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Exploring Healthcare Informatics: Evolution, Challenges, and Solutions

Exploring Healthcare Informatics: Evolution, Challenges, and Solutions

Healthcare informatics is a discipline at the intersection of computer science, health care and information science. It deals with the devices, resources, and techniques needed to improve information acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use in health and biomedicine. Healthcare informatics tools include computers, information and communication systems, clinical guidelines and formal medical terminologies. These tools have been applied in different fields. For instance, they have been applied in clinical care, nursing, public health, dentistry, pharmacy and many other fields.

We have several factors that have led to the evolution of healthcare informatics. For example, the introduction of computers led to a large increase in the amount of clinical data, unlike when it was paper-based. It has made it safe and easier the maintenance of clinical data. It is because if certain data are urgently required, they can be easily retrieved. Computers have made it easier since the time consumed to get certain information will be less than written data. There is much time spent in recovering the written data, which could be safer since they might be tampered with in recovering them. Computers have enhanced the evolution of healthcare informatics.

The other factor that has contributed to the evolution of healthcare informatics is the information and communication systems. The means of communication that have been in use have made everything easier in all fields. For example, the Internet and the World Wide Web have advanced communication. It is because we have a system known as telemedicine, the internet-utilizing system. It is whereby physicians can diagnose and regularly treat patients at a distance. It has led to the development of health informatics since patients can be treated at a distance. It is an advantage to the patients since they will not have to walk to look for the services required. For instance, cancer patients need not go to other countries to be diagnosed. It is because it can be done through the help of this system of communication. These systems have made retrieving certain information needed in a certain field of clinical data easier.

We also have formal medical terminologies that have led to the evolution of healthcare informatics. It has helped me acquire medical information and increased my knowledge and understanding of any healthcare field. Information can be obtained from different sites. For example, internet use has made it easier to understand those terminologies. It has helped physicians understand different terminologies used in their field. For instance, we have biomedical informatics, which is referred to as the interdisciplinary field surrounding computer and information sciences, telecommunications cognitive and decision-making sciences, business management, education sciences, medicine and epidemiology, and partnership with many other fields. Concisely, biomedical informatics can be explained as the intersection of healthcare, people and technology, having implicit objectives of developing the value and safety of the world healthcare systems while minimizing expenses.

The clinical guideline is another factor that has led to the evolution of healthcare informatics. A clinical guideline is a document to direct decisions and principles regarding management, diagnosis and treatment in certain areas of healthcare. The use of modern medical guidelines, which have been based on examining existing evidence, has helped in knowing the individuals’ medical profession. A clinical guideline has helped much in the treatment process. It is because it is an international principle formed by government bodies guiding what should be done. It has enhanced the development of healthcare informatics.

There are several reasons why a uniform system with interoperable capabilities has yet to be achieved. We have security threats and solutions distributed as a hindrance. Because healthcare deals with sensitive individuals’ and medical data, such systems need developed data safety measures. Professionals might find it hard to share healthcare information since security threatens many locations. The other reason is clinical guidelines. It shows that every country has its own clinical guideline, which guides the diagnosis, management and treatment of certain areas in healthcare. It makes it impossible for interoperable capabilities of different healthcare organizations across the continuum and in any location.

Poor leadership and governance are also other problems hindering uniform systems with interoperable healthcare capabilities. It is because many countries need better leadership and governance. For instance, we have a country like South Sudan, where there is no peace. Many people are fleeing to neighboring countries in search of peace. It is a great problem for that country since healthcare services are limited because of the war. It also becomes a problem for other countries which are experiencing war. If medical services are found in those countries experiencing war, it becomes hard to access them because of the absence of peace. If countries have good leadership and governance, interoperable capabilities can be easily achieved.
Lack of knowledge and stakeholders’ education is also a problem in the interoperable capabilities in healthcare. Stakeholders need to understand that safety and privacy are important to exchange components. Lack of this knowledge with stakeholders will hinder them from uniform systems with interoperable capabilities.

The other factor is the need for inter-state projects and cross-state programs. Many countries still need to establish inter-state projects, which will help enhance interaction across the continuum and other locations. Many countries have not established inter-state projects because of poor governance and leadership.

Potential internal and external health informatics is the guideline and technical hindrance that affects and restrains internet use among decision-making concerning the internet. Some of these factors need more security of the clinical data. For instance, when using the internet to send or acquire information, it might be tampered with since it is exposed. It is a threat to the healthcare organization since there needs to be more security for the data required. There have been many cases of distorted information due to the lack of data security.

The use of health informatics has denied many health organizations confidence in using new technologies. It is because some techniques used in gathering clinical data need more confidence. Many health organizations have not embraced the new health informatics since they have no confidence. Health informatics has affected the economy since many industries that produce medicines have not yet been able to use the new technology. The knowledge needed to work with the new technology has yet to be acquired. It has lowered the services provided in different countries, thus lowering the economy.

Health organizations in developed countries have been doing well in giving out their services, unlike those in undeveloped countries. It has led to competition in many health organizations. This competition among health organizations has positively and negatively affected their services. Leaders can encourage inter-state programs to enhance interaction among healthcare organizations. Through it, much knowledge will be acquired in handling healthcare informatics.

📎 References
1. Brent, L. (2004). Healthcare Informatics: Skills-Based Resource. New York Publisher.
2. Shortliffe, E., & Cimino, J. (2006). Biomedical Informatics. American Association Journal.
3. Debbie, T., et al. (2008). Emerging Field of Informatics. NC Medical Journal.