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Release: June 1, 1999

UI College of Nursing to host nursing informatics institute June 15-19

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Up to 50 participants from as far away as Ireland will take part in the five-day Institute on Nursing Informatics and Classification at the University of Iowa College of Nursing June 15-19.

Nationally known presenters at the institute include Christopher Chute, head of medical information resources for the Mayo Medical Center and Foundation in Rochester, Minn., and Rita Zielstorff, corporate manager of Partners Healthcare System's department of nursing in Boston. A number of recognized UI nursing faculty will also give talks and lead discussions on information system design, standardized nursing language and other topics.

The institute is sponsored by the College of Nursing's organizations, systems and community nursing area of study and the Center for Nursing Classification.

The term "nursing informatics" refers in part to computerized information systems used to create and manage records for individual patients. Nursing classifications are standardized terms that describe nursing diagnoses, treatments and outcomes in these computerized systems. The UI College of Nursing is recognized internationally for its leadership in developing informatics and classification systems.

"Informatics and classification are really about empowering consumers and all health care providers to have an equal voice within the health care system," said Connie Delaney, Ph.D., associate professor of nursing at the UI and one of the institute's organizers. Although discussions of information and classification systems can seem impersonal, Delaney said, "nurses have the relationships to patients and the commitment to advocacy that bring sensitivity to the computerized picture -- a sensitivity that adds a dimension of caring that's been missing from patient records."

She gave the example of a patient whose medical condition might be complicated by such factors as fatigue, fear, lack of knowledge, role conflicts, immobility, pain and so on. Even now, most medical records ignore such information. But nursing classification provides standard terms to describe individuals' responses to illness, and nursing informatics make it possible to include this information in computerized records, enabling nurses and other health professionals to render better and more compassionate care.

The informatics and classification institute is for nurses and others interested in designing, implementing and evaluating nursing information systems, as well as those interested in standardized nursing language. In addition to presentations and panel discussions on technical, legal and scientific issues pertaining to nursing information systems, the institute will include field visits to Alverno Health Care Facility in Clinton, the Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, and the UI Hospitals and Clinics. Hands-on experiences will acquaint participants with image analysis technology, the Information Commons at the UI's Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, the UIHC's Virtual Hospital, rural telemedicine and telecommunications technology for education, advanced practice nursing and research.

Participation in the institute is limited to 50 to facilitate more direct interaction between faculty and participants. Social outings will include a shopping opportunity at Coral Ridge Mall and a sunset cruise with dinner aboard the Celebration Belle, the largest luxury excursion vessel on the upper Mississippi.

For more information about the Institute on Nursing Informatics and Classification, contact the UI College of Nursing's organizations, systems and community nursing area of study at (319) 335-7051.