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Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom in Hospital

The patient of 36 years old has been admitted to the hospital with shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and wheeziness. Upon accessing the EHR, it was discovered that the patient had been previously diagnosed with non-allergic asthma. When asked, she said that the prescribed medication, Ventolin, has not been working as usual for about a month now: after utilizing the inhaler, she still reported the same symptoms. After assessing the patient’s state and measuring blood pressure, no other explanation for difficulties in breathing has been discovered except for the previously diagnosed asthma. Based on the patient’s examination, previous experience, and knowledge learned before and gathered from the Information System (IS), the patient has been forwarded to take allergen and blood tests. These actions were forecasted to detect whether the complications with acute asthma have been caused by a new allergic reaction or a heightened number of white blood cells, which might indicate progress in chronic conditions. As the patient was walking down the hallway, I noticed that the coughing and difficulties in breathing intensified, which might indicate exercise-induced asthma.

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The situation showcases how the knowledge, data, information, and wisdom (DIKW) paradigm has been utilized. “The steps of using information, applying knowledge to a problem, and action with wisdom form the basis of the science of health professional practice” (Mastrian & McGonigle, 2017, p. 7). As per knowledge, the understanding of what the diagnosis of asthma entails, what are the symptoms, and possible complications helped me to correctly assess and interpret the situation and direct the patient to additional testing. The raw data in the form of previous blood tests has been accessed via the information system. Furthermore, the data gathered from IS and my personal check-up helped me to interpret the tests into the diagnosis and a possible course of action. Next, upon observation of the patient, additional insight was discovered, which indicates the application of wisdom.

Action Plan for Meeting Health Informatics Competencies

Assessing core informatics competencies is essential for every health professional. Upon the completion of such self-assessment, I have discovered that I need improvement in the areas of health information, health informatics, and privacy skills. Firstly, health information and literacy skills, specifically the ability to differentiate between the data, information, and knowledge, can be increased by thoroughly researching the DIKW paradigm and applying it to written sources (Mastrian & McGonigle, 2017, p. 7). Although I can identify these components in a real-life scenario, doing so in the written form appears challenging. In addition, the ability to detect workarounds and avoid safety issues needs to be improved by reading credible literature on the ethical implications and actionable prevention strategies (Mastrian & McGonigle, 2017). Furthermore, I am accustomed to aspects of national policies governing the privacy of health information. However, I need to deepen my knowledge to protect patient information by memorizing the applicable policies and law regulations.

Information Systems in the Workplace

During a typical day of practice, I regularly use the EPIC EMR system for numerous everyday tasks. Some of them include but are not limited to charting, reviewing patients’ medication, ordering, managing the nursing tasks, scheduling, and others. On average, I interact with the IS throughout my day as I heavily rely on it when executing my duties. I access it through my desktop computer at the workplace, but it is also available on multiple other platforms like tablets and mobile phones. Thus, the EPIC EMR can be considered a handheld information system accessible from both the medical staff and patients’ sides.

The IS’ location and ease of access significantly improve patient care for numerous reasons. “Information technology help to share the healthcare organization,” and EPIC EMR is not an exception (Mastrian & McGonigle, 2017, p. 28). From the patient’s side, the information system allows extended functionality and improves their treatment significantly. For instance, the information about the ongoing treatment and previous medical history is accessible via any web browser and mobile phone, making it easy to monitor the progress and share information with the caregivers. It also allows for secure communication with the medical care team and efficient scheduling. As per the hospital’s side, the IS provides an opportunity to easily monitor, review, assess the patient’s state, and execute treatment decisions due to the availability of the compiled medical records. Some additional functions also grant medical professionals access to the information created automatically by interpreting the raw data input from tests and the medical history of the patient.

DIKW Discussion

Among all four components of the DIKW paradigm, I would omit data and wisdom and leave information and knowledge. As for excluding data, I think that in the worst-case scenario, if data are absent, and it is possible to function as a health professional with readily available information, or already interpreted data. For instance, a doctor can have a diagnosis as a piece of valuable information without looking at data such as the tests from which this diagnosis was drawn (Mastrian & McGonigle, 2017, p. 23). When it comes to wisdom, however, it is hard to neglect since “wisdom is the highest form of common sense, resulted from accumulated knowledge or erudition” (Mastrian & McGonigle, 2017, p. 11). On the other hand, if a medical worker operated on knowledge and enough information, the appropriate application of those competencies will eventually develop into wisdom. Therefore, wisdom can be eliminated as a skill that will progressively appear. Consequently, it is not possible to exclude knowledge and information since medical professionals are knowledge workers that operate with their erudition to save lives and maintain the well-being of the patients.


Mastrian, K., & McGonigle, D. (2017). Informatics for health professionals. Jones and Bartlett Learning.

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