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What do I like most about informatics?

I was recently interviewed for a graduate school assignment by a nurse who is pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. I was happy to participate in the process and find it a great opportunity to help demystify nursing and healthcare informatics. Before I answer the question, it is important to frame informatics according to the definition. 

Informatics can appear to be a field that is unclear and misunderstood if you've not had the opportunity to interact, participate in some way and/or work in the field. 

I remember the first time I hear the word informatics, I was a clinical analyst at the time in the IT department (not nursing). I had been working on an EHR (electronic health record) project for some time and heard the word used by a nursing leader and IT leader. I didn't know what it meant at that time. 

However, the questions I was asking at that time were what prompted the introduction to informatics. 

A common misconception is that informatics is...

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Data are a currency for your health.

We, as healthcare professionals and consumers of healthcare, cannot provide quality healthcare to others or to ourselves without data. 

Data points are everywhere. Your respiratory rate, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure are just four common data points in healthcare facilities (perhaps even at home). 

At home in the day to day, you may be counting your steps, hours of sleep, days per week you are exercising, and many other possibilities. 

We would rarely collect these data points without a purpose and intention to use the data for meaningful insights. 

An initial set of vital signs may provide a baseline for a patient that could be referred to with each subsequent set of vitals for comparison. 

For someone looking to become more active through walking, tracking steps may provide a way to determine progress and plan for how to make adjustments. 

Now there are many opportunities to add on to the list of data elements. However,...

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