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This year has seen the largest increase in the use of telemedicine, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of Americans are relying on health information through technology, which changes the roles of healthcare professionals. Nagle, Sermeus, & Junger (2017) allude to physicians and nurses recognizing a shift in their roles in direct patient care to that of knowledge broker, helping patients manage and understand their care through the information they can access. For knowledge to be valuable from a nursing informatics standpoint, it must be easily accessible, timely, and lead to the formation of new knowledge (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017).
As a Labor and Delivery nurse, I rely on specific data that directly impacts the wellbeing of a mother and her unborn child. An example of pertinent data in the care of a pregnant patient is her blood type. It is important for all pregnant patients to have a blood type and screen as part of routine prenatal lab work in order to prepare for possible Rh-incompatibility with the fetus. If a pregnant patient has a negative blood type (Rh-negative), she will need to receive a Rh immune-globulin injection during her pregnancy around 28 weeks and following delivery, as there is a chance her unborn child could have a positive blood type (such as B+). While Rh-incompatibility is not an issue in a woman’s first pregnancy, it can create serious problems after maternal and fetal blood mix at time of delivery. In subsequent pregnancies, Rh-incompatibility will cause problems such as miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and hemolytic disease of the newborn without the Rh immune-globulin injection (KidsHealth, n.d.). Due to the success of the injections, intrauterine fetal blood transfusions are rare in the United States (KidsHealth, n.d.).
By using the clinical data of obtaining the blood type of a pregnant patient, the healthcare provider determines if she needs doses of an Rh immune-globulin injection. This simple understanding protects the wellbeing of the patient and her potential future unborn children. By promoting the preventative care of Rh-negative pregnant patients through the interpretation of data collection, millions of dollars, and infant lives, can be saved each year.