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7 Ways Health Informatics Transforms Health Care

7 Ways Health Informatics Transforms Health Care | Healthcare and Technology news |

It is amazing how technology intertwines with the health sector. Just a few years ago, nobody could predict how the development of technology would drive health care innovation.  Now we see that nearly everything in the health care industry derives from these transformations. Health informatics, for example, has had a significant impact on the management, handling, and storage of health care information. It is on the forefront of enabling ease in communication and coordination of activities within health facilities.

Below are some of the reasons to celebrate the impact health informatics has had on health care.

1. Health informatics improve coordination

If you have been to a healthcare facility recently, you probably know that specializations in the medical profession have increased significantly. This increase led to a rise in departmental divisions within hospitals, including telemedicine solution providers. These divisions require record-keeping that is coordinated across departments and easy to update.  Indeed, without health informatics hospitals would be in total chaos. You can imagine what would happen if, for example, you arrived in an X-ray room rather than the referred maternity ward!  Health informatics, through a channel of organized electronic facilities, allows easy transfer of patient information from one department to another for better communication and minimal error.

2. Health informatics is cost effective

Lack of coordination and resulting delays waste a lot of money.  Research has shown that hospitals spend significant amounts dealing with recurring procedures and errors due to inadequate information-sharing. A proper health informatics system minimizes such mishaps. This is because effective communication gives health care facilities the ability to carry out operations between departments without error.  The fact that the communication is electronic also eliminates delays in relaying updates between departments.  Therefore, health informatics systems decrease unnecessary spending.

3. Health informatics enables population health management

Consistency in keeping health records enables health professionals to analyze and compare common diseases that affect the general population. It also helps medical providers keep track of these illnesses and carefully design strategies to counter potential epidemics. Furthermore, the consistency achieved through health informatics makes it easier to carry out an evaluation of patients with common conditions and thus determine what treatment is most effective for the present, as well as develop procedures for the future.

4. Health informatics increases patient involvement

Through health informatics, patients have electronic access their health records. Electronic records give patients a chance to be more informed of their conditions and consider their health matters more seriously. They also allow patients to be more vigilant about the dos and don’ts regarding their treatment. Patients can interact with health practitioners through online portals, and specialists can have quick one-on-one consultations with a patient, even when the patient cannot be present at the health facility.

5. Health informatics improves efficiency

Improved efficiency is the key achievement of health informatics.  With hard-copy records, you have to wade through piles of paper files to trace records entered only a few days ago.  Using electronic systems to record and store data has proven to be the best way to keep high-quality authentic records that are easily accessible and useful far into the future.  And they definitely take up less space!  Similarly, automation of some activities empowers health professionals to make easier diagnoses and reduces fatigue from repetitive tasks. This allows doctors and nurses more productive time with their patients, resulting in better care.

6. Health informatics increases medical knowledge

Health informatics enables health care providers to gain knowledge systematically through continuously monitoring patients. For example, doctors can use electronic records to evaluate the effectiveness of certain drugs on some diseases and even individuals. This means they can more easily design the best treatment plans after considering a given sample of patients.  Then they can share the results of their analysis and treatment with the other health care providers in their system, facilitating innovations in health care.

7. Health informatics expands the margin of care

Because health informatics uses information about the patient’s medical history stored electronically, it is easy for a new doctor or nurse to understand the patient’s condition quickly. Such records are accurate and up-to-date — updated every time the patient visits the facility. This extends the ability to treat a patient effectively to any available medical practitioner, improving the speed and responsiveness of patient care.

There is no doubt about it, health informatics is steering a revolution that will see systematic improvement in the efficiency and reliability of care that health professionals are able to provide for their patients.

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Patient Engagement May Reduce Healthcare Reform Anxiety |

Patient Engagement May Reduce Healthcare Reform Anxiety | | Healthcare and Technology news |
How can greater adoption of patient engagement tools help to alleviate uncertainty about the future of healthcare reform?

Adopting more robust patient engagement technologies may help providers and patients alike find their way out of pervasive anxieties about the future of the healthcare industry – if physicians can lead the way.  According to a survey performed by Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos Public Affairs, few industry stakeholders are satisfied with the way healthcare is headed, but believe that preventative care, backed by patient engagement technologies, mobile apps, and care coordination, may help them find the way forward through a complicated maze of financial and administrative changes.

“Physicians, especially the older ones and the specialists, have to move into a whole new world, and they are concerned that it’s making their life a lot more complicated than it used to be,” said Nicolas Boyon, Senior Vice President at Ipsos Public Affairs, in an interview with HealthITAnalytics.  “It is partly generational.  The average age of practicing physicians in the US is actually slightly over 50, and specialists tend to be even older.  A lot of physicians started practicing when the world was very different.  They view their role, first and foremost, as caring for patients, and technology was not necessarily what they specialized in or learned a lot about in medical school.”

“It’s curious to see the level of anxiety out there,” added Grant McLaughlin, Vice President at Booz Allen.  “When you look at behavior change, anxiety is often lessened when there is a path.  We’re in a time of uncertainty as Affordable Care Act is being rolled out and new care models are being tested.  We may not necessarily have an endpoint clearly in view, and I think that causes anxiety.”

While physicians do not generally believe that current mobile apps and other patient engagement products are up to the challenge of providing valuable and medically sound information and tools to the patient population, there is a widespread interest in such technologies among consumers.  Patients are seeking a higher degree of convenience, more control over their own health, and more efficient ways to stay connected with their providers, conduct administrative tasks, and review their own health data, the survey revealed.

“Once you actually find an app that you can use, and you use it every day to help you do something, and you find the value in it, then it has become invaluable to you.  You absolutely cannot live without it,” McLaughlin said.  “That’s what we’re struggling with.  We’re seeing lots of technological inventions, but how do we add value in the context between the consumer and the provider?  If we can get to the crux of how to make the conversation between consumers and providers more valuable, and if technology can enable that, then I think we’ve struck gold.”

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