Mari Tietze earns Doswell Endowed Chair in Nursing Informatics

Headshot of Mari Tietze

Photo by Rhonda DuTeil

Jan. 19, 2016 — DALLAS — As Texas Woman’s University’s new Doswell Endowed Chair in Nursing Informatics, associate nursing professor Mari Tietze, R.N., Ph.D., is a champion at navigating the maze of health care information using informatics, which, simply put, is the science of applying technology and data analysis to solve problems.

1/19/16

 As the Doswell Endowed Chair in Nursing Informatics, Tietze will develop and implement course objectives to educate nurses on the significance and use of informatics. She understands the force of informatics and the need for nurses and other key health care professionals to leverage knowledge and application in their practice.

Tietze has been the program director for the TWU Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Interprofessional Informatics since 2013. She also has been integral in the development of the two interprofessional TWU degree programs in informatics — one undergraduate and one graduate level — that involved collaborative efforts among university programs in nursing, computer science, health studies and library information studies.

“Informatics is more than just interpretation of data, it is the application of the data so that it has a place in everyday operations,” Tietze said. “In health care, informatics allows information to be delivered at the right place and right time for the benefit of the patient.” This practice has importantly led to a decrease in cost of health care and more focus on preventative health care delivery. 

The average American engages with the health care industry more than 300 times across the lifespan, producing quite a paper trail. As a result, paper medical record files were two feet long, steeped with diagnosis, prognosis, prescriptions and health care plans from the time a person was born until they died. 

Today, all of this patient information exists in advanced computer systems and databases — a complex, electronic maze. Nursing and health care informatics is particularly focused on enabling health care providers to make the best possible decision for patients through the strategic use of information. 

For Tietze, informatics encompasses the entire workflow of health care, with nurses being the biggest users of informatics in the daily care of patients. 

“To avoid doing harm and only helping patients, information management from different technologies, including electronic health records, requires informatics knowledge and skill, which is what we teach at TWU — applied informatics.” 

Tietze credits a former U.S. president for solidifying her interest in the informatics field. She had been working in nursing information services at the time, as the head of a hospital’s medication administration/documentation bedside computer system. She heard a speech by then President Bill Clinton, where he held up a small plastic card and informed the country that soon, all of our health care information would be available on that small card for health care providers to make the best possible decisions regarding health care, regardless of patient location.

“That really resonated with me, because that is what I wanted and have been working toward, which is leveling the playing field for all Americans — whether rich, poor, rural or urban — to ensure they all have quality health care.”

Tietze earned her Ph.D. in nursing from TWU in 2002, and was hired as an associate professor at TWU in 2010.  Her professional experience includes serving as director of nursing research and informatics, senior research project lead and research project manager for the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council and the Council’s Education and Research Foundation.  She also was the senior manager at the Center for Research and Innovation, a clinical specialist in data management for VHA, Inc., and the division director of nursing information services for St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

The Doswell Endowed Chair in Informatics is one of two endowed chairs resulting from a $2 million gift from Florence A. Doswell to the TWU T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Sciences-Dallas Center in February 2011. This gift will continue to position TWU as a leader in nursing excellence, informatics and quality patient care for generations to come.

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