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.