Term: Healthcare Informatics

Dictionary.com defines healthcare as: "the field concerned with the maintenance or restoration of the health of the body or mind". It also defines informatics as: "the study of information processing". Therefore Healthcare Informatics can be literally defined as "the study of information processing in the field concerned with the maintenance or restoration of the health of the body or mind".

The course description in the syllabus described Health Informatics as the following:
"Health Informatics is an emerging specialization in the health care industry that combines expertise in health care, information technology, and communications. The growth of healthcare in the economy has created an infusion of technology and has generated the need for information specialists specifically knowledgeable about various medical and health care issues as well as emerging technical solutions that can help improve health care delivery and health decision making. As electronic health records and advanced clinical and patient management systems become the norm, the need for skilled and trained professionals (Health Care Informaticists ) will increase."

To simplify the previous information it can be stated that Healthcare Informatics is anything concerning the organization or simplification of the path that information takes in any healthcare providing organization. The more swiftly and simply that information flows through a healthcare organization the easier it is for the healthcare provider to provide the help that their patients require. As technology is increasing in every aspect of life, it is also increasing rapidly in healthcare organizations. The primary concern of any healthcare provider should be to help their patients, and healthcare informatics exists not only for information to be more easily located and accessed for the healthcare provider, but to simplify and shorten the time it takes for a patient to receive the care that they require.

The Health Informatics wikispace gives many applications of healthcare informatics under the "aspects of the field" section of the page. These are listed as follows
"* architectures for electronic medical records and other health information systems used for billing, scheduling or research * decision support systems in healthcare, including clinical decision support systems
  • standards (e.g. DICOM, HL7) and integration profiles (e.g. Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise) to facilitate the exchange of information between healthcare information systems - these specifically define the means to exchange data, not the content
  • controlled medical vocabularies (CMVs) such as the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine, Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT), Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC), OpenGALEN Common Reference Model or the highly complex UMLS - used to allow a standard, accurate exchange of data content between systems and providers
  • use of hand-held or portable devices to assist providers with data entry/retrieval or medical decision-making"

Web Resources:
Further Definitions of Health Informatics
Health Informatics Wikispace

Related Terminology:
health informatics
medical informatics
nursing informatics
LIS4930 Course Syllabus
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