The field of nurse informatics incorporates nursing and information science into a specific area of expertise that requires professionals’ understanding of their role in the process of information systems development. The model called the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) includes six steps that an informaticist needs to follow for successful system implementation. These steps include practicality, assessment, plan, implementation, examination, and maintenance (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018, p. 178). For efficient work with the patients, nurses must adhere to the requirements of both patient care provision and informational documentation maintenance. Since the importance of information technologies related to health care cannot be overestimated, nurses must understand what their role is in work with SDLC (Marcilly, Peute, & Beuscart-Zephir, 2016). This paper is aimed at explaining the responsibilities and contributions required from nurses working on the implementation team.
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Planning and Requirements
At the stage of planning, it is important to provide a sufficient amount of time and effort on the clarification of requirements and training. In their daily job, the majority of nurses have worked with some information technologies. However, for their efficient contribution to the work of the implementation team, it is critical to initiate software training relevant to their setting. The facility needs to ensure “the establishment of test and computer training accounts, … identification of the size and capacity of a separate server, and preparation of backup power supply” (Weckman & Janzen, 2009). At the initial stage of SDLC, team leaders need to collect all the requirements from the stakeholders within the facility to plan the anticipated information system that would meet the needs of a given organization.
Once the requirements are retrieved, and the planning is carried out, the information needs to be analyzed. At this stage, the nurse informaticist is expected to interpret the requirements according to the specifications of the system under development. Usability, time, and effectiveness are the core elements of any information system developed. Therefore, following the planning stage, a nurse should analyze whether “the software’s overall configuration is designed properly” (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018, p. 179). The successful passing of the stage of analysis will ensure proper design and implementation of the new system.
New System Design
At the stage of designing, nurses on the implementation team must align the requirement with the architecture of the system. It is vital to ensure that the efficiency of the staff’s work will be improved with the help of the designed system (Bishop, Patrick, & Besiso, 2015). The purposes of different modules and their relevance to the requirements need to be considered at this stage.
The implementation phase is crucial since it requires the incorporation of the achievements of all the previous steps to become a practically applicable system. A nurse informaticist can provide a practical view of the effectiveness of the newly designed health information technology system and ensure it benefits the work of the facility. At this stage, nurse leaders and the implementation teamwork in close collaboration to exchange feedback on possible disadvantages to address them at the post-implementation step.
At the final phase of SDLC, the newly created software is assessed from the point of view of a user. Also, its long-term ability to meet the initially proposed requirements is investigated. With the help of maintenance procedures, it is possible to make appropriate adjustments and finalize the system. Nurse leaders are responsible for ensuring “quality improvement because they can work along with staff to interdependently improve processes” (Vogelsmeier & Scott-Cawiezell, 2009). Therefore, the task of a nurse leader here is to ensure user-friendliness, a positive effect on patient care, and the overall effectiveness of the software.
In summation, the role of a nurse informaticist is crucial in the process of healthcare information technology system implementation. Nurses link the implementation team with the facility by interpreting the healthcare requirements according to the opportunities of IT. Therefore, a nurse must ensure the effectiveness and positive patient outcomes of the implementation of a system at different stages of SDLC, including planning, requirements, analysis, design, implementation, and post-implementation.
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Bishop, R. O., Patrick, J., & Besiso, A. (2015). Efficiency achievements from a user-developed real-time modifiable clinical information system. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 65(2), 133-142.
Marcilly, R., Peute, L., & Beuscart-Zephir, M.-C. (2016). From usability engineering to evidence-based usability in health IT. Studies in Health Technology And Informatics, 222, 126-138.
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2018). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Vogelsmeier, A., & Scott-Cawiezell, J. (2009). Technology: The role of nursing leadership in successful technology implementation. Journal of Nursing Administration, 39(7/8), 313-314.
Weckman, H. N., & Janzen, S. K. (2009). The critical nature of early nursing involvement for introducing new technologies. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 14(2), 1-11.