A Crash Course in Nursing Informatics

Most of us know that nurses have busy schedules. In addition to their direct interactions with patients, nurses are also very involved in healthcare informatics. Informatics is the science of studying, storing, retrieving, and utilizing information needed for patient treatment, as well as the skills and knowledge needed to understand this information. The field of informatics supports many different aspects of hospital and clinic operations, including medical coding, electronic health records, clinical documentation improvement, and quality review.

There are 4 major building blocks of nursing informatics. The words may seem redundant at first but there are important distinctions to point out. Data refers to the raw, factual metrics gleaned from medical tests and equipment, such as blood pressure or heart rate readings. When this data has been analyzed and interpreted, it is referred to as information. Information encompasses trends in data over time and begins to shape raw data into a complete picture. The third aspect is knowledge, which combines the information with the standards of a medical discipline to answer “why” or “how” questions. Finally, there is wisdom, which utilizes the knowledge gained to solve problems, using ethics and a provider’s own experience.

Nurses are often the first healthcare providers a patient will encounter at an appointment. They are responsible for checking vital signs, communicating basic health advice, and performing health history assessments. Thus, nurses must be able to quickly access, interpret, and update patient health records to make informed decisions and provide excellent care. In recent years, EMRs have become quicker and more accurate, assisting healthcare professionals in many disciplines to administer integrated care. For this reason, it is valuable for nurses to have a grasp on the sciences of health information management and clinical informatics.

At certain hospitals, nurses even assist in the design and maintenance of informatics systems and the education thereof.  Informatics systems integrate distinct fields including data science and computer science.  These systems must be easy-to-use, effective, and secure. Because of their frequent use of these systems, nurses provide valuable input regarding their design and use.

Extract helps ensure that nurses in informatics have accurate data when they need it.  Our automated document handling platform takes discrete medical results and puts them directly into the EHR.  If you’d like to learn more, please reach out to us today!

About the Author: Claire Means

Claire is a Database Development Specialist at Extract Systems. She started at the company as a document verifier, which gives her a unique understanding of the redaction software. Her attention to detail and high rate of accuracy prove her dedication to Extract’s success. Claire holds a certificate in Web Design from Madison College and her special interests include web analytics and search engine optimization.