Archive for April, 2013

Healthcare Informatics

April 30, 2013

Sometimes at work I feel like such a nerd. I have actually been called one due to the knowledge base that I possess at this time. At meetings, I will explain in detail some of the technologies, barriers, processes, etc. I watch nurse administrators eyes glaze over as I speak. It is very interesting to consider the scope of Informatics. By definition, informatics is the science of information. This in turn is defined by Webster’s as the collection, classification, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of recorded knowledge treated both as a pure and as an applied science; quite a mouthful.

Needless to say, the scope of informatics is very broad. The fields include nursing informatics, pharmacy informatics, medical informatics, lab informatics, radiology informatics, etc. It can range from the tools utilized to the Project Design and Management. It is an ever growing field with much diversity, challenge and opportunity for professionals.

Back to my nerdness; approximately one year ago, my CNO called me a nerd because I was able to download an application and run a DVD off of a laptop. Not that complicated but leads to the understanding that there are differing levels of competency in regards to informatics and technology.

This led me to volunteering for a Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) workgroup to develop informatics competencies for entry into the acute care hospital setting. This has been a very exciting and collaborative process and will support the institutions in providing entry level orientation to the technologies used on a day to day basis.

My current job description has informatics incorporated into it and I hope to become the Project Manager on the upcoming Pharmacy Pyxis MedStation project. However, reviewing the job postings at the different sites has inspired me to evaluate what I am currently doing and determine what I want to do with my informatics knowledge.

A few years ago, I came to the decision to change my focus from providing for the patients and their families to providing for the nurses. The assessment of my institution clearly has defined the need for a Clinical Informaticists to support the nursing staff in their move forward with EHR, eMAR, clinical documentation, Smart Pumps, Medication Stations, etc. The support would include implementation, initial education, ongoing education, and updates. It is all very exciting.

As I learn and grow within this field, I have determined that being a nerd is not so bad. Actually, I take it as a compliment; it means that I have been recognized as having a body of knowledge and I have been called upon frequently to use this knowledge base. I wonder if that could be a certification – NN, Nerd Nurse.

Links

Healthcare Informatics Online College Professor Teacher Instructor Available

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Employment Opportunities in Healthcare Informatics

April 30, 2013

Healthcare Informatics is such an exciting field and the opportunities are limitless. The movement towards electronic heath records, clinical documentation, application integration, smart pumps, decision support tools, etc. has spawned companies, education, specialists, technology tools, and identification of security needs, among other things.

Multiple opportunities exist for those in the Healthcare Informatics field; clinical analysts, data analysts, project managers, educators, directors, consultants, etc. Additionally, the work environment is vast; pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, information technology companies, and small businesses, to name a few.

It is very exciting to read the job postings for Informatics Specialists. There are many choices and challenges in the postings. It is also very thrilling to consider the demands that the positions will place on the intellect and ideas of an individual. The opportunity for growth, personally and professionally is another benefit to Informatics employment.

Within acute care facilities, the need for Nursing Informaticists is great. Many types of technologies are deployed for nurses to use and the technology does not meet the needs of the staff. Also, the technology is not all integrated which requires different logins, double documentation, changes to workflow, and sometimes changes to nursing practice. The growth of technology in Healthcare Institutions is to support the care of the patient but it is imperative that the tools work for the end users.

The future of informatics is not clearly defined. It is an open field; driven by the needs of the consumer, the developing technologies (medical and informatics), and the cost of the advancements. The direction of Healthcare Informatics can be guided by the leaders in the field. Experts with a vision and an open mind to embrace the changes that are bound to come will lead the future of Healthcare Informatics.

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Healthcare Online Education Consultant
Nursing Online Tutor

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

April 29, 2013

HCI is the study of interaction between people and computers. Interaction between users and computers occurs at the user interface, which includes both software and hardware. According to the Association for Computer Machinery, HCI is concerned with the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computer systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them. In the healthcare environment, and specifically implementing and electronic medical record (EMR), it is important to understand HCI to ensure the users and the computers interact successfully. The goals of HCI are to deploy usable, safe, and functional systems. Developers must try to understand how people use technology in order to produce computer systems used by their intended audience, which will improve the collection of accurate data. Consulting with the end users is important in gaining the understanding of their needs. Also, maintaining the involvement of the end user will often result in an increased acceptance of the new process or new system to be used. When evaluating the computer system, identifying the appropriate end user is important. Receiving feedback from someone who will interact with the interface on a daily basis is a good resource. Tasks the users will be performing and how often these tasks will be performed, need to also be defined. Measurements should be established, such as the number of users performing the tasks, the time it takes to complete the tasks, and the number of errors made. Once these evaluation procedures are in place, a system can be designed and tested. After the initial testing, the interface should be analyzed using the same established evaluation criteria. The developers should make changes where necessary as identified from the analysis of the testing, then, repeat the testing and evaluation process until an acceptable user interface is developed. Designing health care information systems utilizing HCI methodologies and usability resources is a critical aspect of increasing patient safety. Well designed computer interfaces and systems allow for correct data entry, understanding the display of information, and assisting with making skillful clinical decisions, which results in reduced errors. Additionally, using HCI concepts ultimately has a positive return on investment to the organization by identifying time needed to complete tasks, time needed to train staff, and the level of support staff involvement. Utilizing these concepts will result in reducing the end users frustration with the system and increases their productivity. Studies prove the benefits and the value of using HCI concepts in developing computer systems. As healthcare organizations implement EMRs, it is imperative to understand the need for human factors in developing computer systems to ensure their systems and their users work together effectively and efficiently.

Healthcare Informatics Online College Professor Teacher Instructor Available
Healthcare Informatics Online Tutor

Healthcare Information Systems and Project Management

April 29, 2013

Healthcare information systems refer to any technology that meets the needs of clinical management. These computer applications include databases, spreadsheets, statistical applications, decision support systems, and automated systems for research. These sites show the diversity of applications that are designed to support the delivery of care and are utilized in a variety of settings.

As the technology increases, the complexity of integrating these systems into a usable tool for the end user is extremely challenging. Successful implementation of the product is dependent on support from the application specialists and the implementation team and buy-in from the end users.

Project management is complex and critical in the implementation of an information system. Project management provides the guideline and communication for the project from the initial scope to the evaluation of the implementation and ongoing support. Listed below are some sites to support the project manager. We use Gantt charts to help document a project and its progress through the timeline.

http://www.evolt.org/article/A_Project_Management_Glossary/20/15355/

http://www.allpm.com/index.php

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_03.htm

http://www.planonthenet.com/screens.html

Healthcare informatics is a developing specialty. For nurses, certification provides validation of a nurse’s knowledge base in their field of specialty. Usually these certifications are identified as initials after the person’s name. These initials can be important in helping to define the abilities of that person. Certifications include:

1. Board Certification in Nursing Informatics by the American Nurses Credentialing Center http://www.nursecredentialing.org/Certification/NurseSpecialties/Informatics

2. HIMSS – Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS) http://himss.org/ASP/certification_cphims.asp

3. Health IT certification – Certified Professional in Health Information Technology (CPHIT) http://www.healthitcertification.com/about.html

In addition to certifications, there are different educational tracks in Healthcare Informatics. Post-degree certificates, Masters, PhD, DNP, and DNSc degrees are available depending on the route that the Informatics professional chooses to take; research, practice leader, etc.

Healthcare Online Education Consultant
Nursing Online Tutor

Education for health care providers: developmental assessment

April 26, 2013

I used to work for Children’s Hospital in the IMU unit. Many times, we as nurses would encounter many genetic disorders that were foreign to us or we just did not know enough about the disorder to help educate their parents. Since I also took classes in genetics, I found myself digging further into a particular website OMIM. This website was extremely useful in providing information on genetic diseases and compiled all the information and studies on each genetic problem. This was useful because if children were not reaching their physical or emotional development, many times this was addressed within the study and what was “normal” for that disease process. Many families were at a loss and just did not understand the disease process. The Internet was extremely useful in educating parents and myself regarding the physical and emotional assessment of their child. Also we could print out valuable information and documentation to explain to parents with diagrams and help teach parents about the disorder and what they could expect in the future. I found the Internet to be extremely helpful in ways that books could not.

Healthcare Informatics Online College Professor Teacher Instructor Available
Nursing Online Tutor

Electronic Communication

April 26, 2013

Computers have made information in the medical field more efficient. It is now possible for a physician to pull up a patients previous hospitalization, med list, and other important information about the patient. This information is helpful because the patient may not be able to tell you his medications or is unable to. This aids the physician in treating the patient wholly. In the future it would be nice to be able to view citywide hospitalizations as well as office visits. Ideally this would include alternative healthcare practitioners such as ND’s, herbalists, and kinesiologists, just to mention a few.

Healthcare Online Education Consultant
Healthcare Informatics Online Tutor

Use of informatics between schools and healthcare providers

April 25, 2013

School children are required to have a complete physical exam prior to starting school. The report is hand written by the physician and turned in by the parent to the school office. . During the school year, the child is only in contact with the school nurse if he/she is sick while in school or if he/she has an accident at school that requires medical intervention. If a child experiences problems after starting school and goes to see the physician, the school is not necessarily aware of what transpires during the visit. I see this as a potential breakdown in communication and a place where informatics could help. For instance, if the parents gave consent to the child’s doctor to release medical information to the school, then the doctor could have ongoing communication with the school nurse. I believe that if the information could be provided electronically, it would make it more convenient for the physician to share the information. Most health care providers are extremely busy and may not be willing to hand write information. With the use of electronics, the doctor could dictate the information for input by a medical assistant. The school nurse could then have easy access to that information. The school nurse could have a database for every child where this information could be stored. I think this information would be especially helpful in assessing/detecting problems associated with hearing. A child who is having difficulty hearing may be mistaken for a child who is having behavioral difficulties. The child may be placed in a special program without identifying the root of the problem. If the child’s complaints are properly identified, then the nurse could tailor her interventions accordingly. The nurse could also use this form of communication to inform the child’s physician of problems that may be initially identified at the school.

Healthcare Online Education Consultant
Healthcare Informatics Online College Professor Teacher Instructor Available
Healthcare Informatics Online Tutor
Nursing Online Tutor

Distributed Education: valuable in the healthcare environment

April 25, 2013

Distributed education and distance learning capabilities benefit the health care professional by providing anytime and anywhere high quality learning opportunities. This capability allows hospital personnel to more easily obtain credentials and keep up with continuing education requirements. Distance learning also promotes and facilitates communication among hospital personnel and hospital professionals. Many online resources promote collaboration across disciplines and institutions by facilitating the exchange of peer reviewed educational materials, knowledge, and solutions, which ultimately improve patient care. Additionally, implementation of an e-learning or learning management system enables healthcare organization to provide accessibility, reuse content, and interoperability of learning objects and tracking of learner progress. There is an increasing need for healthcare workers to transfer computer and information management skills to the workplace. The growing use of technologies through distributed education within healthcare professions is due to requirements of maintaining certifications, obtaining continuing education, and completing e-learning competencies. The advantage of distributed education and technology has created a multitude of opportunities for the ongoing development of the adult learner. Distributed education enables the healthcare professional to increase their skills in ongoing lifelong learning, which assists in providing improved patient care, resulting in better health outcomes.

Healthcare Online Education Consultant
Healthcare Informatics Online College Professor Teacher Instructor Available
Healthcare Informatics Online Tutor
Nursing Online Tutor

Seasonal Allergies

April 22, 2013

I have two children who suffer from seasonal allergies. Their symptoms are similar, usually characterized by rhinitis and frequent sinus infections. These recurrent problems often lead to frequent trips to the doctor’s office. In the past, I’ve been asked by the doctor to keep a hand written account of their symptoms to take back to the office. I believe that if the information could be sent to the doctor electronically, it would be more convenient for the pt, and the doctor could share the information with other clinicians. The data could also be organized to look for any patterns between patients.

Healthcare Online Education Consultant
Healthcare Informatics Online College Professor Teacher Instructor Available
Healthcare Informatics Online Tutor
Nursing Online Tutor


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