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by Dr Wasmiya Dalhem
Published on November 3, 2022

Nursing informatics, as a developing area of nursing specialty, was primarily introduced in Qatar by Dr Wasmiya Dalhem, a Qatari nurse, following her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Informatics studies. She envisioned the quest for nursing excellence through the best use of clinical information and technological systems for the improvement of healthcare systems and patient care delivery at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

In 2006, the nursing informatics (NI) department at HMC was established and was the first unit of its kind in the Gulf and Arab region. A nursing informatics model was developed to act as the driving force behind informatics practices that encompass healthcare, education, research, administration, and computer and information science. Identifying the model’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) has helped the department to formulate four consecutive strategic plans including the latest approved plan.

Being one of the leading stakeholders at HMC in the successful adaptation of clinical information system (CIS), Cerner Clairvia®, medical device integration, and others, nursing informatics has been working collaboratively and actively in the build, design, validation, and implementation until optimization of the system, in addition to training and support during its transition.

It also organizes various customized training and educational resources to enhance nurses’ knowledge in CIS and IT relevant to nursing practice. Furthermore, the department develops high-quality informatics research that disseminates best practices in the delivery of nursing informatics services to end users. The success of the department lies in strong leadership, a competent workforce, and a well-structured specialty with a multifaceted scope of services.  

The transformation of HMC’s services accelerates the process of e-health development within the corporation that directs and coordinates nursing CIS operations, supports evidence-based nursing practice, and provides educational training for nurses. At the time of the prevailing pandemic, the department incorporated changes in the service delivery, such as resource allocation to different COVID-19 sites, development of customized CIS training programs suitable to nursing staff on board, and involvement in CIS implementation for new COVID-19 facilities.

To support any technical, workflow and other NI-related issues, the COVID-19 NI Hotline Team was made available to nursing staff. On-site facility support was accessible to regular new hired nurses, COVID-19 volunteer nursing staff, deployed nurses and non-HMC nursing staff. NI management has constantly worked with the corporate departments on the aspect of training for the much-needed nursing workforce. Likewise, the Nursing Informatics Data Management Centre (NIDMC), a specialized report and analytics resource, has created a dynamic dashboard for internal use that provided visibility of COVID-19 datasets and statistics in a single window and reflected NI requirements in supporting COVID-19 facilities. The department also participated in designing comprehensive end-to-end COVID-19-related workflows in coordination with health information and communications technology (HICT) and in consultation with various stakeholders.

These workflows are intended to be used by Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) along with the existing clinical workflows of HMC, Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), and Mobile Health Services (MHS) among others. On the other hand, the department implemented quality standards and achieved the ISO 9001:2015 international certification on the grounds of demonstrating the ability to consistently provide services, meeting stakeholder expectations, and constantly aiming at process improvement.

This sheer achievement amid the pandemic reflected the department’s dedication and diligence in providing services. Despite a limited workforce, NI demonstrated high resilience in efficiently handling the increased demands of nurses in the facilities.

With the following identified as critical success factors, the department is looking forward to generating positive outcomes and creating meaningful value in the services provided.

  • Communication expansion: Expand organizational liaison with national and international nursing informatics entities by conducting annual workshops, conferences, projects, and research to spread the concept of nursing informatics
  • Develop a more competent NI workforce: Equip nursing informatics workforce with annual customized courses and mentoring programs to promote and lead the informatics development in the region
  • Enhance education and training: Enhance knowledge and awareness among the healthcare community by introducing informatics educational courses annually to help providers cope with dynamic and advancing healthcare technology
  • Enlarge scope of research: Conduct evidence-based nursing informatics research annually and ensure the recommendations are impacting the practice and improving the quality of services provided
  • Organizational restructuring: Increase the support outreach to 90% by creating team-based structure to further strengthen the role of nursing informatics and maintain its significance in the corporation

The Nursing Informatics Strategic Plan for 2023-2025 has set the transformation for all its projects and services to the next level, focusing on maximizing NI workforce competence, improving research endeavors, enhancing the quality of nursing informatics operations, and transforming education and training services. We call on the continued support of HMC nurses and stakeholders for making this plan a success.

Oracle Cerner is privileged to partner with nursing informatics department across Qatar and HMC.  As part of the ongoing partnership, Oracle Cerner will continue to support Dr Wasmiya and her team in efforts to better leverage the best possible features of the EHR to support the mission of delivering the best care to the patient. Part of that partnership is a collaboration that celebrates the ongoing and amazing success seen thus far by the NI department at HMC.