JOURNAL ARTICLE

A brief history of nursing informatics in the United States of America

Judy G Ozbolt, Virginia K Saba
Nursing Outlook 2008, 56 (5): 199-205.e2
18922268
From the beginning of modern nursing, data from standardized patient records were seen as a potentially powerful resource for assessing and improving the quality of care. As nursing informatics began to evolve in the second half of the 20th century, the lack of standards for language and data limited the functionality and usefulness of early applications. In response, nurses developed standardized languages, but until the turn of the century, neither they nor anyone else understood the attributes required to achieve computability and semantic interoperability. Collaboration across disciplines and national boundaries has led to the development of standards that meet these requirements, opening the way for powerful information tools. Many challenges remain, however. Realizing the potential of nurses to transform and improve health care and outcomes through informatics will require fundamental changes in individuals, organizations, and systems. Nurses are developing and applying informatics methods and tools to discover knowledge and improve health from the molecular to the global level and are seeking the collective wisdom of interdisciplinary and interorganizational collaboration to effect the necessary changes. NOTE: Although this article focuses on nursing informatics in the United States, nurses around the world have made substantial contributions to the field. This article alludes to a few of those advances, but a comprehensive description is beyond the scope of the present work.

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