Digital Themes

Healthcare Informatics

What is healthcare informatics?

Healthcare informatics is a new discipline in the healthcare industry composed of computer science, information science, healthcare science, and cognitive science that simplifies the data management of healthcare organizations. Health informatics’ sub-disciplines include pharmacy, biomedical, clinical, and medical informatics. Healthcare informatics deals with advanced information systems and devices that aid in collecting, organizing, and analyzing health data from various sources. The retrieved data is used to improve evidence-based medicine and find new ways to connect patients to the proper care programs.

The healthcare industry uses informatics to organize large amounts of patient data produced within and throughout IT systems. The categorized data supports healthcare organizations in quickly analyzing patient information, helping to implement better treatment plans, improving clinical efficiency, decreasing costs, and enhancing quality care outcomes. Healthcare informatics allows hospitals, clinics, and various care facilities to easily share health records and communicate within and across medical departments.

How does healthcare informatics work?

Healthcare informatics is operated by informaticists trained in using IT systems to retrieve, organize, and translate data to decrease gaps in care management. These specialists combine clinical workflow with data collection across multiple healthcare settings to create better evidence-based patient care. Healthcare workers can easily access the organized patient data collected by electronic health records (EHRs), personal electronic devices, pharmacy records, and insurance documents. 

Informaticists are taught specialized methods to review health records and store vital patient information to improve healthcare. They ensure patient information is systemized and updated with all current treatments to help physicians enhance care outcomes. Once patient data is analyzed, they build communication protocols within the appropriate system that allows healthcare workers to access the desired health information quickly and easily.

Healthcare informaticists usually work with physicians or healthcare teams but do not direct patient care. They are responsible for maintaining medical databases, organizing coding and billing, and keeping healthcare facilities operating within regulatory standards. Informaticists analyze datasets for healthcare teams and specialists to measure patient health symptoms and outcomes. It also helps organize and systemize medical equipment and supplies, charts patient wait times, calculate the risk of medical errors, and manages malpractice claims. 

Healthcare informatics aid in the managerial organization by analyzing data that can help make programs and administrative tasks more efficient. Healthcare administrators can better organize and process EHR information, ensuring compliance measures are enforced, and documentation is completed. Health managers can utilize data examined by IT specialists to improve clinical operations, communication between staff, and administrative protocols. 

Health policy coordinators utilize datasets from health information systems, like patient portals, to provide physicians and other staff with up-to-date information on areas like public health developments. Electronic medical records and other sources can show important trends or emerging disease outbreaks that can help public health officials manage and coordinate appropriate policy measures.

The benefits of healthcare informatics include:

  1. Patient data management: Electronic patient records are easily accessible and well-organized. Healthcare teams can track patient progress and build more effective treatments. Patient data shared with medical teams could improve diagnosis. 
  2. Medical coordination: Patient files are organized and managed for quick retrieval to improve coordination between medical teams and insurance providers. Various specialists or departments can quickly access up-to-date patient health records, improving treatment protocols.
  3. Patient education: Data analyzed from healthcare systems can be used to provide the public with important information about new diseases or better ways to improve overall health. 
  4. Better health outcomes: Healthcare organizations can utilize data management to improve the communication style, technique, and process providers use to treat patients. Accurate health data easily shared between experts can improve patient health outcomes due to combined expertise. 
  5. Improved costs: Informaticists can retrieve data and analyze patterns that indicate possible redundancies, inadequate health standards, and cumbersome processes. 
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