Enabling technologies promise to revitalize the role of nursing in an era of patient safety

Marion J. Ball, Charlotte Weaver, Patricia Ann Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


The application of information technology (IT) in health care has the potential to transform the delivery of care, as well as the health care work environment, by streamlining processes, making procedures more accurate and efficient, and reducing the risk of human error. For nurses, a major aspect of this transformation is the refocusing of their work on direct patient care and away from being a conduit of information and communication among departments. Several of the technologies discussed, such as physician order entry and bar code technology, have existed for years as standalone systems. Many others are just being developed and are being integrated into complex clinical information systems (CISs) with clinical decision support at their core. While early evaluation of these systems shows positive outcome measurements, financial, technical, and organizational hurdles to widespread implementation still remain. One major issue is defining the role nurses, themselves, will play in the selection and implementation of these systems as they become more steeped in the knowledge of nursing informatics. Other challenges revolve around issues of job satisfaction and the attraction and retention of nursing staff in the midst of a serious nursing shortage. Despite these concerns, it is expected that, in the long run, the creation of an electronic work environment with systems that integrate all functions of the health care team will positively impact cost-effectiveness, productivity, and patient safety while helping to revitalize nursing practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


  • Clinical decision support
  • Clinical information systems
  • Computerized patient record
  • Information technology
  • Medical errors
  • Nursing informatics
  • Patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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