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Ethical Considerations of the Use of Informatics in Nursing and Health Care

Today nursing information systems are used for building up clinical wisdom when nurses are provided with the necessary background data upon which their decisions will be based and with advice on how to decide, and compiling electronic databases, which allows them to operate patient data in an effective manner. Besides, informatics has been widely used in the nursing education process. Future nurses improve their reading, writing, and communication skills through blogs writing, participation in discussions, and writing journal entries. The ethical considerations of the use of informatics in nursing and health care are above all related to data security and data quality issues. Overall, informatics has brought numerous benefits to the field of nursing and nursing education, yet more should be done to resolve ethical dilemmas. Introduction Computers have greatly altered the way we do various things. Health care is not an exception. Within the sphere of health care, informatics is widely used. This paper examines the benefits of health care informatics for nursing practice and education. It also focuses on ethical considerations of the use of informatics in nursing and health care. Benefits of Health Care Informatics for Nursing Recognition of information as the leading health resource has led to the development of health care informatics (Conrick, 2006, p.12). From the available sources, health care informatics or health informatics may be defined as the application, in a systematic manner, of information and computer science as well as technology to the practice of health care, related research, and learning. Similarly, health informatics may be referred to IT application to the sphere of health care and in health care professions for the purposes of producing various tools and procedures which would help medical staff diagnose and treat customers in a more efficient and accurate way (The History of Health Informatics, 2013).Historically, the benefits of computers for health care were recognized early in the 20th century, the practical application of computers to health care did not become possible until the 1950s when informatics took off in the States. Early computers were mostly used for office purposes as large calculating machines. It is believed that the stage for further developments of health care informatics was set by Robert Ledley, an inventor of the body CT scanner, who used informatics in his dental projects carried out in collaboration with the National Bureau of Standards. After the invention of the LISP and MUMPS languages of programming in the 1960s, computers started to be seen as a means of creation of medical databases, diagnostic systems, and other programs related to health. Throughout the 1970s the potential of informatics for improving data storage and overall quality of patient care was realized (Conrick, 2006, p.12). The cost-saving benefit of using computers in financial and management areas of health care was stated.