Healthcare advancements in the 21st century have brought radical technological shifts that have reshaped clinical care. Within these changes, nursing informatics has become increasingly vital to the healthcare industry.
Nursing informatics is a discipline that combines nursing, computer science, and information technology. Nursing informaticists use technology and data management systems to optimize the delivery of healthcare services while supporting nurses in their daily clinical practice.
This guide highlights four common nursing informatics examples and their applications in various healthcare settings. From electronic health records and telemedicine to clinical decision support systems and wearable technologies, these modern healthcare tools can optimize care, refine workflows, and improve patient outcomes.
Continue reading to learn more about nursing informatics and how these tools are valuable to both nurses and their patients.
In healthcare’s rapidly evolving landscape, integrating technology has become essential for optimizing patient care while enhancing clinical outcomes. Informaticists attend advanced degree nursing informatics programs to gain specialized nursing, information science, and computer science skills.
This field plays a crucial part in harnessing the power of technology to improve the delivery of various healthcare services. In short, nursing informatics uses information and technology to support and enhance safe, effective, and quality nursing care.
Here are four examples of how informatics and technology in nursing are revolutionizing healthcare worldwide.
1. Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
Electronic health records (EHRs), or electronic medical records (EMRs), are digital versions of a patient’s medical history. EHRs can include treatment plans, laboratory results, medication information, allergies, and other relevant health information.
EHR Applications in Nursing Informatics
EHRs help streamline care by providing comprehensive and accessible patient health records that providers can share securely. They’re also a critical guardrail for concerns like medication safety.
Using EHRs, informatics nurses ensure accurate medication administration to the right patient, at the right time, and in the right dose.
Implementing EHRs in nursing practice has multiple benefits that improve patient care and nursing outcomes. These are some of the key benefits:
Enhanced Data Access
EHRs provide healthcare teams with instant access to comprehensive patient information and can result in better-informed clinical decisions.
Nurses can review a patient’s medical history, allergies, medication lists, and diagnostic results. Improving the accessibility of patient information can promote patient safety while mitigating the risk of medical errors.
EHRs help facilitate effective communication and collaboration between healthcare providers. Nurses and other healthcare professionals can electronically share patient information, care plans, and clinical notes.
EHRs can promote care coordination by enhancing communication while ensuring continuity across various healthcare settings and disciplines.
EHRs help streamline the documentation process while saving time on manually writing patient information.
Nurses can electronically document assessments, interventions, and outcomes—this can help ensure accuracy while removing any concerns about legibility. Because EHRs can help nurses save time on documentation, they can focus more on direct patient care.
2. Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS)
A clinical decision support system (CDSS) is another example of informatics in nursing that improves patient care. CDSSs are software tools providing healthcare workers with evidence-based information and patient-specific data to assist with clinical decision-making.
CDSS Applications in Nursing Informatics
A CDSS analyzes patient information and delivers alerts, reminders, guidelines, and recommendations to improve patient outcomes.
CDSSs assess vital signs, laboratory results, and clinical observations to identify life-threatening risks and deliver real-time alerts to healthcare professionals.
Like other informatics tools, CDSSs offers multiple benefits that support nursing practice while improving patient care. Some key CDSS benefits are:
CDSSs supply healthcare professionals with easy access to evidence-based guidelines, protocols, and best practices. They help nurses make informed decisions by incorporating cutting-edge research and clinical knowledge into their practice, promoting high-quality care.
CDSS technology can generate alerts and reminders for medication safety based on patient-specific data. These alerts include drug interactions, medication allergies and sensitivities, and dosage adjustments. With safeguards like this in place, CDSSs help minimize the risk of medication errors while promoting the safe administration of medicine.
CDSSs can support nurses in managing chronic conditions and creating individualized care plans. This software can guide disease-specific assessments while enhancing care coordination.
CDSSs can also help nurses to adhere to clinical guidelines and care pathways. This technology can provide prompts for screenings, preventative care, and patient follow-ups, offering comprehensive guidance and evidence-based care.
3. Telehealth and Telemedicine
Telehealth and telemedicine are nursing informatics examples that use various digital technologies to deliver healthcare services remotely.
Telehealth encompasses several services, including remote monitoring, patient education, and virtual consultations.
On the other hand, telemedicine focuses on clinical diagnosis and treatment. This type of virtual care can expand healthcare access to homebound individuals and those in remote and underserved areas.
Telehealth and Telemedicine Technology Applications
Telehealth technologies and tools encompass various services, including video conferencing platforms like Zoom and others made specifically for the healthcare industry. These services provide secure and real-time video consultations between healthcare providers and patients.
These mobile applications also facilitate virtual visits, follow-up appointments, and team meetings. Additionally, they provide patients with access to educational resources, medication reminders, symptom-tracking tools, and secure messaging with healthcare professionals.
Telehealth & Telemedicine Benefits
While telehealth has been used for years, the number of visits skyrocketed during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefits of virtual healthcare became clear, and they include:
Improved Access to Care
Telehealth eliminates geographic barriers and enhances access to healthcare services, especially for patients in remote areas or those with limited mobility. It allows nurses to reach patients in their homes and reduce healthcare disparities.
Continuity of Care
Telehealth enables continuous monitoring and follow-up care. Nurses can remotely assess patients, provide education, review medications, and monitor progress. This continuity ensures ongoing support and prevents hospital readmissions.
Virtual care optimizes resources by reducing unnecessary hospital visits and emergency room admissions. Additionally, it helps manage healthcare capacity, decreases waiting times, and allows nurses to focus on high-priority cases.
4. Wearable Technology and Remote Patient Monitoring
Wearable technologies and remote patient monitoring use devices and sensors that collect and transmit patients’ health data. As patients wear these devices, the tech sends data to their provider for remote monitoring and analysis.
These technologies enable continuous tracking of vital signs, activity levels, and other health-related information.
Wearable Technology Applications in Nursing Informatics
Wearable technology has various applications in nursing practice. For example, wearable health trackers can monitor and transmit vital signs, heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation.
Additionally, glucose monitoring systems enable patients with diabetes to monitor glucose levels. Other chronic conditions that benefit from wearable tech include cardiovascular issues and COPD.
Wearable Technology Benefits
Here are some of the benefits of wearable technology:
Continuous monitoring allows nurses to detect early warning signs or change in a patient’s health. They can prevent complications and improve patient outcomes by:
- Intervening promptly
- Providing guidance
- Adjusting treatment plans
- Arranging for appropriate medical attention
Wearable tech can empower patients to actively participate in their own healthcare. Patients can track their health metrics, receive feedback, and make informed lifestyle choices. Nurses can provide education and support to enhance patient engagement and self-management.
Reduced Hospital Visits
Wearable technologies and remote patient monitoring can reduce the need for frequent hospital visits, especially for patients with chronic conditions.
Healthcare workers can monitor patient health data remotely, reducing strain on healthcare facilities, optimizing resources, and improving patient convenience.
These nursing informatics examples demonstrate how informatics modernizes healthcare delivery while improving patient outcomes. However, the technologies we discussed here are just the beginning. The future of nursing informatics holds exciting possibilities that will continue to transform the medical field.
Advancements in technology, data analytics, and artificial intelligence will further enhance the role of nursing informatics in healthcare. Furthermore, predictive analytics and machine learning will enable healthcare workers to identify high-risk patients, personalize care plans, and optimize interventions.
As a result, the need for health informatics experts will continue to grow. Nursing informaticists will be there to bridge the gap between clinical practice and implementing new technology. This growth potential and nursing informatics salary prospects make informatics an excellent choice for nurses wishing to advance their careers.