Develop an Engaged Nursing Informatics Culture

Healthcare organizations that work to develop an engaged nursing informatics culture often find improved clinical outcomes, increased patient and provider satisfaction, and more effective change management processes as a result of their efforts.  Nurses’ expertise in the effective integration of clinical, operational, and IT workflows support healthcare organizations’ efforts to:

•    Understand where care delivery bottlenecks exist
•    Offer potential solutions
•    Evaluate options for optimal path forward

An engaged nursing informatics culture is an integral component to effective care delivery.   One can often assess the quality, safety and efficiency of care provided to patients by observing how effectively a healthcare organization integrates the strengths nurses bring into their own culture of care.  This value guide, developed by the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Committee, provides an overview of actions to take to develop an engaged nursing informatics culture at your healthcare organization.

Evaluate How Your Current Clinical Informatics Governance Impacts Your Nurses

In 2012, ANI Emerging Leaders program participant Sarah Collins, RN, PhD, along with co-authors, Jacqueline Moss, PhD, RN, FAAN and Dana Alexander, RN, MSN, MBA, FAAN, defined the top ten focus areas for nursing informatics governance.  Consider these focus areas when reviewing the impact your current clinical informatics governance choices have on your nursing informatics culture 

  1. Ensure that expeditious decision-making is aligned with a set of guiding principles. Many informatics issues impact nursing practice.  Nursing informatics governance establishes formal structures, processes, and guiding principles to ensure that the best decisions are made for patient care and knowledge management. 
  2. Define role functions and role-based competencies. Many different nursing informatics job titles exist, along with much confusion, on the expectations of educational and training requirements for entry and advancement in those roles. Healthcare organizations must standardize role functions and role-based competencies in order to align organizational expectations and effectively communicate that information to its nurses.
  3. Increase and maintain patient safety. Effective nursing informatics governance is designed to encourage a focus on patient safety through promotion of best practice at all levels of a healthcare organization through formal education, competency training, and transparent communication across the enterprise. 
  4. Promote inter-professional collaboration at all levels of an organization. Collaboration is critical to develop systems that promote patient-centered care, and to optimize knowledge management, hospital analytics, and knowledge discovery for patient-centered care. 
  5. Understand and evaluate various reporting structures for nursing informatics. To effectively establish and maintain nursing informatics governance, healthcare organizations need to analyze how reporting within nursing versus IT impact communication paths and decision-making, and to confirm a deep understanding of constituents, stakeholders, and users.
  6. Promote innovation. Effective nursing informatics governance models consider how roles, effort and time are reserved to focus on innovation and system optimization to benefit patient care. While this can appear as a resource challenge, nurses participation in innovation activities at your organization will pay dividends in the value from the product or process innovations that are designed.
  7. Influence and direct care business model redesign activities. The nursing informatics perspective is critical for successful care redesign. It is important that nurses across the healthcare enterprise actively participate in activities impacting care business model redesign.  
  8. Understand evolving governance models. All healthcare organizations have different needs for their information systems and the governance they establish to manage those systems. It is important to understand and adapt these nursing informatics governance models as the use of information systems in any care setting evolves.
  9. Promote participatory healthcare and adoption of social media. Social media is an active space where patients share opinions, discover information, and speak about the healthcare they receive.  Nursing Informatics governance is needed to figure out how to partner with patients effectively. Nursing informatics can lead, and contribute to, thoughtful policies and innovations that promote patient participation in all levels of care by embracing the use of social media, rather than limiting it.  
  10. Challenge our assumptions. Should nursing informatics governance be part of, or separate from, a clinical informatics governance model, a nursing shared governance model, or a mixed-model? There is great variation in approaches used at hospitals throughout the country. What is best? How do these models align with the ANA Nursing Informatics Scope and Standards of Practice and the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Position Statement?

Share the Vision: Transforming Nursing Practice through Technology & Informatics: This position statement identifies recommendations for eliminating barriers and addressing nursing's role in transforming healthcare through the use of IT. This statement was developed in 2011 by the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Committee, representing more than 3,800 nurse informaticists, and is supported by HIMSS multidisciplinary stakeholder membership. This position statement was developed in response to the IOM Future of Nursing report

Encourage Informatics-related Leadership Opportunities for Nurses at All Levels

Establishing leadership opportunities for nurses at all levels of practice is crucial to institutionalizing the impact a strong nursing informatics culture can have on a healthcare organization.  Consider whether you have established leadership opportunities for nurses at the approximate levels of clinical informatics practice within your own organization (Note: job titles may vary based on organizational structure):

  • Top leader that values, invests in, and supports interprofessional informatics
  • Key Roles: Chief Officers (e.g. Nursing, Medical), Director of Clinical Informatics
  • Centralized and strategic leader with decision-making authority and operational oversight
  • Key Roles: Chief Information Officers (e.g. Nursing, Medical), Director of Quality Improvement
  • Experts to evaluate and optimize system design and align and enhance inter-professional informatics practice
  • Key Roles: Director of Professional Competencies, Director of Clinical Process Transformation, Clinical Informaticians, Informatics Nurse Specialists, Patient Safety Specialists
  • Respected leaders to manage projects, make decisions, and engage clinicians to ensure strategic goals, practice goals, and end-user needs are met
  • Key Roles: Clinical Informatics Managers, Clinical Documentation Specialists, Clinical Informatics Champions
  • Expert clinicians and end-users that communicate clinical relevance for System Design
  • Key Roles: Training Specialists, Clinical Informatics Coordinator, Super-Users, Subject Matter Experts

Clinical Informatics Governance for Health IT Adoption and Optimization: A Study of Nurse Leaders Perspectives and Recommendations: This presentation identifies common structures for Clinical Informatics and Nursing Informatics governance, including roles partnership and councils, as well as describes how the proposed model of the nursing domain of CI governance provides a start point for nursing informatics leaders to further explore and validate best practices.

Strive to Optimize Nurse Staffing Models & Resources to Support Effective Population Health Management


The HIMSS CNO-CNIO Vendor Roundtable serves as a vehicle for advocates and leaders from the nursing community to provide guidance on electronic health record-related topics, including analytics, interoperability, usability, terminology, workflow, quality and outcomes. In December 2015, the HIMSS CNO-CNIO roundtable formed the Population Health Management Workgroup to

  • Define a model for approaching population health management
  • Understand the evolving role of the nurse and his/her contribution to population health management, including care management/coordination across the continuum of care
  • Outline how health IT can support the role of the nurse and the core processes required for population health initiatives

Consider how your current nursing staffing models align or diverge from the model described in the video above.


The Role of Nursing and Nursing Informatics in Population Health: This blog post outlines where population health management fits for nurses’ mind, body and spirit in its focus on keeping patients healthy and nurses helping them manage their health as partners in their care.  Written by Cathy Menkiena, MBA, BSN, RN-BC &  Judy Murphy, RN, FACMI, FHIMSS, FAAN, who acted as Co-chairs for the HIMSS CNO-CNIO Vendor Roundtable Population Health Management Workgroup


Empower Nurses Across the Enterprise to Advocate for Themselves

Members of the 2017 HIMSS Nursing Informatics Committee were asked for advice to give nurses to help them advocate for themselves and create a strong nursing informatics culture in their care setting.  Here are their top five pieces of advice: 

  1. Learn by getting involved. The more you know, the more confidence you will have to find your voice, and the more willing you will be to share your voice. Volunteer to be on committees, to mentor, speak at conferences, attend conferences, participate in poster presentations. Step up – don’t wait for others to step up for you.   
  2. Connect with other nurses and work on shared goals.  Connect with fellow nurse leaders and inform your understanding of nursing informatics best practices from care settings different from your own.  Find a mentor. Become a mentor for someone else. Join organizations such as the ANA, AONE, ANIA and HIMSS, where nurses can advocate around shared goals of improved clinical informatics experiences. 
  3. Further your education.  Effective leaders are always learning. Commit yourself further your education. Take the CPHIMS exam. Pursue a masters’ degree, doctoral degree, and professional certification (find more information at AACN's Nursing Education Finder.  Many organizations support self-learning activities.  Consult with your HR representative whether your company offers any education-related benefits.
  4. Define your leadership style. Whether you’re looking to move into the C-Suite or to move up within your organization’s hierarchy, use the experiences you gain by getting involved at your organization. Use the experiences you’ve gained connecting with other nurses and furthering your education to define the type of nurse leader you desire to become.
  5. Advocate Holistically.  Nurses by training and nature assess and respond to a patient’s care holistically.  Effective nurse informatics leaders leverage this holistic frame when assessing the impacts of the clinical information systems on those who interact with those systems when delivering care. 

HIMSS 2017 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey: This survey captures Nursing Informatics salary, professional status and practice trends while identifying changes that have occurred over the last 13 years in the nursing informatics workforce.