Common effects of nursing informatics refer to the transition to modern EHR and EMR systems and changes to care coordination. IT advancements allow keeping all patient information in an easy-to-use electronic format while maintaining data safety. This paper discusses IT-related nursing competencies, the role of nursing informatics in changing practice, and approaches to skill improvement.
Informatics and Nursing Practice
Aside from altering medical documentation’s format, informatics and EHR systems have reduced the care fragmentation issue by facilitating care coordination activities and speeding up the exchange of patient progress information between different providers. In healthcare establishments, including psychiatric hospitals, IT progress also finds reflection in the emergence of patient portals that provide consumers with convenient access to provider notes, which is hypothesized to contribute to mental health recovery (Strudwick et al., 2020; Zhong et al., 2020). As for my experiences, the adult and geriatric mental health unit where I work has not implemented web-based portals yet, but psychotherapeutic service providers and nurses make extensive use of Epic Systems EHR software and embedded clinical decision support tools to initiate interprofessional care planning conversations. Thus, advancements in informatics have changed nursing practice to a large extent.
Informatics Competencies’ Effects
The emergence of informatics competencies is another step towards better patient experiences and care quality. The American Academy of Nursing acknowledges the critical role of IT competencies in addressing the lack of representation of nursing interventions within EHR systems, thus promoting excellence and safety by supporting nurse-initiated use of clinical decision support features (Strudwick et al., 2019). IT competencies for nurses can also take quality and data safety to the next level by ensuring nurses’ understanding of different means of communication to implement safe multimedia-based patient education. For instance, as per TIGER’s competency 1.4.2 (Communication), every care provider should have at least a basic understanding of communication channels, whereas competency 1.4.3 (Virtual Communities) requires an adequate knowledge regarding social media activity and taking safety measures while communicating online (The Tiger Informatics Competencies Collaborative Team, n.d.). These competencies can prevent the release of confidential patient information online.
Self-Assessment and Strategies for Improvement
As a mental health nurse that participates in staff training and develops individualized care plans, I possess informatics strengths that align with some of TIGER and American Nurse Association (ANA) competencies. My strong sides as a technology user include basic computer competencies, ranging from an understanding of hardware-related concepts to technological factors that affect the computer and its operating system’s performance, and this knowledge falls under the scope of TIGER 1.1 (Hardware) and 1.2 (Software) competencies (TICC, n.d.). This knowledge assists me in the development of nurse teaching seminars and products, including presentations and handouts, which is related to ANA Standard 5b (Health Promotion and Health Teaching) (TICC, n.d.). My informatics-related preferences, however, mainly deal with further self-teaching and acquisition of experience with new software for nurse education, such as eZ Talks.
In my case, the potential challenges and areas for improvement pertain to skill advancement in using specific EHR software features, such as working with patient-provided data and voice recognition to process patient notes in a less time-consuming manner. These areas for skill improvement are interconnected with TIGER 1.4 (Capture Patient-Originated Data) and 6.0 (Care Documentation) competency statements and ANA Standard 5a (Coordination of Activities) (TICC, n.d.). In my setting, patient-reported subjective notes and perceived changes to well-being are routinely collected and processed without the use of the natural language processing technology, which creates these improvement opportunities. One promising strategy to enhance these and other skills involves accessing online EHR training programs offered by Epic. Alternatively, engaging in self-teaching by means of studying professional sources pertaining to recent advancements in EHR technology, including voice recognition and artificial intelligence, is a viable option.
Finally, informatics pervades different stages of the care process, including patient data collection and care coordination. Informatics competencies promote better instructional uses of media channels and prevent ethical breaches stemming from poor IT knowledge. Self-education remains a viable knowledge improvement strategy for care professionals.
Strudwick, G., Booth, R. G., McLean, D., Leung, K., Rossetti, S., McCann, M., & Strauss, J. (2020). Identifying indicators of meaningful patient portal use by psychiatric populations. Informatics for Health and Social Care, 45(4), 396–409.
Strudwick, G., Nagle, L., Kassam, I., Pahwa, M., & Sequeira, L. (2019). Informatics competencies for nurse leaders. JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration, 49(6), 323–330.
The Tiger Informatics Competencies Collaborative Team. (n.d.). Informatics competencies for every practicing nurse: Recommendations from the TIGER Collaborative. Author.
Zhong, X., Park, J., Liang, M., Shi, F., Budd, P. R., Sprague, J. L., & Dewar, M. A. (2020). Characteristics of patients using different patient portal functions and the impact on primary care service utilization and appointment adherence: Retrospective observational study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(2), 1–16.