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Letter to the Editor

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Letter to the Editor to Informatics: The Electronic Health Record: Will Nursing Be on Board When the Ship Leaves?

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October 30, 2008

Response by Kathleen M. Hunter to Informatics: The Electronic Health Record: Will Nursing Be on Board When the Ship Leaves? (August 18, 2008).
With Reply by author.

Dear Editor:

Dr. Thede makes many relevant and important points in her Informatics Column as she discusses nursing, nurses, and electronic health records (2008). I am puzzled, however, by the statement “To date nursing has failed to acknowledge that the day in which patient data will be stored electronically is fast approaching and that this electronic data will be used for secondary analysis, resulting in decisions that affect all of healthcare” (¶ 9). My experiences in nursing informatics over many years have been that nursing decision makers and nurse informaticists are working very hard, and with success, to have nursing terminologies and nursing-relevant data incorporated into electronic information systems and informatics technical standards. For example, the Health Level Seven (HL7) organization, which develops informatics-related technical standards using the voluntary consensus process of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and other technical standards groups have active nursing involvement in standards development, resulting in the inclusion of nursing terminologies and concepts in these standards. Information system developers and vendors are part of standards development and have, increasingly, placed informatics nurses into positions of influence for system design.

Kathleen M. Hunter, PhD, RN-BC
Lithia, FL

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