Developing Data for Practice and Management: An Australian Educational Initiative

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Abstract

As in other countries, the Australian healthcare industry is replete with massive data collections, often not used effectively to generate meaningful information to inform decision making, particularly at the operational or clinical level. While senior administrators and planners may use the data for forecasting or benchmarking, it is imperative that clinicians, including nurses and nurse managers, appreciate the value of the data and develop the knowledge and skills to access, analyze, and use it to inform their decision making. Only in the last decade or so have increasing numbers of nurses moved toward higher levels of information technology competence, particularly as information technology applications entered the healthcare sector. Facility in understanding standard administrative data is an important new skill for nurses who have an interest in information management. It is a skill that can readily be taught and its value becomes clearly evident to the students. This article describes an Australian University's Faculty of Nursing's approach to teaching this material at the master's level.

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