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J Adv Nurs. 1995 Dec;22(6):1182-92.

Nursing informatics: state of the science.

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Department of Mental Health, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0608, USA.


The phenomena of interest in nursing informatics are nursing data, nursing information and nursing knowledge. The current state of knowledge related to these phenomena suggests four implications for the development of systems to support nursing. First, research has provided evidence that knowledge and experience is related to the quality of nursing assessment, diagnosis or clinical inference, and planning of nursing care, and also that knowledge is task-specific. Information technology can provide access to a variety of information resources, such as knowledge bases and decision support systems, to increase the level of knowledge of the nurse decision-maker. Second, structured patient assessment forms with linkages to knowledge bases of diagnoses have the potential to improve the quality of the patient assessment and the accuracy of the diagnosis or clinical inference. Third, studies on planning care have demonstrated the complexity of the task when a number of options are potentially appropriate. Model-based decision support applications such as decision analysis and multi-attribute utility theory can assist the clinicians and patients to analyse and compare the treatment alternatives in a systematic manner. Fourth, there is modest support for demonstrating the relationship between the process and outcomes of clinical decision making. Large databases built upon nursing data are needed to further examine this relationship.

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