Nursing as a professional has continued to evolve overtime. In the process of evolution, nursing cannot do so without involving advancement in information technology. Information is the main and valuable resource in the field of health care. It is a concept that is changing the manner in which healthcare organization conduct their business. The whole process involves the transfer of information and application of information tools for a solution to patient care and business problems in the health care systems.
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On the other hand, computer Science involves understanding the development, design and the relationship between the hardware and software. It is a field that has been used skillfully to facilitate the acquisition and manipulation of data and information by nurses (Mc Gonigle and Mastrian, 2008). They can eventually synthesize this knowledge and use it to solve problems in the process of nursing care. The development of knowledge tools such as the automation of decision making has significantly altered the understanding of knowledge and its representation. The ability to structure knowledge electronically facilitates our ability to share our knowledge structure and enhance our collective knowledge.
Nursing is an information intensive profession. A nurse acquires knowledge in his/her basic education program and continues to build his/her foundation through experience, research, consulting, and utilizing clinical database and guidelines. The nurses’ interactions with environment make him continue processing information which he can share with colleagues and generate a feedback on the knowledge he shares. The dissemination and feedback form cycle of building the knowledge. This cycle forms the basis of knowledge acquisition, processing, generating and then dissemination of new knowledge. Nursing relies on extensive clinical information and specialized knowledge in order to provide a compete care to patients. It involves data collection, information use, and creative application of knowledge to clinical practice and generation of new knowledge.
To enhance efficiency in nursing professional, basic information competencies should be emphasized to all health worker, these include windows applications, search database, knowledge on institution-specific software used for charting and medication administration. A nurse uses the internet to locate and download information of interest, patient monitoring, assessment of accuracy of the health information in the internet, and also implements and evaluates application systems training programs for users and clients. Finally, he consults in the design or enhancements to integrated patient information, management, educational or research systems. These are key areas that information systems are used to enhance nursing practice.
Telehealth is the delivery of medical services through telecommunication means. This process has given way to access to specialized skilled services to areas that would be otherwise without such services. Home care system has become possible through this process (Lundy, Lundy and Janes, 2009). Along with this growth has come a certain amount of scrutiny with regard to reimbursement practices. Managed care also is increasing in the market penetration. As a response to the increased pressures to remain viable, home health care agencies are looking at the innovative technologies to supplement, enhance and give complement care.
Health informatics utilizes both formal and de facto standards to develop health care specific standards to complement the mainstream informatics and facilitate the development and the interplay of Health Information System (HIS). Health professionals depend on their information and should be treated with the utmost care. Their design, implementation and operation need a lot of attention. They have a potential of affecting the care of patients before an error is discovered. The key issues of information systems security are related to the preservation of confidentiality, integrity, availability and accountability. The data about patients must be kept confidential. Its integrity must be preserved so the information is correct, appropriate for the purpose for which it is to be used, it must be available when required (ISHTAR, 2001).
The mainstreaming of telehealth brings opportunities to the community based nursing practices. Patient monitoring, patient and caregiver education, transdisplinary case conferences and professional health care education will be achieved. Many providers see telehealth as a change channel to the way health care is delivered at the same time providing new roles for the health care providers. The internet is providing new avenues for interactive examination and examination of patients in a home care setting. Lastly, health care providers can learn from and participate in continuing education offered through distance learning improving on their ability to provide specialized care to their patients (Lundy et al, 2009).
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Mc Gonigle D. and Mastrian K., (2008). Nursing Informatics and the Foundation of Knowledge, Jones and Bartlett Learning. Ontario, Canada.
ISHTAR Consortium (2001). Implementing secure healthcare telematics applications in Europe, IOS Press.
Lundy S., Lundy S. and Janes S., (2009). Community Health Nursing: Caring for Public’s Health. Jones and Bartlett learning, Sadbury.