Healthcare and nursing informatics are constantly growing within the medical field, which regularly incorporates new technologies. Nursing informatics is defined by McGonigle and Mastrian (2017) as “a specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice” (p. 7).
Thus, the following project aims to investigate the need for implementation of information technology in clinical settings in order to aid in patient diagnostics and treatment. The project will also examine the current issues with point-of-care applications and propose possible solutions.
Nursing informatics is a multidimensional subject that has the potential for improving nursing practice, patient outcomes, and overall quality of healthcare. According to Sweeney (2017), technological innovations in nursing informatics “do not go without implications in the clinical setting, managerial setting, and the policy setting” (“Summary,” para. 1). Therefore, a broad range of stakeholders might be impacted by the project, including nurses and patients, managers and leaders of healthcare organizations, regulatory and legislative bodies.
Nurses would be able to gain access to timely and accurate medical information via specialized point-of-care mobile applications. Additionally, there would be options for submitting new information and clinical data via the app, including patients’ vitals, lab testing results, physical exams, and GPS location.
In their turn, managers and leaders would receive the data and statistics from the application, allowing them to analyze real-time situations and make decisions based on factual and relevant information about their healthcare organization, employees, and patients. Finally, the implementation of point-of-care applications would be handled by regulatory and legislative bodies. As stakeholders, they would be responsible for issuing standards and policies for the application’s usage and functioning, as well as the protection of patients’ confidential data.
Patient outcomes and patient-care efficiencies
The use of technology in nursing practice might improve patient outcomes and patient-care efficiencies through effective documentation and collection of medical information, as well as predictions based on diagnostical data from point-of-care applications. According to Krakowski and Mook (2019), “with technology advances, we have the ability to accomplish regulatory work with standard practice, to provide efficiencies of space, and to provide access-to-care resources resulting in improved safety and efficiency” (as cited in Houston et al., p. 45).
The project aims to improve patient outcomes and patient-care efficiencies such as successful treatment of health conditions, prevention of complications, the building of clinical case databases, and real-time patient support by care-providers.
Successful diagnostics and prediction might lead to positive outcomes in treatment and patients’ care. The improvement would be possible with the help of diagnostic tools and Artificial Intelligence incorporated into medical applications. For example, a home-care elderly patient with diabetes would benefit from the point-of-care application allowing him to regularly submit the results of at-home blood-sugar testing and physical exams. The patient would be able to get adequate care and avoid complications, while the results would be documented, monitored by his nurse, and saved for statistical analysis allowing further clinical use.
Additionally, real-time support and application updates would help to keep patients in touch with their care providers and receive information on their condition in a timely manner. For instance, a patient with a mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimer’s Disease would receive regular updates containing the results of her tests.
The psychological issues and concerns caused by the disease might be alleviated by the immediate remote support of a care provider and nurses. The point-of-care application would also contain reminders for further procedures and hospital visits. Therefore, medical applications might be a valuable tool for effective and timely patient care, ensuring the best possible outcomes and solutions to problems caused by a patient’s condition.
Technological innovations, such as the widespread usage of mobile devices and specialized medical applications, positively affect healthcare efficiency. The adoption of information technology in clinical settings might help to establish “a mechanism to improve care delivery and create a safer patient environment, provided it is implemented appropriately and considers surrounding workflow” (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017, p. 246). It is worth examining the technologies required to implement the project to understand the significance of nursing informatics in healthcare.
As a nurse at Trinity Home Health and Hospice Care, I interact with technology on a daily basis and find it particularly helpful in my clinical practice. Mobile phones and tablets equipped with medical software facilitate retrieval and formatting of patients’ data. However, I often encounter multiple issues with medical applications, such as connection problems, system errors, privacy risks, and outdated content. Therefore, the project’s goal is to offer potential solutions to improve existing point-of-care applications based on the technologies to be implemented or upgraded.
The first technology to be used in medical apps is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Patel et al. (2019) suggest that “the next generation of nursing informaticists will smartly leverage predictive methods and Artificial Intelligence methods and tools to learn more about healthcare, populations, and patients” (as cited in Houston et al., p. 33).
AI might help perform patient diagnostics as well as software tests preventing crashes and system errors. Additionally, cloud technology might be improved, so that the IT department would be able to offer timely support and fix synchronization issues. Finally, the GPS tracking function needs to be reformed to protect patient’s and nurses’ privacy.
Mobile devices’ geolocation data should be encrypted and protected by strong passwords, which is not the case in some point-of-care apps that might be easily hacked. Thus, the measures mentioned above might increase the effectiveness and usability of point-of-care apps, which, in turn, improves the workflow of nurses and other medical professionals.
As a knowledge worker, a nurse informatician should be able to effectively work both independently and in multidisciplinary teams, whose members possess complementary skills and knowledge. According to Sweeney (2017), “multidisciplinary unity is crucial to ensure public trust in our health systems and to provide safe and effective patient care” (“Summary,” para. 1).
Teams are expected to “work across boundaries of organizations” and to be “organized around a particular patient” (Nagle et al., 2017, p. 215). Thus, well-balanced cooperation between nurses, leaders, members of IT departments, and patients is crucial for the seamless functioning of point-of-care applications.
The role of a nurse informaticist will involve retrieving patient information, real-time submission, and new medical data formatting. Nurses’ effective communication with patients and their education is vital for adequate treatment and prevention of complications. Management and leaders will be in charge of point-of-care treatment strategy and serve as a link between nurses and the IT department, preventing possible communication gaps.
The IT department will be responsible for the development of new technological features and maintenance of existing apps, including regular updates. Moreover, day-to-day cooperation between nurse informaticists and the IT department will be necessary to avoid and solve problems with the point-of-care app. IT specialists will be able to offer remote support to nurses in cases of app crashing or synchronization issues. Overall, the communication between team members is the key to the successful implementation of information technologies in healthcare.
Houston, S. M., Dieckhaus, T., Kirchner, B., & Lardner, M. C. (Eds.). (2019). An introduction to nursing informatics: Evolution and innovation (2nd ed.). CRC Press.
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2017). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Nagle, L., Sermeus, W., & Junger, A. (2017). Evolving role of the nursing informatics specialist. In J. Murphy, W. Goossen, & P. Weber (Eds.), Forecasting Informatics Competences for Nurses in the Future of Connected Health (pp. 212–221). IOS Press. Web.
Sweeney, J. (2017). Healthcare informatics. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics, 21(1). Web.