Nursing Informatics. Decision Support Tools


Health informatics refers to the integration of medical care, information technology, and computer technology. Health informatics involves equipment, resources, and techniques needed to maximize the achievement, recovery, storage, and utilization of data in biomedicine and health. Health informatics equipment consists of medical guidelines, laptop, data, and communication structures, and recognized clinical terminologies. Therefore, health informatics is implemented to the sectors of dental clinic, environmental health, nursing, medical care, medical investigation, and chemist (Bakken, 2001, p. 200). This paper will discuss on the nursing informatics.

Informatics and paperwork/communication

Nursing informatics refers to the amalgamation of nursing science, information technology and computer knowledge created to help in the processing and controlling the health knowledge, information, and data in order to promote the nursing practice and delivery. Any utilization of information advancements by nurses in association with patient care, the management of medical care facilities or even learning preparation of persons to perform the nursing activities is regarded as nursing informatics. Clinical informatics involves the utilization of information within the medical care set up by the health care providers or clinicians. The use of informatics has streamlined communication since the clinical informaticians modify medical care information through analyzing, creating, applying and assessing data and communication systems which promote personal and population health results, enhance patient care and reinforce the relationship between the clinician and the patient. In addition, clinical informaticians utilize their skills of patient care integrated with their comprehending of informatics ideas, techniques, and equipment to do the following. First, to evaluate data and knowledge needs regarding medical care professionals and patients. Secondly, to categorize, assess, and refine medical procedures. Thirdly, to advance, employ, and refine clinical decision support setting. Fourthly, to play a role in procurement, administration, advancement, application, continuous improvement, and customization, this is involved in medical information system. Therefore, use of informatics has improved communication since health care providers work together other information technology and medical care personnel in order to improve patient care which is successful, safe, equitable, timely, reasonable, and patient-centered (Bates, 2000, pp. 789-790).

Similarly, use of informatics has streamlined paperwork since health care providers no longer writer information on papers but rather use electronic medical records. Moreover, the patients are not involved with the tiring work of feeling questions on the papers. As a result, this has improved the patient care, and minimized costs and headaches due to misplaced information. In addition, these has made it easier for health care providers since they can share information online and discuss a certain health condition; thus, come up with an effective measure that can handle such condition. Additionally, to the effectiveness in health care provider’s paperwork, health informatics can streamline medical billing such that patients are not caught up in multiple statements every time they make a visit to the physician. As a result, this will make it easier for the patient to have prescriptions filled and promote communication between the healthcare facility admitting desk and the clinic health care provider. However, for effective streamlining of communication and paperwork within the health care facilities, there is need to train all the employees within the hospitals how to use the new technology (Braunwald, Fauci, Kasper, Hauser & Longo, 2001, p. 34). This is because technology cannot be integrated efficiently into the medical care without professionals getting involved into it.

Informatics and decision support tools

The use of informatics provides decision support tools. Considering the aspect that the whole sector of health technology is developing drastically, it is therefore clear that computer science and information technology are aiming at improving patient care and results. Moreover, the online database which offers access to the fundamental information like medicine, commercially accessible databases are mostly utilized to help in decision making. For instance the online medicine information databases which are utilized to aid in improving medical decision support concerning several patient-associated therapeutic options such as measuring weight-grounded or renally-dysfunctional dosing regimes, following up drug interactions, and recognizing safety risks. In addition, use of informatics has provided clinicians with decision support tools that have helped them in measuring patient’s diagnosis and evaluation. The decision support tools assist the health care providers where they interact with the tools through using the skills of the physicians and that of the decision support tools in order to design effective analysis of the information of the patient. Basically, the decision support tools make options of outputs for the health care providers to go through and eventually the physician selects the appropriate information and eliminates incorrect suggestions (Coenen, McNeil, Bakken, Bickford & Warren, 2001, pp. 242-245).

Decision support tools are significant since it is knowledge used by physician at the area of care, implement the best evidence, assist clinician in diagnosing and analyzing hence, it act like the peripheral brain. Similarly, they help in decision making and promote medical care procedures and results. Health informatics provides decision support tools through improving patient safety by minimizing the clinical errors and promoting treatment and test ordering. Secondly, it promotes the quality of health care through the use of evidence based medicine, application of medical guidelines and pathways, rising quality time for effective direct patient care, and improving medical documentation. The use of informatics has also provided decision support tools by improving effectiveness in medical care delivery which has helped in minimizing medical billing, adverse events, and test replication. For instance, physician would gather patient’s information and recommends a group of suitable diagnosis and then gets the output given by the decision support system, and consider the appropriate diagnosis.

In order to improve decision support system, health care providers should avoid depending on the electronic system fully and instead use their skills in combination in order to come up with effective patient’s outcome. In addition, all health care providers ought to be computer literate in order to interpret information efficiently. This is because trained physicians are needed since the main thing is the association between the clinicians and computer-grounded decision making tool. To improve the decision support systems, health care providers ought to improve their technology or knowledge regarding computer science in order to operate the system effectively and receive effective suggestions which will give them the appropriate diagnosis for the patient; hence, enhance patient safety (Coenen, McNeil, Bakken, Bickford & Warren, 2001, pp. 246-247).

As the provision of medical care growth and development becomes multifaceted, the dependence on efficient systems to curb clinical errors might be increasingly serious. Medical care persists to be involved in separated systems which have few safeguards and little standardization, particularly when compared with other firms. Therefore, in this multifaceted and uneven surrounding, it is not a wonder that clinical errors frequently happen. The devastating quantity of health care information, combined with the drastic development in modern technologies and pharmaco-therapies, heightening period restraints based on providers, creating lot of pressures to minimize costs, and suboptimal set ups for provision of health care, make it basically difficult for individual health care providers to offer excellent, high-quality, and error-free medical care based on consistence.

Informatics and patient safety

In the enormous majority of health conditions, clinical errors do not rise from personal incompetence or negligence. Clinical errors occur since clinicians are human beings and people make mistakes. This is dependence on deficient reminiscence, processing and making of decision could result into heightened rates of clinical errors and compromised safety of the patient. Additionally, most of the medical errors occur due to faulty machines designs which permit the occurrence of errors. Therefore, the solution is through the implementation of systems that can reduce the possibility of human errors such as computers. This has been solved by the use of health informatics that has improved the patient safety. This has been achieved through the utilization of information systems which help health care providers in designing the best probable medical decisions (Tierney, Saint, & Whooley, 2007, p. 45).

Therefore, using health informatics by the utilization of automatic decision support system, patient safety has been improved. For instance, the use of automated decision support system has minimized the occurrence rate of adverse drug situations associated with antibiotic administration by approximately 75 percent. In addition, implementation of health informatics has importantly minimized orders for pharmaceuticals that the sick individuals reported issues concerning unpleasant effects and allergies which were du to antibiotic (Tierney, Saint, & Whooley, 2007, p. 49).

Therefore, health informatics has improved patient safety through reduction of medical errors, developing prescribing patterns, and improving medication decisions. Additionally, recent development in information technology has been publicized for many years, several of these implementations have not been assessed satisfactorily within the medical care sector. For instance, wireless HHC (hand-held computers) like the PDA (personal digital assistants), give great possibility as portable communication equipment which could offer data and decision support. In a research, these equipments were seen to advance the recognition and prevention of unpleasant situations within the intensive care unit (ICU) set up (Tierney, Saint, & Whooley, 2007, p. 50). Nevertheless, more investigation is required within the medical sector to assess their impacts on significant patient results in several medical care systems.

Patient safety can also be improved through the utilization of the computerized medication dispensers and treatment or medication bar codes. These systems can be used to minimize medical errors. In addition, patient safety can also be improved through the implementation of scannable patient bracelets which consists of medicines, allergy, and additional clinical data. These tools might assist in ensuring the correctness of treatment, blood commodities, and other clinical therapeutics which are offered to patients. Moreover, they might be utilized to produce attentive information regarding drug-drug associations, allergies, and other probable predicament prior to erroneous administration happens.

Similarly, smart card could be used in improving patient safety since the card operates like an ATM which permits the holder to access banking information. Therefore, since smart cards would allow the sick individual to carry personal medical information and could be available to the health care provider electronically, hence; this could improve patient safety by maintaining information privately.


In conclusion, nursing informatics refers to the amalgamation of nursing science, information technology and computer knowledge created to help in the processing and controlling the health knowledge, information, and data in order to promote the nursing practice and delivery. It is significant since it has streamlined communication and paperwork, provided decision support tools, and improved patient safety.

Reference List

Bakken, S. (2001). An informatics infrastructure is essential for evidence-based practice. Med. Inform. Assoc, 8:199—201.

Bates, W. (2000). Using information technology to reduce rates of medication errors in hospitals. BMJ, 320:788–790.

Braunwald, E., Fauci, A., Kasper, D., Hauser, K., & Longo, D. (2001). Harrison’s Manual of Medicine. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Coenen, A., McNeil, B., Bakken, S., Bickford, C., & Warren, J. (2001). Toward comparable nursing data: American Nurses Association Criteria for Data Sets, Classification Systems. Med. Inform. Assoc. 19: 240—247.

Tierney, L., Saint, S., & Whooley, M. (2007). Essentials of Diagnosis and Treatment. New York: McGraw-Hill.