Nurses fulfill a diverse range of critical responsibilities in the front line of patient care. Providing physical and emotional support to patients and their families, administering medications, assisting with routine care and medical procedures and updating patient medical records are just some of the tasks that nurses are accountable for in the healthcare setting.
Nursing Informatics is considered a distinct specialty within the nursing profession which combines the care provision and healthcare aspects of nursing with the data and information management aspects associated with healthcare informatics. Nursing Informatics encompasses all usage of healthcare information technologies (HIT) to satisfy functions that are under the purview of nurses and to enable or streamline tasks that nurses carry out as part of their normal duties.
Over the past three decades, the proliferation of HIT in combination has allowed healthcare facilities to collect increasing quantities of patient data. In addition, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 required healthcare facilities to show meaningful use of electronic medical records, which resulted in the mass digitization of patient data that was previously stored on paper. Together, these changes mean that nurses can now enjoy streamlined access to patient data that can be used to support clinical decision making and drive better healthcare outcomes for patients.