1. Greenwood, Karen

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The Alliance for Nursing Informatics (ANI) is a collaboration of organizations that represent a unified voice for nursing informatics. This collaboration provides synergy and structure needed to advance the efforts of nursing informatics professionals in improving the delivery of patient care. Today, ANI represents 25 organizations and more than 5000 nurse informaticists. These professionals come from academia, practice, industry, and nursing specialty boundaries and work in collaboration with the nearly three million nurses in practice today. As we celebrate the 5-year anniversary of ANI, we reflect on our history and our numerous accomplishments.


On October 19, 2004, 18 national and regional nursing informatics groups established ANI, with the boards of directors for both the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) agreeing to provide ongoing support, coordination, and leadership. Most of the founding nursing informatics groups had no professional staff and depended on the volunteer efforts of their members to organize programs and activities. Nursing informatics leaders recognized that as more healthcare organizations moved toward adopting electronic health records (EHRs) and technology solutions, nurses who manage and work in the nursing informatics field needed to have increasingly vital roles in designing and implementing systems that enhance the safety and efficiency of patient care and in connecting with other professionals in the field.


In the first year, ANI worked to develop objectives to guide their activities. Those objectives included


* fostering the further development of a united voice for nursing informatics and provide a forum for its expression;


* providing a single point of connection between nursing informatics individuals and groups and the broader nursing and healthcare community; and


* providing a forum to engage nursing informatics organizations to identify leadership, provide mentorship, and respond to opportunities that support and encourage nursing informatics participation in activities.



The objectives of ANI also defined the importance of providing a mechanism for member organizations to achieve consensus on policy issues affecting nursing informatics and the importance of supporting individual membership in the nursing informatics organizations.


Three sets of leadership groups that worked to define membership categories, operating guidelines, and strategic goals were established by ANI-the governing directors, the steering committee, and the executive team. The first task was for the leadership groups to establish a structure that fostered organizational participation.


Two categories of membership were defined by ANI-full and affiliate. Full membership is extended to organizations that are local, national, or international and have a body of knowledge and skills in a defined area relevant to nursing informatics. Affiliate membership is extended to any organization or entity not eligible to join as a full member.


The governing director, which consists of one representative from each member organization, was tasked with identifying the strategic goals and activities of ANI. Over the next 24 months, the governing directors developed a robust set of goals and activities that focused on awareness, education, and policy outreach. In 2007, the strategic plan was presented to and adopted by the ANI members.


The steering committee of ANI, which consists of the two cochairs (one from AMIA and one from HIMSS), three members at large, and a representative of the ANA, is responsible for the implementation of goals and objectives set forth by the governing directors. The committee had several major tasks in the first 2 years, which included developing a leadership and election structure and working with the ANI executive team on the day-to-day management of ANI.


The executive team consists of the two ANI cochairs and one staff liaison each from AMIA and HIMSS. The executive team fosters and manages the relationships with member organizations and external organizations as related to the business, management, and strategic direction of ANI. The executive team also coordinates ANI activities to ensure alignment with and support of those activities conducted by the member organizations.


Activities in 2006 and early 2007 included participation in the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel, adding our voice to a request to the Department of Labor to include nursing informatics as an occupational code, submitting comments to the National Institute of Nursing Research draft strategic plan, and establishing a partnership with CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing to offer discount subscription rates to our members.


In mid-2007, ANI submitted a letter to the Google Health Advisory Council after Google announced the formation of the council to better understand the problems that consumers and providers face in healthcare delivery and offer feedback on product ideas; ANI was successful in asking Google to appoint a member of ANI to serve on the council. This was the first example of the intended purpose of ANI and the benefits of expressing a unified voice for nursing and nursing informatics. Subsequently, that year, we also participated in the first phase of the TIGER Initiative (Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform). The Alliance for Nursing Informatics worked closely with TIGER, which started as a grassroots initiative to enable practicing nurses and nursing students to fully engage in the unfolding digital electronic era in healthcare. The purpose of the initiative is to identify information/knowledge management best practices and effective technology capabilities for nurses. The goal of TIGER is to create and disseminate local and global action plans that can be duplicated within nursing and other multidisciplinary healthcare training and workplace settings. Now in its third phase, as it focuses on information dissemination, ANI continues to support TIGER.


The last 18 months of ANI have been the busiest and most deeply gratifying. In 2008, ANI leadership reached out to the American Health Information Community Successor organization expressing concern about the lack of nursing representation on their board. Subsequently, nursing informatics leaders from ANI were invited to attend a meeting to discuss the importance of the nursing informatics voice and consider opportunities for future collaboration. This was the first time that ANI was called on to provide the unified voice of nursing informatics-our vision had been realized. Since that day, ANI has provided dozens of testimonies, participated in expert panels, and has rallied our members to be part of, and have a voice in, the advancements in health information technology.


In late 2009, ANI provided testimony to the Institute of Medicine and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's forum on the Future of Nursing. Nurses constitute the largest single group of healthcare professionals, including experts who serve on national committees and interoperability initiatives focused on policy, standards, and terminology development; standards harmonization; and EHR adoption. In their frontline roles, nurses have a profound impact on the quality and effectiveness of healthcare and thus must be adequately supported in their knowledge work by EHR systems. Nurses are key leaders in the effective use of information technology to impact the quality and efficiency of healthcare services.


It is the belief of ANI that nurses are integral to achieving a vision that will require a nationwide effort to adopt and implement EHR systems in a meaningful way. This is an incredible opportunity to build upon our understanding of effectiveness research, evidence-based practice, innovation, and technology to optimize patient care and health outcomes. The future of nursing will rely on this transformation, as well as on the important role of nurses in enabling this digital revolution.


Thank you to each of the ANI members for making the past 5 years so successful and meaningful. We have hundreds of volunteers who have contributed thousands of hours, and we only wish we had more space to thank you each by name. We look forward to many more years working together.


ANI Membership Organizations (October 2009)


* American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)


* American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA)


* Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN)


* Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN)




* Center for Nursing Classification and Clinical Effectiveness (CNC)


* Central Savannah River Area Clinical Informatics Network (CSRA-CIN)


* Cerner Nursing Advisory Board


* Connecticut Healthcare Informatics Network (CHIN)


* Croatia Nursing Informatics Association (CroNIA)


* Delaware Valley Nursing Computer Network (DVNCN)


* Health Informatics of New Jersey (HINJ)


* Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)


* Informatics Nurses From Ohio (INFO)


* MEDITECH Nurse Informatics program


* Midwest Nursing Research Society-NI Research Section (MNRS)


* Minnesota Nursing Informatics Group (MINING)


* NANDA International


* New England Nursing Informatics Consortium (NENIC)


* North Carolina State Nurses Association Council on NI (NCNA CONI)


* Puget Sound Nursing Informatics (PSNI)


* SNOMED CT Nursing Working Group


* South Carolina Informatics Nursing Network (SCINN)


* Utah Nursing Informatics Network (UNIN) Related Organizations


* American Nurses Association


* American Nurses Credentialing Center




The American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA) and CARING, both nationally recognized nonprofit nursing informatics organizations, announced their January 1, 2010, merger into a new entity, ANIA-CARING. The combined organization, with more than 3000 members in 50 states and 34 countries, is one of the largest associations of its kind in the country.


Established in 1992, ANIA provided the first opportunity for informatics nurses in Southern California to meet and network. It grew to be a national organization providing networking, education, and information resources to enrich and strengthen the roles of nurses in the field of informatics, with members in all 50 states and five countries.


Formerly known as Capital Area Roundtable on Informatics in Nursing, CARING was developed and organized by nurses in the DC area in 1982 to provide a forum for the advancement of automated healthcare information systems. Over time, CARING grew to become a nursing informatics organization, with members in 50 states and 34 countries advancing the delivery of quality healthcare through the integration of informatics in practice, education, administration, and research.


According to Jerry Chamberlain, former CARING president, newly appointed ANIA-CARING vice president, the ANIA-CARING name was chosen to reflect the history of each organization. "I truly believe that by merging we will be able to take the best from each organization and create a new organization that is greater than the sum of its parts to support nurse informaticists in their challenging roles and to advance the specialty of nursing informatics," said Chamberlain.


The organizational merger proposed by the respective board of directors for ANIA and CARING received great support and an overwhelmingly favorable vote by members of both organizations. The boards have been combined to form a new board.


"The beginning of 2010, we will be very busy with activities to form the foundation of the new association, such as combining the Web sites, job banks, membership databases, and finalizing our strategic plan and budget. Stay tuned for more information," said Dr Victoria Bradley, former ANIA president and newly appointed ANIA-CARING president.


A leading nursing informatics organization, ANIA-CARING is dedicated to advancing the field of nursing informatics through communications, education, research, and professional activities. There will be a celebration of this merger at the upcoming annual conference to be held in Boston, MA, on April 22-24, 2010, entitled "Re-Evolution in Nursing Informatics." For further information, please visit our Web site,