Health care information systems tend to capture data for nursing tasks, and have little basis in nursing knowledge. Opportunity lies in an important issue where the knowledge used by expert nurses (nursing knowledge workers) in caring for patients is undervalued in the health care system. The complexity of nursing's knowledge base remains poorly articulated and inadequately represented in contemporary information systems. There is opportunity for data mining methods to assist with discovering important linkages between clinical data, nursing interventions, and patient outcomes. Following a brief overview of relevant data mining techniques, a preterm risk prediction case study illustrates the opportunities and describes typical data mining issues in the nontrivial task of building knowledge. Building knowledge in nursing, using data mining or any other method, will make progress only if important data that capture expert nurses' contributions are available in clinical information systems configurations. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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