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Ellen Makar: Nursing Informatics Leader

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, December 2, 2010

Using informatics to benefit nurses is also difficult because oftentimes what works for nursing doesn't work for other disciplines, Makar says.

"We have to find solutions that are flexible and scalable enough to work for a variety of stakeholders, so that's why I think it's harder," she says.

But the hard work is worth the effort because when done right, real-time informatics truly benefit both nurses and patients.

"If you have data that tells you this is an unusually high day for patients at risk for falls, or the population on this shift has really vulnerable patients, it will change how you think about it," she says. "To a certain degree that information was kept separate with each individual patient. Aggregated data is very important, but you still must be able to get back down to the individual patient and staff level."

In the future Makar says she would like to take on a broader leadership role, possibly at a national organization related to nursing informatics. As far as what's in the cards for decision support, Makar thinks the field will become more high-tech and commonplace.

"We're at that tipping point and it's going to be one of those things where people will be saying, 'I can't believe we didn't do this before,'" she says.

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