Dean charts future of patient statistics

by Jamie VanGeest

Connie Delaney, the new dean of the University’s Nursing School, waited patiently as someone brought a stool to the stage so her head could reach the microphone.

“I’m 4-foot-11, but I rarely admit to people I’m under 5 feet,” Delaney said.

She spoke of her big plans for the necessity of informatics in health care.

The American Nursing Association defines nursing informatics as “a specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science and information science to manage, and communicates data, information, and knowledge in nursing practice.”

It’s a way to use information technology to improve health care.

Delaney described informatics as integral to every function of a health care system.

She also said every technology in health care is value-laden and that all health care workers need to have health care informatics competency.

“The very care of our health care system is the people we serve,” Delaney said.

Delaney described people as the soul of informatics.

Senior Vice President of the Academic Health Center Frank Cerra said, “(Informatics is) an area this University needs to make a hefty investment in.”

Delaney serves on the Board of Directors of the American Medical Informatics Association and is co-chairwoman for the Alliance for Nursing Informatics, an organization representing 2,000 nurses across the country.

“Dr. Delaney is internationally known for her work in nursing,” Cerra said.

Patricia Brennan, a professor of nursing and industrial engineering at the University of Wisconsin, was part of a panel that discussed informatics at the end of the lecture.

“We don’t need to bring the bench to the bedside, but bring the bench to the bedroom,” she said.

She hopes to improve health care by optimizing the use of informatics.

At the University, Delaney hopes to create a course in informatics that will first be open to students in medical disciplines, and then be available to the entire University.