The Value of Nursing Informatics and Project Management for Nursing Practice

Nursing informatics (NI) is a profound concept in the current healthcare systems since it entails strategies for leveraging information, data, knowledge, and wisdom to inform decisions and improve nursing practice. According to McGonigle & Mastrian (2018), nursing informatics as a specialty involves the integration of nursing science with multiple information and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage, and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice. It is essential to note that healthcare organizations can incorporate and actualize the role of nursing informatics by using information structures, processes, and technologies. Consequently, project managers can utilize nursing informatics to improve projects and foster the implementation of quality improvement initiatives.

The Value of Nursing Informatics and Project Management for Nursing Practice

The Importance of Nursing Informatics as a Discipline

Nursing Informatics (NI) is a clinical specialty that integrates nursing science with information and analytical sciences relevant to identifying, managing, and communicating data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in healthcare organizations. According to Hebda et al. (2019), nursing informatics is an interdisciplinary field that obtains insights from and contributes to the decision, cognitive, management, and computer sciences. In this sense, the NI discipline includes various subfields like public health informatics, disease surveillance, prevention, and preparedness.

Other fields of nursing informatics specialty are consumer health informatics, clinical research informatics, and translational informatics. Based on these interdisciplinary fields of NI, it is valid to argue that nursing informatics supports clinical research, improves epidemiological understanding, and significantly influences data management processes necessary for improving care quality.

How Nursing Informatics Align with Technology

The art and science of integrating nursing science with multiple information and analytical sciences do not occur in a vacuum. Instead, healthcare organizations must have information systems and technologies to effectively support all subfields of nursing informatics (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018).

Examples of information technologies that facilitate the incorporation of nursing informatics in nursing practice and data management processes are clinical decision support systems (CDSSs), electronic health records systems (EHR), and real-time analytics (RTA) systems. These technologies improve data identification, collection, analysis, and sharing processes.

Why Nursing Informatics is More Than Data Analysis and Collection in Today’s Practice

Improved data analysis and collection procedures are the immediate importance of incorporating nursing informatics and information technologies into nursing practices. However, nursing informatics (NI) extends beyond data analysis and collection. Hebda et al. (2019) present data modeling as a positive consequence of nursing informatics. In this sense, healthcare organizations benefit from data mining modalities that entail using software to unearth relationships within large data sets through statistical computation and computer technology.

This aspect leads to the more advanced and essential practice of predictive modeling (analytics), which involves using past and current data to forecast and predict future trends and the likelihood of an event. Predictive analytics (modeling) is vital in epidemiological research since it enables healthcare professionals to predict disease patterns and develop informed care plans.

The Importance of Project Management as a Discipline

Nursing informatics projects require healthcare organizations to understand and enact all project management processes. According to Sipes (2020), project management is “a process of coordinating and directing team members to meet the formal, defined, approved goals and objectives outlined for the specific project” (p. 12). Examples of activities for effective project management include budgeting, scheduling, resource planning and allocations, identifying risks, quality control, and developing the project scope.

As a result, project management as a discipline enables the project team to design projects, develop project plans, identify and enact strategies for project implementation, regulate processes and activities through monitoring and quality control, and evaluate outcomes, impacts, and procedures.

How Project Management Aligns with Technology

Although project management entails “pre-determined” steps that make up the project lifecycle, it is possible to incorporate technologies to improve outcomes and processes. Varajao et al. (2021) argue that project information systems, including software for scheduling and budget estimation, show high success in enabling healthcare organizations to fulfill the project scope, adhere to schedules, and align projects with budgets.

Also, technologies can support project tracking, information collection, analysis, and sharing, enhance collaboration and interdisciplinary collaboration, and promote workflow automation. Therefore, the project team and managers should align project management processes with advanced technological tools to increase the chances of achieving the strategic objectives.

How Project Management Aligns with Everyday Practice and Other Processes

Healthcare professionals engage in daily activities and practices to improve care, safeguard patient safety, and enhance people’s health and wellness. These activities include, and are not limited to, assessing patients’ conditions, providing direct and emergency care, medication management, patient education, and implementing quality improvement initiatives.

On the other hand, project management entails coordinating team-based activities to meet the formal, defined, approved goals and objectives outlined for the specific project (Sipes, 2020, p. 12). In this sense, project management activities and processes allow healthcare professionals and teams to adhere to tight deadlines, ensure sustainable resource utilization, overcome time pressures, and monitor progress, outcomes, and procedures. These project management activities improve daily practices by improving time management and resource utilization and bolstering interprofessional collaboration to achieve organizational goals, mission, and vision.

Project Management as an Organizational Framework and a Thought Process

From a personal perspective, project management should be an organizational framework and a thought process determining how healthcare organizations and professionals respond to quality improvement opportunities. By developing a framework for project management, organizations can manage scarce resources, operate within tight budgets, and create a culture that supports quality improvement.

Equally, developing a project management framework can promote strategic alignment, improve leadership commitment, enhance planning interventions, and cultivate a sense of focus and objectivity. Finally, perceiving project management as a thought process enables healthcare institutions to easily identify and manage risks and assess the impacts of quality improvement initiatives.

References

Hebda, T., Hunter, K., & Czar, P. (2019). Handbook of informatics for nurses and healthcare professionals (6th ed.). Pearson.

McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2018). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Sipes, C. (2020). Project management for the advanced practice nurse (2nd ed.). Springer Publishing Company.

Varajão, J., Trigo, A., Pereira, J., & Moura, I. (2021). Information systems project management success. International Journal of Information Systems and Project Management, 9(4), 62–74. https://doi.org/10.12821/ijispm090404