What Is Nursing Informatics?

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A nursing informaticist reviews patient data on a computer screen.To provide their patients with the highest standards of care, doctors and nurses rely on their medical knowledge and clinical acumen. Additionally, technology plays an increasingly vital role in promoting the best outcomes, while simultaneously ensuring accuracy and efficiency. For example, electronic health records (EHR) allow clinicians to quickly obtain up-to-date patient histories and collaborate more readily with specialists.

Deploying these clinical technologies is largely a function of nursing informatics. What is nursing informatics, exactly? In basic terms, it’s a field that applies computer systems, databases, and other technologies to improve health care delivery and outcomes. Advanced education in nursing, including Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs, entails the study of information technology as a clinical support tool. In an increasingly digitized health care industry, nurses with training in informatics are better positioned for career advancement opportunities.

What Do Nursing Informaticists Do?

The field of nursing informatics combines traditional nursing skills, including diagnostics and patient care, with information technology (IT). Nursing informaticists are typically trained as RNs but have additional training in technology. The goal is to create technological support systems that empower nurses to do their work as efficiently and as effectively as possible, ensuring the best experience and outcomes for patients. Nursing informaticists make it easier for doctors and nurses to treat their patients using evidence-based care and data analysis.

While nursing informaticists sometimes perform the same functions as other nurses, the role is distinguished by various technological activities. Specifically, nursing informaticists process data — such as a patient’s history and treatments and outcomes from patients with similar symptoms or diagnoses — to more quickly and acutely identify the most effective treatment options.

What Is the Nursing Informatics Job Description?

While the day-to-day responsibilities of a nursing informaticist may vary from one position to the next, some of the most common duties include:

  • Using technologies to improve patient workflows, streamlining the patient care experience, and minimizing systemic inefficiencies
  • Retrieving and reviewing data in order to identify potential risks and promote patient safety
  • Keeping information systems up to date by upgrading or replacing elements of the IT infrastructure
  • Appraising doctors and nurses on any changes to the health IT structure and educating them on how to use clinical technologies as efficiently as possible

What Are the Benefits of Informatics in Nursing?

The use of informatics in nursing offers a number of benefits to patients and clinicians alike. Some of the most notable advantages include:

Improved Quality of Care

By incorporating new technologies into health care, nursing informatics allows providers to access a range of data about their patients. Providers are then empowered to make more judicious decisions about evidence-based care, choosing medications, procedures or other treatments that bear the highest chances of successful and expedient resolutions.

Greater Clinical Efficiency

Another benefit to the use of informatics in nursing is enhanced efficiency. By relying on data, clinicians can streamline the patient care journey, eliminating tests or diagnostics that are deemed unnecessary and moving straight on to the most promising treatments. Informatics may also help reduce the need to send patients to redundant or irrelevant specialists for consultations.

Easier Coordination Between Providers

In some cases, providers may need to collaborate, drawing on different disciplines to arrive at the clearest diagnosis and the most effective treatment plan. Informatics helps to ensure complete patient records, which can be shared digitally in order to keep all providers on the same page.

What Is the Average Nursing Informatics Salary?

Those who are curious about the field will naturally have questions about salary.

According to Payscale data, the median annual nursing informatics salary was around $86,000 in March 2023. A number of factors can affect this salary range, including years of experience, level of education and geographic location.

Bridging Patient Care and Clinical Technology

Technology plays a significant role in patient care, with nursing informaticists at the forefront of using data and IT infrastructures to improve clinical outcomes and streamline health care workflows. Those who are passionate about patient care and drawn to technology may want to consider a career in this field.

One of the best ways to prepare for success in nursing informatics is to pursue an advanced education. Hawaiʻi Pacific University’s online Master of Science in Nursing program is designed for BSN-trained nurses who wish to advance their skills, propel their careers, and provide greater value to health organizations. The program offers multiple concentrations for those who wish to become nurse practitioners, plus exposure to important nurse informatics concepts. Find out how Hawaiʻi Pacific University can help you advance a meaningful nursing career.

Recommended Readings

17 Nursing Career Paths: Clinical and Non-Clinical Options

How to Keep a Nursing License Active When You are Not Working

Autonomy in Nursing: Why it Matters

Sources:

Forbes, What Is an EHR? Everything You Need to Know

Health Catalyst, The Three Essential Responsibilities of a Nurse Informaticist

Indeed, What Is Nursing Informatics?

Payscale, Average Nursing Informatics Specialist Salary

Symplr, What Is Nursing Informatics?

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses