Introduction To Health Informatics
Physiology has been called ‘the logic of life’, and conversely, pathology has been called the ‘logic of disease’. Health informatics is something new and interesting though, and it’s called the ‘logic of heatlhcare’. Healthcare is rapidly evolving in tandem with technology, and health informatics is at the center of it all. It is a rational study targeted at thinking in new ways about patients, the kinds of treatments we can give them, and how to select, define, and improve them. It is also about studying clinical knowledge and how it gets applied, shared, molded, and created. Finally, it is the study how we as people organize ourselves to form and maintain healthcare organizations. Health informatics is right at the crossroads of healthcare and technology. With the increasing role of technology, it seems that the study of health informatics will become as critical to practicing medicine as anatomy was to the past.
Health informatics is the study of communication systems and information in healthcare.
Health informatics relies heavily on computers. Instead of using drugs, surgical tools, or X-ray machines, health informatics relies on other resources like communication systems such as the Internet, information systems, and clinical guidelines. It’s making healthcare smarter, in other words. It’s providing help to doctors and health practitioners. It’s making healthcare more efficient. Delivering the best possible healthcare is the ultimate goal, and these are the tools of doing so.
Health informatics only came about as a phrase in the early ‘70s. However, it is a study that goes back to the beginning of healthcare, and it was born the moment that a practitioner first wrote some notes about a patient, and then used these notes to help the next patient. Informatics has grown much since then, and its growth as a clinical discipline has sharply increased. Computer technology advances are spurring it. What’s certainly changed is our potential to write about and mold health knowledge at a very abstract threshold, as has our potential to create communication systems that help healthcare be more efficient.
The study of communications and information systems in healthcare is pivotal. Grasping the fundamental nature of this information and these communication systems, and describing the principles in detail which create them, creating interventions that can aid existing information and communication systems, creating principles and methods which enable new interventions to be made, understanding the impact of these interventions on way people or organizations run, or the outcomes of that work are all part of health informatics.
There are several subspecialties of health informatics like clinical informatics or nursing informatics, and they focus on the use of information in patient care, but there’s also bioinformatics, and it concentrates on the work of biological information and genomic information. It’s all part of health informatics.