Archive for April 30th, 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.


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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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