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1. Week 3 Blog 

Roles of Informatics Competencies in Enhancing the Quality of Care and Safety in Nursing Practice.

According to Sipes (2020), improving the quality of healthcare and safety depends on effective project management, which includes implementing new electronic health record (EHR) systems. Hence, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) must enhance their information and computer literacy skills in order to progress in leadership and project management roles. The American Nurses Association (ANA) also stresses the importance of informatics competencies for all nurses, regardless of their specialization, to enhance the quality and safety of care.

Informatics competence is crucial in addressing challenges in nurse practice areas in the struggling healthcare system of the United States. According to the American Hospital Association (n.d.), despite advancements in healthy life expectancy, the U.S. lags behind other OECD countries. Notably the U.S. has been criticized for its perceived reluctance to adapt to technological advancements and societal changes. The U.S. healthcare delivery system is compared with industries like banking and retail that readily respond to consumer expectations; thus bringing attention to the technological disparities, illustrating how other sectors would operate if they mirrored healthcare’s inefficiencies.

However, there are opportunities for improvement amidst these challenges. The American Hospital Association (n.d.) suggests that a high-value healthcare system should focus on building meaningful connections with patients, ensuring continuity of care, and incorporating shared decision-making with patients. Successful systems also seek feedback and use technology to make tangible improvements. Nurse informatics skills are necessary for utilizing technology to develop these improvements.

Still, technology has become crucial in all healthcare areas, including medical and psychiatric care. Increased accessibility and adoption of technology have facilitated this transformation. Healthcare professionals can efficiently conduct telehealth assessments, document notes, order tests, and view results by accessing electronic health records via tablet computers. Patients benefit from online appointment scheduling, bill payment, and health education modules. Additionally, there has been an increase in the adoption of “smart” devices in monitoring patients (Guest in VSee, 2020). However, the growth of technology, particularly in electronic health records, raises concerns about information security. Informatics plays a crucial role in safeguarding patient information from threats like denial of service attacks and data breaches, protecting against the potential corruption or theft of medical records (Guest in VSee, 2020).

As technology evolves, informatics continues to be vital in establishing effective systems, meeting the needs of patients and care providers’ needs, and ensuring patient information’s privacy and security. According to Kamerer and McDermott (2020), cyber attack is an international threat to patient care and safety and affects all healthcare settings. Studies have reported that up to 94% of healthcare agencies have reported internal and external cyber attacks on patient data with significant financial and personal repercussions to patients. As such, the security of EHRs is a critical priority for all healthcare agencies. Nurses play a central role in protecting patient information. Nurse informatics plays a central role in achieving information security.
2.Mesko (2024) notes there are 10 ways technology is changing healthcare. These include artificial intelligence, extended reality, health trackers, portable diagnostics, direct-to-consumer genetic testing, revolutionizing drug development, digital therapeutics, consumer medical robotics, 3D printing, and patient empowerment (Mesko, 2024). Of these points health trackers, portable diagnostics, and patient empowerment stand out to me the most.

Mesko (2024) notes that health trackers assist the wearer in getting to know themselves better and taking more control of their lives. Guest (2020) states that integrating smart devices into our lives assists healthcare workers by monitoring patient vitals and location. These resources assist not only healthcare workers in providing a higher level of care to their patients but also promote patient participation in their health. I wear a smartwatch to monitor my heart rate, blood pressure, and sleep cycles as I have been diagnosed with issues relating to these vital signs.

Portable diagnostics are a step beyond health trackers in that they provide a much higher level of information to healthcare providers. Where a health tracker can monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and sleep, portable diagnostics devices can measure an ECG, oxygen saturation, temperature, and much more (Mesko, 2024). I have had limited interactions with portable diagnostic devices as my primary experience is in long-term care. However, in nursing school, we worked with portable ECGs, bladder scanners, and X-ray machines. My understanding is that in the past, these devices were static or non-existent therefore limiting the diagnostic capabilities of healthcare workers.

Patient empowerment or patient-centered care has been one of the highlights of all of my nursing career. I have been taught from day 1 to provide the highest level of care possible based on my patients wishes. I have advocated for my patients and educated them so they could make informed decisions in their care. However, I was told by my instructors that this has not always been the primary focus of healthcare. In the past, patients were told what they needed to do and how to live their lives. Involving patients in the decision-making process can promote patient health compliance.