By Patricia Flatley Brennan & Uba Backonja.
We applaud the recent article in Science Careers, Informatics Careers Take Shape in Translational and Clinical Research, but wish they had complemented the emphasis on hospital based use of information technologies with an equally-vibrant discourse on the IT needs for health care in the community and at home.Nurses have a special knowledge about how people manage health at home, and recognize how effective innovative computer tools can be in accelerating people towards action. For example, University of Connecticut Nursing Professor Patricia Neafsey and colleagues developed medication management software to assist patients with hypertension. They have just published findings of usability testing for their "touch-screen-enabled Personal Education Program with advanced practice nurses" in the January/February 2010 issue of Computers Informatics Nursing (Volume 28(1), pp 32-41).
Here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Living Environments Laboratory is in development to facilitate the steady shift of health care from hospital to home by accelerating the development and deployment of care and diagnostic technologies that meet evolving expectations for access and personalization. It will become a node for nurses, biomedical and chemical engineers, fabric and environmental designers, bioinformatics developers and contributors from other disciplines to collaborate on health care projects that require their varied expertise in an ever changing world.
We at Project HealthDesign see a vibrant future for health IT practitioners and researchers capable of understanding the challenges of health at home and designing creative technology solutions for it.
For additional reading on input made by nurses on personal health IT, please see “Personal Health Info Management: Tools and Strategies for Citizens’ Engagement,” Dr. Kaija Saranto, Dr Patricia F Brennan, and Dr. Anne Casey (eds.).