How Does Health Informatics Impact Healthcare Professionals?

With the “graying of America” as “Baby Boomers” reach retirement age, the increased demand for health personnel will lead to many discussions of the IMPACT OF HEALTH INFORMATICS ON HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS. As more people enter medical professions, more education is needed than ever before to cope with new treatment protocols and new technology in the medical field. Health Informatics is a necessary adaptation to “connect the dots” in an ever-morphing healthcare profession.

What is Healthcare Informatics?”

According to the website “,” healthcare informatics is “the study, invention and implementation of structures and algorithms to improve communication, understanding and management of medical information.” That is a formal way of saying that it is a technological system which helps healthcare professionals see “the big picture” in delivering health services. The advent of the computer age changed the way hospitals and clinics coded and billed medical conditions. It also changed the manner in which physician’s notes are logged. The hand-held blood pressure cuff gave place to a mechanical device and nurses no longer stick a glass thermometer under their patients’ tongues. Health informatics goes beyond those “primitive” changes however and makes the healthcare delivery service one huge team of professionals.

How Does Healthcare Informatics Affect the People who Deliver Healthcare Services?

First, think of the nurse, or the nurse-aide, who travels the hospital hall in an endless round of “taking vitals.” The professional goes from room to room taking and recording blood pressures, heart rhythms and oxygen saturation levels, sometimes on patients who really do not have a need for such careful monitoring. New technologies in healthcare informatics resulted in automatic monitoring of these functions which alerts the professional only when there is a concern. Doctors upload contact patient notes into the information system without the risk of misinterpretation by others of illegible handwriting. Diagnoses can be made with a full understanding of patient history through accessing the digital records. Specialists can telemetrically consult with physicians while a bedside professional probes the patient and moves the video camera to allow the specialist a better view. Pharmacists deliver prescriptions with less risk of mistakes and with complete information about a patient’s allergies and other medications. Digital information even makes billing more accurate and reduces duplicate charges.

How Are Healthcare Professionals Adapting to the Changes?

Medical professionals need to be more educated than ever. Patients now can access their own medical information online, and that requires doctors and nurses to interpret the information for the patient. In addition, according to “health affairs .org” the use of information systems has spawned new professions. There are now degree specialties for “Clinical Librarians,” for instance, who are trained to manage the huge amount of patient information in the systems. “Telemetric Presenters,” the professionals, who attend the patient during a telemetric specialist consultation, must be trained not only in anatomy and biology, but in technology. There are other new professions as well, and the traditional nurse and doctor roles have changed so much that information technology even changes the courses medical students must take in school.

The relatively new field of informatics comes with some problems, but they will be resolved as we learn to integrate technology and understand the IMPACT OF HEALTH INFORMATICS ON HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS.
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