How Clinical Informatics Can Affect You

In practicing clinical medicine, computers and programs are often used. These computers and programs are part of an information system. Clinical informatics is the study of such information systems which governs the practice of clinical medicine. Some of the facets of clinical informatics are data entry, telemedicine, imaging, data display and decision support.

Data Entry
A usual example is of a nurse taking the temperature of the patient. The nurse is using a point-of-care device to measure the temperature which will be transmitted to the electronic health record of the patient.

Even with the absence of the physical slides, a pathologist in Bethesda can conduct a review of the strange tumor found in a young male in the rural areas of California.

As technology progresses, new models of CT scanners can have the latest algorithms of software that can display 3-dimensional images. These 3D images could show vital structures’ reconstruction.

Data Display
This can be best described by graphs of median or even mean values using raw numbers. This will make things easier for a clinician conducting a review. In addition, abnormal vital signs can be highlighted.

Decision Support
Urgency of feedback at the ordering entry time is very essential especially about allergies of the patient and interactions amongst drugs. This is essential because it has proven to decrease the costs of healthcare as well as the morbidity of the patient.

Clinical informatics can greatly affect an individual as shown in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. Under the HIPAA, keeping insurance for employees who changes their jobs would be less troublesome. HIPAA contains a section on Administrative Simplification which is about the technology plans that would be used to make data transfer simpler. If you have used electronic billing for services involving health care since October of 2003, you have followed the transaction regulations of HIPAA. Take note that Medicare considers this as a requirement except if you stated you are a small practice in your record. There is no doubt that you have known about the privacy rules that has been in effect since April 2003 from business partners, health plans or hospitals.

Another way that clinical informatics can affect you is shown in the IOM report. The IOM report stated that there are about 100,000 medical errors yearly. This concern about medical errors was brought to the public. As a response to the report, another IOM report came out suggesting the use of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems. According to this report, CPOE systems would decrease medical errors if this technology is implemented.

The third means of clinical informatics affecting someone is through the National Health Information Infrastructure (NHII). The effort of developing a NHII was initiated by Dr. David Brailer, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology director, who was appointed by the Bush administration. The main objective of NHII is to make the patient information anywhere in the country in a digital or electronic format so it can be transmitted from its original storage area to where the patient is currently being treated if the need arises. It is noted though that there are clearly no plans for a central database containing patient information.

Implementation for the NHII is targeted to take about seven years. To achieve this objective, financial incentives are under the works to aid and encourage the acceptance of Electronic Health Records or EHRs.

Nursing Informatics: An Introduction

Nursing Informatics is a field that combines nursing science, with computer science and information science. The nursing informatics professional is responsible for converting patient and staff needs into computer programs for the purpose of giving higher understanding to technical support personnel for the purpose of enhancing nursing care. It has become highly relevant in today’s scenario wherein, the health care has become such a complex activity and as a result making use of computer and information science technologies is necessary to care too these growing demands.

In today’s world, a nursing informatics specialist has a wide range of positions open to them and they include management of nursing-related information system, writing programs that can be used to collect patient information, and training nurses to handle new computer systems.

It should be noted that professionals are not just people who key in data into the system they are needed to implement procedures and policies that help implement new programs. Nursing is a profession that seeks to look into the overall well-being of a patient and there are more than 200 nursing specialties and sub-specialties in the world. Nurses are responsible for the safety and recovery of ill and injured people, maintenance of patient health and also for providing treatment in the event of life-threatening emergencies in a range of health-care settings.It seeks to enhance nursing further by using technology to make the process of patient care more efficient.

Their key responsibility is to create an efficient system for information handling so that data handled by a nurse as part of their daily activities is quickly stored and can be quickly retrieved when needed. At times, a patient’s record created in one particular location would need to be retrieved by a staff in a hospital stated elsewhere. With a firm information system in place, such a task can be carried out in just minutes and patient care can be continued in the new location with all relevant details in place. In the United States, the American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA) is the country’s nursing informatics organization and it is located in San Clemente, California.