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The Importance of Collaboration

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
written by Lorraine Frazier, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAHA

Lorraine Frazier, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAHAThe backbone of the healthcare industry is collaboration – be it between physicians, nurses, administrators or other hospital staff members. This type of collaborative environment benefits all parties as recent research has shown that when nurses reported having a more favorable perception of nurse-physician collaboration, rates of healthcare-associated infections decreased [1]. Lower infection rates mean better patient outcomes for hospital staff and better quality of care for patients.

Many members of the healthcare IT world visited Chicago this past week for the annual HIMSS15 Conference. During the conference, HIMSS released the results of an important survey regarding the impact that nurse informaticists have on the healthcare information technology (IT) environment. The survey respondents indicated that nurse informaticists are “widely seen as bringing value to the use of clinical systems and technologies at their healthcare organizations” [2]. Along those same lines, 60 percent of respondents stated that informatics nurses have a high degree of impact on quality care [2].

The results of the HIMSS survey demonstrate just how instrumental nurse informaticists are in the health IT world. Despite the many advances being made, there is more that can be done to enhance the connection between nurses and the informatics tools that are being used today. One healthcare IT expert, Eric Heil, suggests that nurses can benefit from understanding “the impact of good, clean data being entered into EMRs (electronic medical records), as well as the analyses and the insights that can come out of that and be delivered back to the point of care” [3]. Hiel notes that “having nurse informatics help design workflow and processes can make an EMR system and deployment much more efficient and effective” [3]. The continued collaboration between informatics professionals and nurses serves to greatly benefit all involved, including the patients we serve.

In keeping with the collaborative theme, The UTHealth School of Nursing is now offering a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree program with an informatics focus for nurses. This is the only collaborative program of its kind offered in the state of Texas because the degree plan includes several informatics courses that are taught by School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) faculty members. With this new D.N.P. program starting in the fall, we look forward to the dawn of a new collaborative era; one that not only benefits future nurse informaticists, but one that advances the field of informatics as a whole.

The American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA) will host its annual conference in Philadelphia this week. Nurses from around the country will come together to network with their informatics colleagues, share knowledge about best practices and explore new trends and technologies vendors have to offer. All is done in both an advantageous and collaborative nature.

I encourage each of you to visit the SBMI team at Booth 300 if you will be attending the 2015 ANIA Conference this week. There are various informatics and nursing programs offered at SBMI including a certificate to help nurses prepare for the American Nurses Credentials Center Informatics Nursing board certification exam. This certificate, along with various other SBMI informatics programs and the D.N.P. informatics degree gives nurses the tools needed to thrive in the informatics field. Thus, advancing the collaborative environment of the healthcare industry and aiding nurse informaticists in providing the best care feasible to patients now, and in the future.


[1] Nurse-physician collaboration associated with decreased rates of common healthcare-associated infections. Retrieved April 20, 2015 from

[2] 2015 Impact of the Informatics Nurse Survey. Retrieved April 20, 2015 from

[3] The significant impact of nursing informatics on workflow, productivity. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from