By Dawn Vellenoweth, RN, BScN, BA
*Reprinted from the May 2016 Issue of N-Form
Nursing Informatics exists in an ever-changing and adaptive environment with the potential for a tremendous amount of growth and change. Whether you’re in a traditional nursing role or a non-traditional one, this is an interesting time of transformation in healthcare and information technology. Each and every nurse plays an important role in the transformations that are currently taking place.
As information technology has evolved over the years, it has impacted health care in a number of ways. Nursing practice influences technology as technology influences practice, and each contributes to an evolution in health care that continues to progress. The rapid momentum of this evolution will continue into the future and can be seen spanning many disciplines and decades in healthcare. Nurses are known for their capacity to recognize value, opportunity and significance as well as their ability to identify concerns before they become problems. Their aptitude to support, manage and enhance the process of change throughout the development and implementation of new technologies helped pave the way for the evolution of both modern healthcare practices and modern information access. Nursing Informatics have come a long way since Florence Nightingale began compiling and sharing her statistical data. Today, the vital support of nurses leads to improved continuity of care and increasing access to a variety of data. This, ultimately, contributes to better clinical practices and leads to improved patient care.
Today, technology has reached a point where it can effectively support the needs of patient care and facilitate the transition to improved methods of healthcare delivery and management. With increasingly useful applications available for patient and staff use, communication methods allowing for care provision in isolated locations, and an increasing ability to provide improved continuity of care across disciplines, locations and time, we are moving into a new age of healthcare. As nurses, we will be making significant contributions to the future of healthcare.
As technology evolves to encompass an increasing amount of information, allowing for faster access to more accurate statistics and research, better access to care for many, and more effective follow-up care and continuity of care, our roles are evolving to enrich the services we provide. Communication technologies are encouraging patients to play a key role in their care teams, which is providing a venue for improved service as well as improved care and outcomes. This multi-disciplinary, multifaceted approach to patient care, combined with easy access to information for both the patient and the care team, is bringing us into a future of new possibilities.