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  • Revista Brasileira de Enfermagem

    ISSN: 0034-7167


    Associao Brasileira de Enfermagem


    Marin, Heimar F.; Marques, Eduardo

    Nursing informatics: learning from the past to build a new future

    Revista Brasileira de Enfermagem, vol. 58, nm. 2, marzo-abril, 2005, pp. 143-146

    Associao Brasileira de Enfermagem

    Braslia, Brasil

    Available in: http://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=267019629002

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  • Nursing informatics: learning from the past to build a new future

    Heimar F. Marin

    RN, MS, PhD, FACMI .Professor at Federal University of So Paulo.


    Eduardo MarquesMdico. Doutor em Informtica Mdica,

    Professor da UERJ. Diretor Administrativo daClnica So Vicente, RJ.

    Adress for Correspondence:Rua Napoleo de Barros 75404024-002 So Paulo - SP.


    Health care and health information have been around since the time of Hippocrates or even before. Through thehistorical evolution, it is observed that the knowledge and information that were simple and easy to learn andretain by that time, became much more complex. This paper presents a brief reviewing on the evolution ofnursing informatics and how it grew up and made itself visible during all these years of International MedicalInformatics Association (IMIA) conferences.Descriptores: Medical informatics; Education; History, nursing.


    A assistncia sade e a informao em sade so discutidas desde o tempo de Hipcrates ou at antes disto.Atravs da evoluo histrica, observado que o conhecimento e a informao que eram simples e fceis dese aprender e reter naquele tempo, tornaram-se muito mais complexas. Este artigo apresenta uma breve revisoda evoluo da Informtica em Enfermagem e como a mesma cresceu e se fez visvel ao longo destes anos noscongressos da Associao Internacional de Informtica Mdica (IMIA) .Descritores: Informtica mdica; Educao; Histria da enfermagem.


    La atencin a la salud y la informacin en salud han sido discutidas desde el tiempo de Hiprocates o hasta antesde esto. Travs de la evolucin historica, es observado que el conocimiento y la informacin que eran simplesy faciles de se aprender y retener en esto tiempo, tornaranse mucho ms complejos. Esto artculo presenta unabreve revisin sobre la evolucin de la Informtica en Enfermera y como la misma se ha tornado grande yvisible durante los aos en los congressos de la Associacin Internacional de Informtica Medica (IMIA).Descriptors: informtica Medica; Enseanza; Historia de la enfermera.

    Informtica em Enfermagem: aprendendo com o passado para construir um novofuturo

    Informatica em Enfermera: aprendendo con el pasado para construyr un nuevofuturo

    Marin HF, Marques E. Nursing Informatics: learning from the past to build a new future. Rev Bras Enferm 2005 mar-abr;58(2):143-6.


    de Enfermagem


    143Rev Bras Enferm 2005 mar-mar; 58(2):143-6.

    I love and admire the past, but I would like the future to be even betterRomain Rolland

    Knowing from the past, learning from the experience of pioneers and professionals that built thenursing informatics (NI) field help us to build the foundation of our future in a more resistant andsolid manner. Reflecting on the evolution of the field gives the opportunity to look abroad andconsider the values of several cultures and analyze how nursing informatics was built in differentcountries, different continents.

    A new field of knowledge was born 1974 is the year!Health care and health information have been around since the time of Hippocrates or even

    before. Through the historical evolution, it is observed that the knowledge and information that weresimple and easy to learn and retain by that time, became much more complex. By 1974, technologywas being used in several areas and the amount of available information was provoking a genuinerevolution. To be updated could represent a challenge and compromise the quality of care.

    In healthcare, some visionary people start to coordinate developments, establishing a networkwhere resources and findings could be shared among professionals, organizations, regions andcountries. The International Medical Informatics Association - IMIA was being engendered!

    The first IMIA President was Professor Franois Grmy. He was founder and president from1968 to 1975. During his term the first global conference on Medical Informatics took place: MEDINFO

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    Marin HF, Marques E.

    Rev Bras Enferm 2005 mar-abr; 58(2):143-6.

    was created to serve as a forum where people could be integrated andshare their experiences. Today, after 30 years since the first one, the11th MEDINFO has representatives from 43 countries and we arecovering the six continents.

    Since its creation MEDINFO is being organized every three years.Countries that host the conference were: Sweden (Stockholm, 1974),Canad (Toronto, 1977), Japan (Tokyo, 1980), The Netherlands(Amsterdam, 1983), United States (Washington, 1986), Singapore(Singapore, 1989), Switzerland (Geneva, 1992), Canad (Vancouver,1995), Korea (Seoul, 1998), England (London, 2001), United States (SanFranscisco, 2004). The next conference will be held in 2007 in Brisbane,Australia. Nurses will lead the conference. The president of OrganizinzCommittee is Dr. Evelyn Hovenga (Australia); the Scientific Committeeis co-chaired by Alexa McGray (USA) and Heimar F. Marin (Brazil).

    In 1974, at the first MEDINFO conference among 177 papers five ofthem were in nursing informatics(1).

    In 1992, in Geneva, Switzerland the scientific program comprised259 oral presentations and 20 were in NI. This meeting was a remarkableconference: the scientific quality was impressive and the number ofcountries that participated was higher than usual(2). A first paper in nursinginformatics from Brazil was presented. This was important because upto that date, countries representatives were from Europe, Asia and NorthAmerica.

    In 1995, other important fact to highlight is a paper in nursinginformatics from South Africa that was firstly included on the scientificprogram(3). Consequently, from seven continents (Africa, Antarctica, Asia,Australia, Europe, North America and South America), six werepresented!

    In 1998, Seoul, nursing informatics was integrated in the programover a variety of sessions and starts to determine a tendency integration(4). Nurses participated in different sessions other then thoseones dedicated to nursing informatics field and the main topics relatedto nursing activities in health or nursing informatics were: internetapplications, evidence and outcomes, nursing documentation, educationand terminology.

    Since the 1998 conference, following trends and tendencies, NI isdeeply integrated and nurses are demonstrating their contributions tothis field of healthcare informatics. In addition, there are also includedsessions dedicated to present specific concerns and discuss futuredirections of the field. It is clear that nurses want to tell to the wholeaudience how important contributions we have done to enhance healthinformatics around the world.

    Looking back to all previous MEDINFO conferences, we saw thatnurses participated since the very beginning. There is no exception andthe last MEDINFO showed that nurses are making more contributionsthan ever! How do we have got here? What was our way to reach thislevel of maturity? What we have done to build a much better future?

    Nurse leaders were energized by a variety of motivations. Nursesalso always have been in the business of processing information, evenbefore computers were introduced into healthcare industry and becomean integral part of the nursing profession.

    Florence Nightingale, considered the first health scientist who starteddocumenting and collecting data for statistical analysis proved that themodern nursing practice is an information dependable profession. Nursesdepend on accurate and timely access to appropriate information in orderto perform the variety of activities that involve patient care, administration,consulting, education and training.

    The term, Nursing Informatics was coined by Scholes and Barber in1980. Maureen Scholes was a pioneer and a very enthusiastic in thefield. She participated at the first MEDINFO in 1974 presenting a paper.Years later she was the chair of the First International Conference on

    Nursing Informatics that was held in London, England in 1982(5).Following the International Conference on Nursing Informatics, during

    MEDINFO 1983 (Amsterdam), Elly Plyuter Wenting organized a full one-day seminar. In that seminar, 200 nurses participated, showing thegrowing interested and raising nurses involvement on the filed. Also, onthat seminar, 13 countries were represented: Canada, Denmark, Finland,Germany, Italy, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland,The Netherlands, England and United States. This participationdemonstrates that nurses in 13 different countries in Europe and NorthAmerica were developing resources using computers and technology toimprove nursing care and education(6).