Describing Informatics for Practice

After the first week of readings, in class discussion with my classmates in a presentation by the professor, I am getting a better understanding of what informatics means on a very large-scale and what it means for my particular practice of nursing. I learned that data needs to be turned into information and sorted into some kind of knowledge to apply to our practice. There are many technological tools in existence to help this process along.

Technology can collect, sort, and even analyze the data. The important thing with the technology being used is that it creates value to the human user. I would define informatics in the setting of nursing practice as using tools and technology to collect Data, process it into usable information, and distributed back to people in the format that gives it the most value to that person.  That person may be the healthcare worker that receives information in no way to make an action plan. That person may also be a patient who could have access to current information on his or her personal status or to the population to which he or she belongs.

The focus of concern in my practice concerns the coordination of a population specific program in the hospital setting. The three main informatics challenges are the collection of data from multiple sources, the processing of that Data into usable information, and distributing information to others in a format that gives it value to the target audience.

  1.  Data collection from multiple sources:  The raw data needed in this population specific program comes from paper documentation in either hardcopy or scanned form, electronic sources with variable interoperability such as with electronic medical record.
  2. Once the data is collected, calculations can be made to measure specific benchmarking and detecting trends. My current challenge is pulling the data from my first point, consolidating the data into a tool that can make calculations, and placing those calculations into a usable format in order to evaluate the program for opportunities for process improvement and measuring outcomes for the patients.
  3. Redistributing the information two specific entities in a media and manner that would give value to the information. This could be in benchmark or performance reports to those directly involved into those overall responsible for that organization.

In the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association, Dr. burner writes that tools must be developed to connect the information that is available about a patient to the electronic health record for the entire care team. This is a specially important between primary care physicians and hospitals in order for the primary care physician to have a up-to-date information on his or her patients.


Berner, E. S., & Moss, J. (2005). Informatics Challenges for the Impending Patient Information Explosion. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA, 12(6), 614–617.



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