Why Pursue a Masters in Informatics?
Many students and nurses ask why the big push on informatics?
The progress of technology in business has created some startling discoveries regarding how we purchase goods, shop, socialize, and even perform work. Most of us have experienced this business side of technology and informatics. You visit your favorite website to shop for a bargain and while you are clicking through pages a pop-up appears with a link to your favorite item - and it's on sale! As you click on it and decide to purchase, you wonder was this just chance or does this system know what you want?
It's now commonplace for the websites you visit to gather information about you. This data provides the company with vital information regarding your likes, dislikes, and even your personal spending habits. When companies use this data to present you, the consumer, with the perfect bargain at just the right time, that's called business informatics and analytics.
What does this have to do with nursing and a degree in informatics? Well, the same kind of information systems used for years in business are now entering healthcare, although for very different reasons. Healthcare is using technology to improve the quality of care. Practitioners are gaining the ability to see patient trends that were invisible with traditional paper charts. Nurses are now able to draw information from a variety of sources and quickly tie that information together to obtain patient status, onset of infections or disease, or even predict complications.
Why should nurses increase their knowledge about Informatics? Nurses studying informatics can greatly benefit from understanding how to gather, sort, and extract data to make better clinical decisions and improve patient care. One of the biggest issues facing nurses each day is patient safety.
Nurses wanting to ensure patient safety need to understand and increase their knowledge of informatics systems in order to maintain good outcomes for their patients. Many industry informatics organizations are urging nurses to become experts in informatics for these reasons. For example, in a report assessing the links between the EMR and patient safety, the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) has stated that "the end-user of electronic health record applications technologies also has a critically important role to play in enhancing the usability and safety of electronic health record applications."
Most of all, the fact that informatics is vital to nursing - and will continue to be a primary source of good patient care for the future - sends a message that all nurses should embrace in their practice each day. The need for specialists in informatics will only grow as technology integrates with all aspects of health care. All nurses can embrace and engage technology and informatics in nursing practice today - patients expect the best we can provide.