The Health Information Technology Competencies Tool: Does It Translate for Nursing Informatics in the United States?

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Abstract

Information technology use in healthcare delivery mandates a prepared workforce. The initial Health Information Technology Competencies tool resulted from a 2-year transatlantic effort by experts from the US and European Union to identify approaches to develop skills and knowledge needed by healthcare workers. It was determined that competencies must be identified before strategies are established, resulting in a searchable database of more than 1000 competencies representing five domains, five skill levels, and more than 250 roles. Health Information Technology Competencies is available at no cost and supports role- or competency-based queries. Health Information Technology Competencies developers suggest its use for curriculum planning, job descriptions, and professional development.

The Chamberlain College of Nursing informatics research team examined Health Information Technology Competencies for its possible application to our research and our curricular development, comparing it originally with the TIGER-based Assessment of Nursing Informatics Competencies and Nursing Informatics Competency Assessment of Level 3 and Level 4 tools, which examine informatics competencies at four levels of nursing practice. Additional analysis involved the 2015 Nursing Informatics: Scope and Standards of Practice. Informatics is a Health Information Technology Competencies domain, so clear delineation of nursing-informatics competencies was expected. Researchers found TIGER-based Assessment of Nursing Informatics Competencies and Nursing Informatics Competency Assessment of Level 3 and Level 4 differed from Health Information Technology Competencies 2016 in focus, definitions, ascribed competencies, and defined levels of expertise. When Health Information Technology Competencies 2017 was compared against the nursing informatics scope and standards, researchers found an increase in the number of informatics competencies but not to a significant degree. This is not surprising, given that Health Information Technology Competencies includes all healthcare workers, while the TIGER-based Assessment of Nursing Informatics Competencies and Nursing Informatics Competency Assessment of Level 3 and Level 4 tools and the American Nurses Association Nursing Informatics: Scope and Standards of Practice are nurse specific. No clear cross mapping across these tools and the standards of nursing informatics practice exists. Further examination and review are needed to translate Health Information Technology Competencies as a viable tool for nursing informatics use in the US.

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