Informatics

Supporting the Nursing Profession Through ICT and Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Using telehealth

The COVID-19 corona virus has resulted in a global pandemic that has affected 188 countries around the world so far (Johns Hopkins University, 2020). When the outbreak was announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in early March 2020, the WHO emphasized that there was need for a coordination of efforts to support preparedness as well as response to the infection across different health sectors (World Health Organization, 2020).

The outbreak of the virus around the world has since resulted in many challenges for the healthcare sector and healthcare workers such as the nursing profession who work in the front lines attending infected patients in this pandemic. Due to the novelty of this virus there are not only new requirements in the work situation with regards to protective equipment and hygiene routines but there is also a need for current up-to date information for these professionals that has to be easily accessible.

To adhere to the demands that the current situation requires for the nursing profession, many organizations have initiated educational support through information and communication technology. An example of some of the efforts to assist nurses and healthcare professionals is offered by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), which has developed the HIMSS COVID-19 Digital Think Tank where healthcare professionals around the world can share best practices during the pandemic. This resource is meant to assist healthcare professionals to share their experiences and insights with other healthcare professionals around COVID-19 related processes or solutions in their organizations (HIMSS, 2020). Other educational efforts involving information and communication technology have been brought about by the WHO, through the recent establishment of the WHO Academy, which has created a mobile learning app for health workers who seek COVID-19 information. It offers guidance, training, and opportunities to participate in virtual classrooms to support health workers in caring for patients infected by COVID-19 – as well as how those health workers can protect themselves. The content is multilingual and provided in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish (World Health Organization, 2020).

Specific educational efforts from the nursing informatics community involve webinars hosted by HIMSS where nurse leaders from across the US, for example, participate in roundtable discussions and share their experiences and insights on how nurse informaticists work with telehealth, clinical decision support, and other areas during the pandemic to ensure best practices through combining nursing knowledge and management of information and technology to promote health (ANI, AMIA & HIMSS, 2020). Some of the efforts to assist nurse informaticians have also been initiated by the International Medical Informatics Association Nursing Informatics Special Interest Group (IMIA NI SIG) and the European Federation for Medical Informatics Nursing Informatics group (EFMI NI) who have come up with a mutual initiative to support nurses in the COVID-19 situation with different educational web resources on how to use digital tools in clinical practice (IMIA NI SIG & EFMI NI, 2020).  The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and the Alliance for Nursing Informatics (ANI) are other organizations that are hosting webinars on nursing informatics in the time of COVID-19 (ANI, AMIA & HIMSS, 2020).

Whether it is through providing nurses at the front lines with up-to date information on the COVID-19 situation and related topics or nursing informatics specialists offering advice on best practices and approaches during the pandemic, ICT and eLearning sources are vital tools to facilitate nursing’s need for knowledge in the months to come.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

Online Journal of Nursing Informatics

Powered by the HIMSS Foundation and the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Community, the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics is a free, international, peer reviewed publication that is published three times a year and supports all functional areas of nursing informatics.

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ANI, AMIA & HIMSS (2020). Resources for COVID-19. https://www.allianceni.org/story/resources-covid-19 

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). HIMSS COVID-19 Digital Think Tank. https://www.himss.org/news/covid-19-digital-think-tank

IMIA NI SIG & EFMI NI. (2020). Support our nurses campaign toward COVID-19. https://imia-medinfo.org/wp/sig-ni-nursing-informatics/

Johns Hopkins University - Center for Systems and Science Engineering. (2020). Coronavirus COVID-19 global cases. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

World Health Organization (WHO). (2020). Launch of the WHO Academy and the WHO Info mobile applications. https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/13-05-2020-launch-of-the-who-acade…;

World Health Organization (WHO). (2020). Responding to community spread of COVID-19. Interim Guidance 2020, 1–6. https://www.who.int/publications-detail/responding-to-community-spread-…

Author Bio:

Mattias Georgsson, PhD, MSc, MPH, RN has a Master of Science degree in Nursing and Master degrees in Health Informatics and Interaction Design. He completed his PhD in Applied Health Technology in the Spring of 2018. He currently holds a position as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in eHealth at University West, Sweden.