Informatics in the Clinical Setting: Interview

Topic: Health Tech
Words: 1393 Pages: 5


Gathering patient data is an essential process in healthcare as it is necessary for their treatment as well as organization statistics and research. However, any information connected to one’s health is also extremely sensitive, requiring discretion and protection. With the growing need to find a better solution for storing and using patient data, the field of health informatics was developed. The creation of electronic health records (EHR), applications, programs for data analysis, and telehealth is included in health informatics. Specialists responsible for developing, implementing, and managing these systems may assume different roles. Still, they all work toward the same goal of integrating technology into patient data used in a safe way. The present paper analyzes a conversation with a health informatics specialist who works in a hospital. The discussion of the professional’s role in healthcare reveals how vital data is in improving the quality of care and patient safety while promoting innovative data-driven research.

Role Description and Education

Health informatics specialists may take up managerial, technical, research-based, and advisory positions depending on organizational needs and technological advancements. Nevertheless, a health informatics specialist’s general role includes developing information systems that store, share, integrate, and standardize patient data. For example, if a hospital’s records are paper-based or not put into a single system, a health informatics specialist may develop a custom solution or integrate an existing EHR and transfer the paper-based information into the new system. Furthermore, specialists are tasked with training staff on how to use the new programs effectively and correctly. Continuous technical support for the implemented systems is another requirement for the role. Compliance with the latest recommendations and laws is vital for health informatics specialists – they also must ensure that the created systems are secure and up to date with technological advancements.

As can be seen from the role description, a health informatics specialist has to have a deep understanding of technology, computer science, and clinical science. To apply for a job, one has to have a bachelor’s degree in these or related fields. A specific master’s degree in health informatics is necessary to advance in the career or gain a higher position at the start of one’s work. The health informatics specialist is expected to deeply understand healthcare information, EHR software, technology design, and data science. Overall, technology skills appear as important as some degree of clinical and research knowledge that helps use data in analyses and statistics.

Patient Safety and Care Quality

Using such software as EHR and telehealth applications has many benefits for organizations and patients. First, health informatics is used to develop systems that store and standardize patient data, such as EHR. In these programs, all information about each patient can be accessed by all staff members that care for a patient, which keeps all healthcare professionals informed about the patient’s health, requirements, and any additional information (Aiken et al., 2018). Therefore, health informatics can prevent risks related to improper handoff and paper-based data loss, increasing care quality.

Moreover, the use of patient data is another vital part of health informatics, as the created systems can help researchers access structured patient information. As a result of implementing such software, a health informatics specialist gives researchers the necessary tools to conduct analyses and develop better approaches to patient safety (Aiken et al., 2018). For example, one may examine certain complications or complaints at a unit to see how to reduce medical errors, missed care instances, and medication errors (Sittig et al., 2020). The use of data and its proper storage provide researchers and staff with the tools needed to improve patient experiences.

Human Factors and Other Challenges

Nevertheless, technology is designed by humans, which implies a certain degree of human factor risk. For example, when developing a system, a health informatics specialist may integrate personal bias into systems which could lead to unfair treatment and problems with training others on how to use the program (Sujan et al., 2022). This risk is especially present in artificial intelligence integration as the latter uses human learning and copies behaviors from people (Sujan et al., 2022). At the same time, the human factor refers to the staff’s use of the system, as improper training and complex systems can cause medical errors and put patients’ health at risk.

Furthermore, cybersecurity and privacy are two of the most significant challenges in the field, as patient data is highly sensitive and must be protected. As with other private information, health information requires additional security measures to be developed for each system. At the same time, applications designed for each organization should have interoperability – the ability to share information between programs and implement them in different settings (Sujan et al., 2022). As an outcome, health informatics specialists have to approach each technology with care and attention to these aspects.


The interview with the health informatics specialist showed that the state of technology in healthcare continues to develop, and it is far from perfect for ensuring patient safety, care quality, and data security. Specialists in this field have to combine computer science skills with a deep commitment to healthcare values and patient-centered care. The development of such systems as the EHR is as important as its maintenance after implementation. Therefore, health informatics specialists must stay vigilant even after the system is in place and all staff members are trained to use it. At the same time, such commitment to this role allows the specialists to create new solutions and communicate with other professionals on how to employ new technologies for advancing care quality.

AHRQ Patient Safety Indicators and the Joint Commission Patient Safety Goals

Patient safety indicators by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and patient safety goals by the Joint Commission provide organizations with a framework for reaching a better quality of care. For example, AHRQ’s indicators demonstrate which risks healthcare providers should reduce to ensure patient satisfaction and positive health outcomes. In the chosen clinical setting, such indicators as the pressure ulcer rate, postoperative infection rates, and more play a significant role in measuring patient care quality (AHRQ, 2022). The data-driven approach to healthcare urges staff members to pay attention to proper EHR record keeping and how the units develop their goals for providing direct care. Change projects focused on lowering the indicators’ rates allow nurses and other specialists to introduce new programs and strategies for helping patients and reducing risks.

Similarly, the Joint Commission’s safety goals also outline the staff’s approach to patient care. For instance, such goals as communicating accurate patient information require staff members to improve handoff procedures, EHR standardization, and other aspects of daily tasks (Joint Commission, 2022). In contrast to AHRQ’s indicators, the Joint Commission gives recommendations on how to achieve better patient outcomes, which can be used in direct patient care. In this case, the existence of clearly defined objectives provides one with a solid foundation for improvement.

The Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER)

The Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) efforts by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) show how vital informatics is in the modern healthcare industry. This initiative provides resources to specialists and promotes the use of tools for informatics integration into nursing (HIMSS, 2022). In the clinical setting, the TIGER has encouraged more nurses to learn about technology and become interested in informatics-based change projects, which, in turn, positively affected the unit’s view of technology. By involving different types of specialists, TIGER introduced many staff members to computer science and how data can be used to drive innovation. The interviewed informatics specialist believes that the TIGER is a valuable initiative that continues to move nursing and healthcare education and research forward and creates more opportunities for post-graduate programs in informatics.


Health informatics is an integral part of modern healthcare, and specialists in this field must possess computer science and healthcare-specific technology knowledge. The interviewed health informatics specialist notes the role of EHR, telehealth, and various other systems in daily tasks performed by staff, as well as research of patient outcomes. Patient data is at the center of health technology and is a powerful information source for innovation and improvement. The existence of the indicators by AHRQ and goals by the Joint Commission demonstrates how patient data can be used to drive positive change and show the risks of adverse outcomes in a quantifiable form.


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2022). Patient Safety Indicators overview. Web.

Aiken, L. H., Sloane, D. M., Barnes, H., Cimiotti, J. P., Jarrín, O. F., & McHugh, M. D. (2018). Nurses’ and patients’ appraisals show patient safety in hospitals remains a concern. Health Affairs, 37(11), 1744-1751.

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. (2022). Initiatives: TIGER. Web.

Joint Commission. (2022). National Patient Safety Goals® Effective January 2022 for the Hospital Program. Web.

Sittig, D. F., Wright, A., Coiera, E., Magrabi, F., Ratwani, R., Bates, D. W., & Singh, H. (2020). Current challenges in health information technology–related patient safety. Health Informatics Journal, 26(1), 181-189.

Sujan, M., Pool, R., & Salmon, P. (2022). Eight human factors and ergonomics principles for healthcare artificial intelligence. BMJ Health & Care Informatics, 29(1), e100516.

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