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Advancing your Informatics Career...

During the summer of 2014, I finally committed to taking the informatics nurse board certification exam. 

I did not know how to approach studying for it nor how it would go but I was tired of putting it off and knew if I did not do it soon, it would continue to get put off. 

While I had my PhD in nursing informatics from Duke, I knew that I was still missing that third party validation of my knowledge that could be assessed by clients, customers, and colleagues. I did not want there to be any question that my knowledge, experience, expertise, and approaches to health IT projects and practice  was comprehensive, thorough, and valuable to others. 

Unfortunately, there have been many times where I have been asked, "what is informatics?" and "what do informatics nurses do?". Those are times when I reflect on their questions and recognize that more clarity is needed to our roles and capabilities. 

One way to demonstrate your capabilities, expertise, and...

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How to Influence Change in the EHR and/or other Health IT Solutions

Years ago I was speaking to a nurse in direct care about some of the challenges she saw in documenting in the electronic health record (EHR). She looked at me and told me she felt like a glorified data entry specialist. We talked about what small things might make it better. She shared some thoughts but then said, who would I even go to about this? Who is here to help us make it better? 

That memory has sat with me for years. I remember it vividly and it is brought back every time I hear another nurse or healthcare professional discuss something similar. 

As a PhD prepared board certified informatics nurse, I've encouraged nurses and healthcare professionals that they have an ability to influence change in the EHR and/or other Health IT solutions. Some of the comments I've received have been: 

"I don't even know where to even start."

"Who would I even talk to about my ideas?"

"I don't have an informatics or health IT background."

Informatics nurses and clinical IT...

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Reflections on Patient-Centeredness for Quality Care

The term patient-centeredness is more than a concept and word when aiming for quality.

Patient-centeredness at a minimum refers to centering care around the patient.

Patient-centered care is one of the six elements of quality as defined by The National Academy of Medicine in Crossing the Quality Chasm.

Taken from the executive summary of that report:

"Patient-centered—providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions." (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222271/)

Patients are people first, often with a lot going on outside of the immediate appointment, episode, or treatment.

Perhaps a televisit (over an in person visit), and prescription delivery services will help address some compliance issues related to distance, obligations, or cost to travel and park.

Perhaps knowing the patient's name when you walk into the room will help the patient feel as though you...

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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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What exactly is Informatics?

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. 

To help explain this, tune in to our Instagram page @icarenursingsolutions on Wednesday June 29th at 7pm to hear more. If you have questions we can help answer during the event, please submit them by email to [email protected]

The more...

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You do understand technology more than you think...

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...

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Informatics Impacts Everyone in Healthcare

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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