T As I reflect on what a culture of safety means for me as an informatics nurse and what my role in a safety culture might be, it occurs to me that informatics nurses are the clinicians responsible for making sure that the health IT systems used by nurses contribute to, rather than detract from, nursing care. Specifically, informatics nurses work to assure health IT is:
Coordinated – Informatics nurses work to reduce clinical documentation burden, expressed by many nurses as a contributing factor affecting their ability to provide safe care and limiting their time at the bedside. By examining documentation elements to determine what information is necessary and meaningful, eliminating redundancy, and advocating for interoperability, informatics nurses coordinate documentation that meets the needs of the nurse and informs the healthcare team.
Useable – Workflow analysis and health IT optimization help IT systems better conform to the unique context that is nursing. Informatics nurses possess the skills to understand and diagram how nurses accomplish patient care so that health IT may be optimized within nursing workflow.
Supportive of Learning – Better structured data facilitates decision support and data sharing across settings. Informatics nurses work at local and national levels to make sure that commonly used tools, such as fall and skin assessment scales and definitions of what “normal” means in a nursing assessment, are included in standard terminologies. Facility-based informatics nurses incorporate these tools and parameters into their specific health IT systems.