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There are many definitions for nursing informatics; however the following is one that stands out:

"Nursing informatics is the multidisciplinary scientific endeavour of analysing, formalising and modelling how nurses how nurses collect and manage data, process data into information and knowledge, make knowledge-based decisions and inferences for patient care, and use empirical and experiential knowledge to in order to broaden the scope and enhance the quality of their professional practice." 1

Nursing informatics has assumed a role in healthcare that ensures that data collected by nurses along with clinical knowledge is structured in a way that it is acceptable and accessible to other areas of healthcare. 2


The American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA) is a professional organisation that that promotes nursing informatics in the US. In the United Kingdom, nursing informatics is promoted by the British Computer Society (BCS) Nursing Specialist Group.

Through the development and evaluation of data management tools and the proper harnessing of advances in information technology, nursing informatics has been able to assist nurses in all areas of nursing practice.

One such area has been the development of the Nursing Information System (NIS), which can either stand-alone or be integrated to a Hospital Information System (HIS). NIS records all aspects of a patient’s nursing care from admission to discharge. Some of the data collected include diagnosis, nursing plans, and dietary information, treatment details such as operations and investigations, and patient observations.

NIS ensures that the data captured is structured through the use of Classification Systems such as North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA) and SNOMED RT.

In December 1995, the American Nursing Association (ANA) established the Nursing Information and Data Set Evaluation Centre to:

  • Develop and disseminate standards pertaining to information systems that support the documentation of nursing practice, and
  • Evaluate voluntarily submitted systems against those standards.


  1. Goossen, WTF. Nursing information management and processing: a framework and definition for systems analysis, design and evaluation. International Journal of Biomedical Computing. 1996; 40: 187-195.

  2. Graves, J.; Corcoran, S. The study of nursing informatics. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 1989; 21, 227-231

Useful Links



International Medical Informatics Association
American Medical Informatics Association
UK Health Informatics Society
British Computer Society Health Informatics Committee
European Federation for Medical Informatics
American Nursing Informatics Association
American Telemedicine Association

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Last Updated: 10 August 2006.

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