Community health nurses have been pioneers in the use of information systems. Long ago, they recognized the value of electronic health records to store, transport, and report data online. The need to collect and report aggregate data has spurred the digitization of community and public health records. Also, community health nurses have understood the value of handheld computing devices that allow them to access and document information while on the go, thus freeing them from the need to tote paper records or go to the office to chart. Information technology has influenced the way that community health nurses carry out their daily functions in profound ways.
Nursing informatics constitutes the use of specific tools, functional areas, and competencies. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (2015) asserts that healthier communities can be created through health information technology and nursing informatics, but how can this be accomplished? Community health nurses are involved in the following aspects of information management.
Public health informatics includes reporting, outbreak response, surveillance, health promotion, and electronic laboratory reporting, among other types of applications.
Clinical informatics pertains to informatics and information technology used by clinicians, including nurses who are involved in system design, implementation, and adoption.