Informatics nurses bridge the gap between information technology and patient care. They use their clinical expertise to create and organize electronic medical records (EMRs). Informatics nurses explore how information should be accessed while keeping patient safety and privacy at the forefront. Their goal is to streamline the data acquisition process to optimize evidence-based patient management.
There are several areas in which informatics nurses can improve quality patient care. For example, data collection of risk factors can impact healthcare delivery. Making computer systems flag charts of elderly patients who do not have help at home or are on multiple medications can alert the primary nurse to be especially careful in exploring options during discharge planning. The informatics nurse is involved in building solutions using the tools from electronic data collection to improve patient outcomes, especially if it helps avoid an unneeded re-admission.
Informatics nurses are also the liaison between the technical and clinical sides. They assist in communicating the use and need for patient monitoring tools. Efficient access and workflow must be considered, and security is the topmost concern. All data storage must meet federal and state regulations, including HIPAA. Informatics nurses are involved in testing new software and hardware, and some even do coding. They may be asked to analyze costs to increase efficiency.
Informatics nurses are advocates for both nurses and patients. They provide training and are experts in running and troubleshooting the computers used in the patient care environment.
Informatics nurses often receive advanced training to improve their skills. Some obtain certificates, master’s, or doctoral degrees in nursing informatics.
Informatics nurses focus on managing patient care by utilizing the most user-friendly interfaces. Their role is determined by the environment they work, and their goal is to create solutions using the tools provided.
Informatics nurses may be involved in transitioning paper systems into EMRs or helping devise an order entry system. They apply their clinical and nursing knowledge in designing the look of the screens.
If they are responsible for implementing a new system for a medical environment, they will spend their day doing user training and communicating with the technical staff.
Informatics nurses may gather data for financial analysis or policy planning. They may spend those days meeting with others in the clinical team, designing and giving presentations, or exploring how information can best be stored and accessed.
Informatics nurses must have strong organizational and leadership skills. In addition, they must be great communicators to clearly explain or translate what the computer is doing, why it does it, and how to interact smoothly with the system to reach the desired outcome.
Informatics nurses need to be resourceful. Sometimes the direct approach may not be the most effective or efficient. Informatics nurses need an aptitude to write or understand computer programming to better design modifications to improve workflow.
Informatics nurses are tremendous problem solvers and enjoy using technological tools.