Demystifying NI EHR Changes The Informatics Nurse NICER Coaching Podcast Blog Community About My Library Contact Us Login

Health Data for Health Insights

Yesterday, I ran a 5K starting and ending at the Boston Common and Public Garden. This was a flat course up and down Commonwealth Ave! A very Bostonian scenic tour by foot if you will.

As I was running the race, I kept a close eye on my pace via my Apple Watch. I wanted to reach a sub 11 minute mile and knew it would be a challenge for me. So, the frequent checks to my watch kept me informed about how I was doing along the 3.1 mile course. 

I tracked the distance to see how much longer I would mentally need to prepare for at the pace. 

I watched my heart rate to see where it fell as I was starting to feel like it was getting hard to keep up with that pace. 

I also analyzed my results after finishing to see how I did across the three miles in terms of a pace. (I ended up at a 11 minute, 7 second average pace). 

Then last night, I reviewed my last several months of speed in a longitudinal manner. 

I am sharing all of this with you because we now have more data and information available to us than we have before. Ten years ago I ran without any sort of health data tool to help me make decisions. 

What we choose to do with it and how we use it to inform our own decisions is primarily an independent personal act in these types of scenarios.

However, there are many scenarios where having access to this data can help in ways that we could not leverage before as nurses and healthcare professionals. 

Data are tools that we have always depended upon. Yet, until we were engrossed in analyzing the data, information, knowledge, and wisdom needed for digitizing health records, this step was largely overlooked in the day to day sense.

Now, we are hyper aware due to the need for entering, collecting, communicating, accessing, storing and managing health data to manage the health of our patients, our families and ourselves.

While the health IT tools may for some seem disparate and disconnected from the act of care delivery, I would ask to consider the patient who is putting their trust in you to make the best decisions for their care using their health data. 

I would also ask you to consider how you would feel if you were that patient. 

So, the next time that you are curious about your own health data, be it your running data like myself or perhaps sleep data, heart rate data or any other data element, consider how meaningful that is and can be for someone that may really need an intervention to help them achieve their optimal health. 

How can we as nurses and for those in the informatics and health IT space currently, continue to find clinical integrations of our decision making through these tools in ways that we could not do before? 

Having the data is the first step but putting it to use is where we can make new, previously unaccessible, pathways for more informed personalized care.



50% Complete

iCare Community

Sign up for reminders of our monthly iCare Community networking and learning sessions. These occur on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at 7pm EST.