This resource specialty integrates the knowledge of computer science, information technology, bedside care, and multi-disciplinary communication.
The influence of Nursing Informatics
Though CMIOs are more common in the hospital environment, their roles and responsibilities do not necessarily oversee the day-to-day challenges of bedside caregivers. Typically, CMIOs assist in the selection of technology, oversee content development, and leverage the technology to improve patient care. Nursing Informatics, however, assists in systems implementation and training; systems development and design; and work in a liaison role to represent the needs of other departments. The most important area of focus is the ability to apply the expertise of Nursing Informatics for future workflow, critical to the success of any IT project. To guarantee success, the Nurse Informaticist should be a respected clinician with a strategic clinical focus to facilitate the optimization of information technology for daily patient activities. Reporting to the CNO will not only foster clinical communication across disciplines, but will optimize patient bedside care throughout the organization. Guiding the CIO through clinical and operational issues, challenges, and risks will ensure the level of understanding necessary to make effective organizational decisions.
Bridging the gap
Nursing Informatics should be instrumental in driving major clinical implementations such as CPOE, MU, and high-volume, highly technical departments such as OR, ED, and Critical Care Units. Their skill set should be a fundamental component in leading other clinicians in understanding current state workflow and to drive improvements in efficiency and effectiveness for future state processes utilizing the new or upgraded technology. The Nursing Informatics role should include:
- Participating in search-and-selection activities for clinical areas
- Facilitating communication between the vendor and hospital staff
- Engaging in IS strategic planning efforts as they relate to cultural and implementation readiness
- Providing enterprise-wide communication during monthly departmental and executive leadership meetings
- Optimizing clinical outcomes through the use of technology. The most significant role involves bridging, or “linking”, the strategic direction between Information Systems and the clinical/operational directives for business growth and vision while enhancing patient safety and care.
Unfortunately, not every hospital has the budget to justify the creation of the Nursing Informatics role. However, hospitals can identify a well-respected clinical leader within their organization, one who inherently provides strategic direction for both Information Systems and clinical operations. Creating a part time role for this individual will provide a foundation of communication, leadership, and strategic direction for future IT projects. The ultimate goal is to create a resource link that understands the daily needs of the clinical environment by utilizing the feature/functionality of technology and optimizing future clinical workflow.
Learn more about how Nursing Informatics can impact clinical workflow optimization, and how best to leverage their expertise.