Informatics is useful throughout everyday life. When someone is doing research on the internet, checking their personal email, or using a car’s navigation system they are using informatics. Informatics has become possible through the advancement of computer technology. The American Nurses Association (ANA) describes nursing informatics as the combination of nursing and computer science to help manage data and information within the nursing field (Newbold, n. d. ). The purpose of this paper is to explore the benefits of informatics in the nursing field. Paperwork vs. Informatics
Informatics has led to the decrease for paperwork that is necessary in the nursing world. There are several benefits to using computers instead of paper. For instance, from the eco-friendly perspective, computers lead to less paper thus saving trees. Using fewer trees benefits everything on Earth. Another important way that computers have benefited society is the improvement of organization. The use of computers helps obtain organization with ease. Most states enforce a law stating to keep medical records for seven years after the patient’s last services at the facility or the patient’s death (Kasprak, n. . ).
Prior to the use of electronic medical records, these records could be often located in large storage rooms that could possibly lead to the difficulty in locating the file. Locating files electronically is more efficient and easier. Past Medical History Hospitals are using informatics to switch over to electronic records. This provides quick access to the patients past medical history. For example, if a patient comes in through the emergency room with nothing but their driver’s licenses, doctors and nurses would be able quickly access the medical records. This swiftness can potentially save lives.
Most computerized charting has all lab and radiology results, dictated health and physical and recent medications, allowing doctors to view results of the most recent test. The information that can be located through past charting could provide swift live saving potential. When admitting patients to a unit, the nurses are responsible for updating the electronic history. Any history obtained from an admission is automatically stored. Medications that were started and continued at the last discharge are readily available, providing doctors an easy continue or discontinue list.
Some immunizations are given annually while others are not administers but once in a live time. Charting systems allow immunizations to be entered upon administration. This process ensures that a patient is not administered the same immunizations more than necessary. Easy Lab Results Lab results are updated in a computer when the results are released. With one click of a button, the last five results of the same test will appear, allowing comparable measures. These comparable results permit the doctors to see if their orders or medications are helping the patient.
Utilizing paper would cause the doctor to compare results by flipping through paperwork. Using informatics in the medical profession has allowed better organization throughout the nursing field. Support Tools The uses of computers allow easy access to numerous applications that will provide useful information to the patients and nurses alike. The lay people can look up information related to their health, medications, and / or diagnosis with the use of today’s technology. Nurses can utilize the internet to obtain information about something they do not fully understand.
Some healthcare facilities have access to different programs that the nurses use. For example, Micromedex is utilized in some hospitals to not only teach nurse, but to help teach the patients information as well. Micromedex when used to its full potential is beneficial to everyone. Micromedex is one of the many programs that make teaching / learning an easy experience. This particular program allows one to view information in a nurse’s, patient’s, or family member’s perspective. Another important aspect of this particular program, decreases the need for drug books or lab books to just name a few.
Micromedex allows one to just type in the medication’s name and information about the drug is given. If a nurse wants to compare IV drug compatibility, programs such as Micromedex will allow someone to gather the information quickly (Not searching: Finding, 2012). Patient Safety and Informatics Patient safety is desired throughout the medical community. Informatics has the ability to provide this much-needed desire. For example, computerized provided order entry (CPOE) offers some relief to the problems of patient safety. CPOE allows the doctors to enter their orders in electronically, either while in the facility or even from home.
Orders being entered via the computer allows easy to read orders, allowing nurses and pharmacist to know exactly what the doctor intended to order. The reduction in having to clarify orders ensures that the patient can receive his or her medication in a timely manner (Thede, 2012). Often doctors’ handwriting are unreadable, causing a delay in the nurse to carry out the orders. CPOE increases the patients’ safety by speeding up the process orders being carried out. Medication Administration Another way that informatics has improved patient safety, is through the use barcode medication administration.
Barcode administration ensures that they five rights of the patients’ are carried out: right patient, right time, right dose, right route, and right drug (Hebda & Czar, 2009). The process of to using a computer to double check the nurse will ultimately promote patient safety. Nurses may tend to get in a hurry to administer medicine, in response this may lead to patients receiving the wrong drug or dose. Another way that informatics has improved safety starts in the pharmacy department. During the admission process, the nurse and / or physician is responsible for keying in a patient’s allergies.
When a new medicine is ordered, the pharmacist is responsible for entering it into the patient’s orders. Some hospitals have a check system in place to double check the drugs for any potential sensitivity. For example, using informatics pharmacists and nurses are alerted that a patient who is allergic to Penicillin will be sensitive to Zosyn. Some may view informatics as making the jobs of pharmacist, doctors, and nurses easier; while others view it as improving patient safety and satisfaction. Conclusion The use of computers and technology improves many things within the medical field.
The ability to store information electronically helps speed up the process of accessing medical history. Before electronic health records someone would have to locate files within a filing room. In addition, the facilities would be responsible for maintaining the records for at least seven years. Electronic records allow information to be easily kept up with. Test results, whether labs or radiology results can be easily viewed through the use of technology. In the past for many hospitals, doctors were forced to compare results by flipping through paperwork.
Now, with just a click of a button doctors can view and compare the past results. Patient safety is a goal of most hospitals. Informatics ensures safety in many different aspects. Allowing orders to be entered through the computer helps ensure that the right order is transcribed. After the medications keyed in, the pharmacist, along with the computers, check it with any potential conflicts. The nurse is then responsible for administering the medication to the patient. Through barcodes a patients safety has greatly improved.
Hebda, T., & Czar, P. (2009). Handbook of informatics for nurses & health care professionals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Kasprak, J. (n.d.). Patient access to medical records. Connecticut General Assembly. Retrieved from http://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/rpt/2006-r-0599.htm
Newbold, S. (2011). A new definition for nursing informatics. Advance for Nurses. Retrieved from http://nursing.advanceweb.com/Article/A-New-Definition-for-Nursing-Informatics.aspx
Not searching. Finding. (2012). Micromedex. Retrieved from http://www.micromedex.com/
Thede, L. (2012). Informatics: Where is it? OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(1). doi: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol17No1InfoCol01