A question I frequently am asked by students, clients, peers, and family is: "What IS informatics?" I am certain that I am not alone in this experience. Whether you are someone that gets asked the question or someone who is asking the question, it is often the first step toward understanding an appearingly mysterious field but yet quite necessary for quality care delivery in the digital age.
Informatics is the science of using data and information to generate new knowledge and wisdom (DIKW) in the discipline(s) of interest. While that definition is a bit abstract, the core concepts are introduced within it.
Informatics is not led by technology but rather supported by it to achieve the desired DIKW goals.
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A common statement that I hear and have heard over the years when there is a technological issue is...
"I don't understand technology."
This comment usually comes when something is not working quite right. It could be anything from the video call settings (mute/unmute) to entering data into the electronic health record.
When I hear this, I often see the person who said it, start to let the technology win over his/her/their confidence in being able to solve the problem.
However, I believe that if this statement resonates with you, you likely understand technology more than you think you do.
Perhaps it is that there simply is not time available to troubleshoot the issue because patient care is already so demanding of your time.
Let's take printers for example. I do not know what it is about printers but whenever I need something to print in a short period of time, something goes wrong. I either need to put in a new cartridge, install a new driver on...
It was about this time of year in 2014 when I decided I was going to prepare for the Informatics Nurse board certification exam. I had wavered back and forth on it for a number of years.
Becoming board certified was something I wanted to accomplish but questioned whether I needed it.
However, there came a time when I decided I needed it before an opportunity in nursing informatics would require it in the future.
I had been in the field for ten years at that time (now 18 years) and something I had experienced time after time was in clarifying what informatics nurses do and how they drive an impact on quality care through nursing science, computer science, and information science.
If I held the board certification, that would be beneficial for potential clients, healthcare organizations and peers to have a metric to evaluate the knowledge, skills, and abilities I possessed as an informatics nurse before beginning any type of work.
Whether you are a nurse, physician, patient or family member, informatics impacts us all when it comes to caring for one's health.
Think about that sentence for a minute.
This means that whether you are an expert in the field or this is the first time introduced to the word informatics, there is a place for this science in your life and/or work.
Let me explain.
Consider you are a nurse and you are assigned a new patient. You may want to know the patient's name, date of birth (e.g., age), and a general reason for visit to start. All three of the areas mentioned represent different data elements.
Perhaps you are a patient and requesting an appointment or picking up a prescription. Either of these actions are a result of a healthcare need driven by your own health data.
For physicians, medical orders can only be placed based on the presentation and/or associated results from diagnostic exams, tests, and/or values.
Family members who may be...
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