The Role of the Nurse Informaticist in Systems Development and Implementation

Information and computer technology advancements have seen information systems’ development. An information system refers to different components integrated for data collection, storage, and processing to provide digital products, information, and knowledge. Information systems used in the healthcare industry are referred to as health information systems (HIS). Examples of HIS include the Electronic Health Record (HER), Practice Management Software, and Patient Portals.

The Role of the Nurse Informaticist in Systems Development and Implementation

Health information systems have enabled the compilation and analysis of data essential in patient care, promoting the general population’s health and reducing overall healthcare costs. Additionally, they have enabled and facilitated collaborative patient care.

The inevitable need for enhanced data management and the growing technology has led to the emergence of nursing informatics. Nursing informatics is the science or specialty of using computer information systems in nursing practice (Cherry & Jacob, 2019). Nursing informatics integrates computer science, nursing practice, and information science to communicate and manage data, wisdom, knowledge, and information in nursing practice (Mcgonigle & Mastrian, 2022).

This paper aims to describe the roles of graduate-level nurse informaticists in their participation on an implementation team for health information technology. The role description will be based on SDLC steps with examples of the specific roles the nurse plays in each of the steps.

Planning and Requirements Definition

Proper planning is critical in any project. The most critical phase of the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) steps is planning. It provides direction for the whole project and enhances the success of the subsequent phases (Mcgonigle & Mastrian, 2022). In the planning stage, the graduate-level nurse informaticist fulfills various impactful roles in the process.

In close collaboration with other interdisciplinary team members, the nurse defines the scope of the current scenario, acquires necessary resources, identifies and chooses possible solutions, sets a timeline for the project schedule, and launches the project. Nurses possess critical thinking skills and knowledge of processes and workflow, enabling them to develop realistic expectations, goals, and objectives for the project. Therefore, involving nurses in this step provides critical nursing perspectives vital for developing effective and safe systems.

Analysis

In this phase, the nurse assists in prioritizing the requirements of the project. Additionally, the nurse helps generate and evaluate potential alternatives, making recommendations to the implementation team. Failing to meet these requirements could result in delays, faulty systems, errors, and data loss. In the analysis phase, the nurse also aids in analyzing hardware demands, technical, space, staffing, and software needs (Mcgonigle & Mastrian, 2022).

Furthermore, the analysis phase comprises decision-making tools, communication, and workflow processes. Involving nurses in the analysis phase is essential in determining policies and changes needed to accommodate new health information systems.

Design of the New System

The designing stage is a critical phase of the SDLC. The nurse plays vital roles in this stage. The design phase ensures that the functional aspects (user interfaces, applications, and databases) work flawlessly and effectively (Ehrler et al., 2019). The implementation team also produces several prototypes to identify a potential system problem. This stage requires technical knowledge that may limit the graduate nurse’s roles.

However, the nurse provides essential recommendations to help improve the outlook and functioning of the system. The nurse also helps in system customization to accommodate patient needs and different nursing specialties.

Implementation

In the implementation stage, the system is installed and put to work. Nurses play a vital role in ensuring the adoption of new systems (Hosein et al., 2019). Besides using the system, the graduate nurse offers essential staff training to enhance their usability of the new system. Moreover, the nurse is responsible for maintaining and evaluating the system’s outcomes. Furthermore, the nurse supports and solicits feedback from the staff and relays the information to the management and implementation teams.

The feedback is vital in determining the ease with which staff is utilizing the system, how the system is meeting the intended goals and objectives, and providing suggestions on how redesigning and changing some aspects of the system would improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the new health information system. The feedback is also essential in improving outcomes and supporting optimizing and customizing the systems.

Post-Implementation Support

In the post-implementation stage, the system is continually tested and maintained. The nurse plays vital roles in providing crucial support for the system. The graduate nurse receives and provides adequate continuous training and education that improves the understanding of the implications and necessity of the system. Consequently, training increases adherence to the recommended best practices and satisfaction in using a system (Mcgonigle & Mastrian, 2022). As a result, staff can avoid system breakdowns and failures, preventing negative outcomes arising from the same.

Lastly, involving the nurse in the post-implementation support stage helps identify loopholes and flaws, promoting constant maintenance and upgrades of the systems. These improve outcomes and promote efficiency and effectiveness within healthcare organizations.

Conclusion

Nurses comprise the majority of the healthcare professionals. They are involved in all phases of patient care. Integration of nursing informatics has revolutionized patient data management, improving processes and outcomes. Involving nurses in all the phases of the Systems Development Life Cycle is of great essence. Risling and Risling (2020) assert that nurses fulfill various roles in the SDLC’s stages, promoting the development of effective and efficient programs that promote positive patient care and management.

References

  • Cherry, B., & Jacob, S. R. (2019). Contemporary nursing: Issues, trends, & management (8th ed.). Mosby.
  • Ehrler, F., Lovis, C., & Blondon, K. (2019). A Mobile Phone App for Bedside Nursing Care: Design and Development Using an Adapted Software Development Life Cycle Model. JMIR MHealth and UHealth, 7(4), e12551. https://doi.org/10.2196/12551
  • Hosein, B., Luo, J., & Karami, M. (2019). Adoption of Hospital Information System Among Nurses: a Technology Acceptance Model Approach. Acta Informatica Medica27(5), 305. https://doi.org/10.5455/aim.2019.27.305-310
  • Mcgonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2022). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  • Risling, T. L., & Risling, D. E. (2020). Advancing nursing participation in user-centred design. Journal of Research in Nursing, 25(3), 226–238. https://doi.org/10.1177/1744987120913590

The Role of the Nurse Informaticist in Systems Development and Implementation Instructions

 To Prepare:

  • Review the steps of the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and reflect on the scenario presented.
  • Consider the benefits and challenges associated with involving a nurse leader on an implementation team for health information technology.

SCENERIO: Assume you are a nurse manager on a unit where a new nursing documentation system is to be implemented. You want to ensure that the system will be usable and acceptable for the nurses impacted. You realize a nurse leader must be on the implementation team.

The Assignment: (2-3 pages not including the title and reference page)

In preparation of filling this role, develop a 2- to 3-page role description for a graduate-level nurse to guide his/her participation on the implementation team. The role description should be based on the SDLC stages and tasks and should clearly define how this individual will participate in and impact each of the following steps:

  • Planning and requirements definition
  • Analysis
  • Design of the new system
  • Implementation
  • Post-implementation support
  • Use APA format and include a title page and reference page.

   RESOURCES:

  • McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2022). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
    • Chapter 9, “Systems Development Life Cycle: Nursing Informatics and Organizational Decision Making” (pp. 191–204)
    • Chapter 12, “Electronic Security” (pp. 251–265)
    • Chapter 13, “Achieving Excellence by Managing Workflow and Initiating Quality Projects”
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (n.d.a). Health IT evaluation toolkit and evaluation measures quick reference guideLinks to an external site.. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://digital.ahrq.gov/health-it-evaluation-toolkit
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (n.d.b). Workflow assessment for health IT toolkitLinks to an external site.. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://digital.ahrq.gov/health-it-tools-and-resources/evaluation-resources/workflow-assessment-health-it-toolkit