Design a site like this with
Get started

Defining Types of Data

Let’s dive into various types of data in the nursing world and where each type perhaps is a best fit.

What is it?

Electronic medical/health records (EMR/EHR) are essentially digital versions of paper patient records in healthcare settings.

Nursing considerations

EMR/EHR is the most versatile and useful system as it could be beneficial across the majority of clinical areas. According to Mollart et al. (2020), the majority of nursing students are exposed to electronic medical records regardless of the area they were placed. Further, those students identified how the utilization of EMR systems benefited their practice through seamless transfer of patient information. If nursing students in all areas are utilizing EMR systems, it is demonstrated that it can be not only beneficial in a variety of clinical areas, but also that it greatly impacts patient outcomes in those areas as well. If patient information is transferred to all nursing staff, then the patient would not have to repeat their health histories to various staff members while in care. It would also benefit nursing as they could have more time to spend on patient care instead to relaying information to other clinicians.

Ramachandran, D. (2016). EHR Reality [meme]. Caduceusblog.

What is it?

Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) involves storing, managing, retrieving, transferring, and delivering medical images within healthcare domains (Zahiri Esfahani et al., 2019).

Nursing considerations

PACS are beneficial across a lot of clinical areas, however acute areas could see the most benefit. In acute areas, immediate information of people’s conditions are needed to ensure adequate care is provided. These images would then be transferable to other clinicals areas to allow for better patient care. Nurses could use the PACS to obtain a deeper understanding of their patients’ medical condition and have greater ability to converse with other clinicians about the concerns at hand. This would allow for explementary patient outcomes.

No author. (2021). PACS upgrade [meme].

What is it?

Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) allows clinicians to enter and send treatment instructions such as medications, lab orders, and radiology orders through a computer vs. paper fax or my phone.

Nursing Considerations

CPOE is most beneficial in LTC and acute areas. In LTC, residents may need quick lab tests, or adjustments in medications and having CPOE would allow nurses to input and still tend to the residents. In acute care, there are always tests and procedures needed. CPOE is useful to nurses and other clinicians as it decreases potential errors and wait time in the process. This will, in turn, increase patient care time for nurses.

What is it?

Electronic medication administration records (eMAR) are utilized to track the medications that each person in nursing care has taken, and needs in future. It keeps record of all details like time given, errors, etc.

Nursing Considerations

The eMAR could be beneficial in a variety of clinical areas. It is mostly used in acute and LTC settings as this is where the most medications are given from nurse to patient. For nursing, eMAR enables nurses to keep track of all their patients medications and treatments. According to Hunt and Chakraborty (2021), eMAR systems decrease the amount of medication errors within the profession of nursing. Past the obvious benefits of lower medication errors of patient safety, it could also decrease stress for nurses and then increase their resiliency in their career.

What is it?

Telehealth is the utilization of digital information like video sharing and phone calls to allow for care wherever needed.

Nursing Considerations

Telehealth is beneficial in all clinical areas. I have personally worked with it to ensure clients can see various clinicians within care. I would say northern communities would benefit the most from telehealth though. Hunt et al. (2019) noted that northern communities have benefitted from telehealth as it has decreased costs for those living there as healthcare costs are higher there. It has also improved access to adequate healthcare for northern communities. Nurses use this technology by closing the gap between the clinician and patient on either end of the format. Nurses also use this in education to ensure clinical education is available to their nurses on site and off site.

Learn Telehealth. (2020). Telehealth [meme].

What is it?

The Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) is one of the most versatile telemedicine networks that is used across the globe with a two-way videoconferencing to provide care access to patients in hospitals within the province of Ontario.

Nursing Considerations

I have worked closely with OTN in acute mental health which allows patients to meet with clinicians outside our facility. It is useful across all settings in the province as it gives all facilities to connect with clinicians elsewhere. It enables nurses in providing the most effective care to their clients.

What is it?

Patient portals allow patients immediate access to their personal health information through use of the Internet.

Nursing Considerations

A patient portal is useful in all clinical areas regardless of the information presented. Nurses can use it to educate their clients on their health and that could improve patient outcomes.


Hunt, S., & Chakraborty, J. (2021). Dose verification errors in hospitals: Literature review of the eMAR-based systems used by nurses. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 36(2), 182-187.

Jong, M., Mendez, I., & Jong, R. (2019). Enhancing access to care in northern rural communities via telehealth. International journal of circumpolar health, 78(2), 1554174.

Mollart, L., Newell, R., Geale, S. K., Noble, D., Norton, C., & O’brien, A. P. (2020). Introduction of patient electronic medical records (EMR) into undergraduate nursing education: An integrated literature review. Nurse Education Today, 104517.

Zahiri Esfahani, M., Farokhzadian, J., Bahaadinbeigy, K., & Khajouei, R. (2019). Factors influencing the selection of a picture archiving and communication system: A qualitative study. The International journal of health planning and management, 34(2), 780-793.


2 thoughts on “Defining Types of Data

  1. Hi Alexa!

    Your blog is so visually appealing!! I really enjoyed reading it. I read your “about me” and you are so compassionate about mental health which I just love. My husband is a social worker at COAST Niagara and he is also very compassionate about mental health.

    Your EHR meme really hit home for me! I worked in the ER for the last three and a half years. Everything was paper charting. Other people on the health care team will come and take your chart and it’s gone for a long period of time. You can’t chart anything on the patient in that amount of time, if someone starts crashing you have no previous vital signs or notes, you can’t give medications because their MAR and orders are all in that chart that is now missing. You are always trying to decipher the doctor’s scribbly writing. I found myself always thinking “Why do we not have electronic charting?!”. Two weeks ago I took a temporary position on the hemodialysis unit. They are full blown electronic charting. It was quite the learning curve! There are definitely pros and cons. It’s nice to have everything in one place, no matter what computer you go to. It’s also nice that vital signs are automatically inputted from the dialysis machine. What I don’t like is exactly what your meme looked like. There’s so many check boxes. I miss writing a note on exactly what I’m seeing instead of just clicking a box. I find you don’t get the full picture. Also, our EHR does not connect to our “order entry system” (meditech). When it comes time to enter blood work into the system, I have to enter it into our EHR system and I then have to enter it again on meditech to print the labels for the bloodwork. It seems like double the work and there is room for error as things may be missed if you forget to enter it on both programs. A blog I read also brought up an interesting point about reduced oversight. The author stated that a con is some people get used to just clicking a button or shortcut to save charting time (Androus, 2020). It’s hard to find that happy median!

    Looking forward to your future blog posts Alexa! Also, for the YouTube videos, I clicked insert video and just copied and pasted the url. I didn’t upgrade and just have the free version. Not sure if that helps you any!

    Androus, A. B. (2020, December 10). What Are Some Pros and Cons of Using Electronic Charting (EMR)?


    1. Hey! Thanks for your comment! I feel you on the charting systems!! I have been a nurse for 15 years so I have been present for rollouts of a few electronic systems and it is definitely a learning curve!

      Also, thanks so much for the video info….not sure why it is saying that to me – I will try again next time!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: