As the largest health care workforce group, nurses are well suited to collaborate with other team members in the clinical work for an effective healthcare delivery (Matthys, Remmen, & Van Bogaert, 2017).
Collaboration is multidimensional and can occur in both face-to-face encounters and electronically for exchange of views and ideas. Collaboration is a planned or an unplanned engagement that takes place between individuals or teams of individuals, whether in-person or mediated by technology, where information is exchanged in some way (either explicitly, i.e. verbally or written, or implicitly, i.e. through shared understanding of gestures, emotions, etc.), and often occur across different roles (i.e. physician and nurse) to deliver patient care (Weir, 2011).
With reference to health informatics, a systematic review of literature, (Eikey, Reddy, & Kuziemsky, 2015), methods of collaborative work in health setting include telemedicine application, EMR, HER, EPR, CPOE, mobile technology, (PDAs, pagers, mobile phones), Web 2.0 applications, internet, online health communities, picture archives, and communication system, medicine dispensing devices and barcode systems, HIT and any other specific application. The authors further presented the “collaboration space model”, to help researchers study collaboration and technology in healthcare.
In my healthcare setting, we use several health informatics methods such as pagers, mobile phones, communication system, medicine dispensing devices and barcode systems, but one that has been much applauded during this COVID 19 era is Telemedicine. I work in a psych/detox hospital.
We found telemedicine very relevant based on research results indicating that people with mental health problems are twice more likely to be frequent users of hospital emergency departments (Hunt, Weber, Showstack, Colby, & Callaham, 2006). The use of the emergency department for routine clinical care poses a huge strain on the health system because of the high cost of treatment, restricting use of the emergency department for admission of patients who really require admissions. This is also because of the associated complexity and pressure to admit patients for inpatient care (Institute of Medicine (U.S.), 2007).
Recent technological advancements have led to easy access to videoconferencing utilizing personal computers or tablets. A few research work has also been carried out using telemedicine. Patients are encouraged to check their vital signs using personal devices. Also, the introduction of asynchronous store-and-forward approaches enable clinicians review their patient without direct interaction. Also, telehomecare enables clinicians monitor their patients in their own homes (Yellowlees et al., 2010). Telepsychiatry aims to improve quality of care to patients and reduce costs in three ways: it will carry out assessment at a distance, the specialist will be able to provide emergency department doctors opinion on complex cases and it will provide information on follow-up appointments using patients’ own technology. Moreover, patients with mental health challenges have a unique set of preferences and needs different from those with general medical conditions. These include face-to face verbal interventions, instructions about their oral medications, challenges about their medications, social support services, coordinated discharge planning and more confidentiality (Allen, Carpenter, Sheets, Miccio, & Ross, 2003).
The use of this collaborative health informatics had produced a high positive impact in clinical area by improving patient’s outcome and by producing data from research work. It has also promoted inter-professional interaction.