Nurses and Informatics
We have entered the information age! Banks and stock markets move and track billions of dollars around the world every day through information systems. Factories and stores buy, build, sell, and account for the products in our lives through information systems. In schools, computers are being used as teaching tools and as instructional resources for students in such varied disciplines as astronomy, Chinese, and chemistry. The airline industry uses information systems to book seats, calculate loads, order meals, determine flight plans, determine fuel requirements, and even fly the planes and control air traffic. The information age has not left the health industry untouched. Moving beyond standard data processing for administrative functions common to all organizations such as human resource, payroll, and financial, information systems now play an important role in patient care by interpreting electrocardiograms, scheduling, entering orders, reporting results, and preventing drug interactions (by cross-referencing drug compatibility and warning appropriate staff). In addition, information systems are now being more widely used in support of population health and public health activities related to health protection (e.g., immunization), health promotion (e.g., well baby clinics), disease prevention (e.g., smoking cessation or needle exchange programs), and health monitoring or surveillance (e.g., restaurant inspection or air quality monitoring). Nurses have always had a major communication role at the interface between the patient/client and the health system. This role is now labeled information management, and nurses are increasingly using information systems to assist them to fulfill this role in clinical practice, administration, research, and education.
KeywordsMedical Informatics Needle Exchange Program Health Care Informatics Photograph Courtesy Baby Clinic
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