Nursing informatics was recognized as a specialty in 1992 and a scope of practice was developed through the American Nurses’ Association in 1994. Nursing informatics specialty integrates nursing science, computer science and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing practice.
Nursing informatics specialists practice in a wide variety of roles that are ultimately aimed at improving patient care delivery and the nursing practice experience. To accomplish this, they must become an integral part of the health care organization. Organizations with nursing informatics professionals on staff are the most likely to have adequate training. Only about 40% of organizations had such a position
Nursing informatics specialists are commonly involved in implementation of new technology in health care. They implement solutions that, among other criteria, ensure the confidentiality and security of data and privacy for individuals. Privacy is a means of protecting health information so that it is not used or disclosed except as authorized by the individual. It protects the privacy of the individual.
As more health care information becomes part of the medical record, it becomes more available electronically instead of on paper. The staff nurse may be ask to provide information such as a printed medical administration list from an electronic medical record to the patient, the patient’s family member, a medical student, or an attending physician. A nursing informatics specialist can assist with policy formation and education related to release of such information.
Health care informatics has the potential to impact patient care and nursing practice. In one survey, eighty percent of nurses indicated that it had a positive effect on their patient care delivery outcomes. In the survey, the use of technology was said to allow nurses to access patient information more quickly, improve efficiency, reduce the potential for errors and access timely and relevant patient information.