Nurse informaticists are 'critical' for health IT revolution, HIMSS says

Nurse informaticists should have a greater role in health IT, HIMSS asserts in a new position statement. HIMSS also calls for improved informatics education for nurses. The statement reflects the recommendations of theInstitute of Medicine report, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health."

Since nurses play a key role in patient-centered care and have extensive contact with patients, HIMSS argues, they need to be involved in informatics-related decisions that will have a major impact on patient care. "Nurses integrating informatics solutions into clinical encounters are critical for the transition to an automated healthcare environment that promotes the continuum of care across time and place."

In addition, HIMSS points out, nurses can help in the transition to mobile healthcare and can teach patients how to use portals and set up personal health records.

Much of the 10-page statement is devoted to the evolving roles of chief nursing information officers (CNIOs) in healthcare organizations. Among other things, HIMSS says, CNIOs (who sometimes have other titles) should partner with the organization's chief nursing officer and other executives to lead the health IT transformation, help train nurses in informatics, and redesign clinical workflow.

HIMSS' specific recommendations call for:

  • Fostering the importance of CNIOs and their partnership with nursing executives
  • Stressing informatics in nurse training and the continuing education of practicing nurses
  • Incorporating informatics competency into nursing standards
  • Collecting data on workforce needs from IT systems.

"Nurses are an integral part of successfully achieving improved outcomes, optimal wellness and overall population health management,'" commented Joyce Sensmeier, RN-BC, vice president of informatics for HIMSS. "Involved in all aspects of healthcare, nurses play a role that truly puts them in a pivotal and important position where they can both influence healthcare reform and manage patient care needs across the continuum of care."

The HIMSS Nursing Informatics Committee, representing more than 2,900 nurse informaticists, developed the statement, which was approved by the HIMSS board.

To learn more:
- Read the HIMSS press release
- See the HIMSS position statement

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