What Does Informatics Mean?

Why is Informatics important to a Practice Nurse? Well, if you have noticed, you can’t walk into a health care facility anymore without seeing computers on the desk, in the hallways and at the bedside. Informatics is defined as the use of information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making. We use informatics every time we send an email or document in a medical record. We use informatics when we search the literature for the best evidence to solve a problem in health care. And, we use informatics to protect our patients by having electronic tools that help us to prevent errors. As you might imagine, informatics is a prevalent and vital component in the health care setting today.

These are the informatics knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for today’s healthcare providers:

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Definition: Use information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making.




Explain why information and technology skills are essential for safe patient care

Seek education about how information is managed in care settings before providing care. Apply technology and information management tools to support safe processes of care

Appreciate the necessity for all health professionals to seek lifelong, continuous learning of information technology skills

Identify essential information that must be available in a common database to support patient care. Contrast benefits and limitations of different communication technologies and their impact on safety and quality

Navigate the electronic health record. Document and plan patient care in an electronic health record

Employ communication technologies to coordinate care for patients

Value technologies that support clinical decision-making, error prevention, and care coordination. Protect confidentiality of protected health information in electronic health records

Describe examples of how technology and information management are related to the quality and safety of patient care. Recognize the time, effort, and skill required for computers, databases and other technologies to become reliable and effective tools for patient care

Respond appropriately to clinical decision-making supports and alerts. Use information management tools to monitor outcomes of care processes

Use high quality electronic sources of healthcare information

Value nurses’ involvement in design, selection, implementation, and evaluation of information technologies to support patient care