ICN representation at digital health conference will secure nursing terminology’s place in electronic health records and in WHO’s global digital network

21 October 2023
WS 44

Digital nursing expert Dr Ernesto Morais represented the International Council of Nurses (ICN) at a major digital health conference in Bonn, Germany.

Dr Morais, who is a member of the board of the International Classification of Nursing Practice (ICNP®), attended the World Health Organization (WHO) Family of International Classifications Network (WHO-FIC Network) annual conference on 16-20 October.

The ICNP® is ICN’s standardised terminology of nursing diagnoses, interventions and outcomes. It provides a dictionary of terms and expressive relationships that nurses can use to describe and report their practice in a systematic way.

The resulting information can be used reliably by nurses to support care and effective decision making, inform nursing education, research and health policy, and support equitable and universal access to health services for citizens around the world.

The WHO-FIC Network’s role is to promote the implementation, use, maintenance, and updating of WHO's international health-related classifications. ICN has been involved in a number of initiatives within the WHO-FIC Network and since 2009 ICNP® has been a related terminology.

Dr Morais said: “Taking part in the discussions about health-related classifications is highly significant for nurses and for ICN. ICNP® ensures the visibility of nursing by providing a common language that represents nursing knowledge and transfers it through data sharing within nursing, and with other health professionals inside electronic health records (EHRs).”

ICN’s Position Statement on digital health states that nurses must be involved and participate in national and global digital health decision-making forums, including in the planning, design, testing and implementation of digital health products and digitized health systems. ICN’s position is also that “the nursing profession must contribute to the development of digital health technology to ensure it is developed and applied in a way that meets the needs of individuals, families, communities and the health workforce. We must ensure that nursing is adequately represented in multidisciplinary EHRs, which will increase nursing visibility, ensure patient safety and enhance the quality of care.”

ICN CEO Howard Catton said that the work of ICNP and ICN’s focus on global digital health were both fundamental to the future of nursing: “We know that it is essential that we are speaking a common language when we are talking about nursing knowledge and how it is shared through data. It’s particularly important that we are crystal clear in our terminology and our demands when we are referring to the fast-developing world of digital health. Only if nurses are the drivers and instigators of digital health will it adequately serve their patients and communities.”

ICNP® is an international standard that facilitates the description and comparison of nursing practice locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. It promotes evidenced-based quality care and provides nurses with content solutions for EHRs at all levels to support data-based information for use in practice, administration, education and research.

Dr Morais said he hoped his representation of ICNP® at this WHO-FIC Network conference would enhance the profile and value of nursing information and terminologies among other digital health experts.

Dr Morais is an associate professor at Porto Nursing School in Portugal and a researcher at its ICN-accredited Centre for Information Systems Research and Development, where he is responsible for the international collaborations on the development and implementation of nursing information systems.

Click here for more information about ICNP®