Healthcare Informatics and Health Assessment

According to Cowen and Moorhead (2006), healthcare informatics is defined as “the processes of science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, and knowledge in practice and facilitates the integration of data, information, and knowledge to support patients, nurses, and other providers in their decision-making in all roles and settings” (p. 126). An electronic medical record (EMR) is defined as a set of databases that contains the health information for patients within a given institution or organization (Health IT, 2007). The creation of electronic patient records will allow patient medical histories and health assessments to be shared from provider to provider which will allow important patient information to be communicated to provide safe patient care by all providers. The electronic medical record will also assist in eliminating redundant paper charting by making nurses’ job easier and more effective (Simpson, 2003). It will also eliminate separate, individual charts to be maintained for each patient by healthcare providers (Simpson, 2003). With information technology (IT), the Internet is being used to integrate healthcare organizations and their systems to share patient records, a tool for staff education as well as a resource for patient education on disease processes, and a tool for research (Simpson, 2003). According to Simpson (2003), the Internet is the most empowering technology for patients. Even though technology is expensive, the benefits of improved efficiency, productivity, and the creation of a professional environment maximize the benefits over the cost (Simpson, 2003). With up-to-the-minute computerized patient data, this allows the healthcare professional to make the right decisions at the right time to ensure the right patient outcomes and safety (Simpson, 2003).

References:
Cowen, P. S., & Moorhead, S. (2006). Current Issues in Nursing (7th ed.). St Louis, Missouri: Mosby, Inc.
Health IT (2007). Overview: Health IT. Retrieved June 28, 2007, from http://www.healthitnow.org
Simpson, R. L. (2003, April). Back to Basics with IT and Patient-Centered Care. Nursing Management, 14-16.

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