How Does Health Informatics Impact Patients?

If you’re contemplating career options in healthcare, you may be wondering how does health informatics impact patients? A relatively new area in the healthcare field, health informatics is an area you might wish to pursue if you’ve got an aptitude for technology and want to find a way to use those skills to serve people in need.

What is Health Informatics?

Health Informatics is a discipline that involves health information and technology. While gathering information about both patients and illness has been an important part of healthcare for a long time, for many years such information gathering was done manually. Computers have altered the landscape of much of contemporary life, and healthcare information and delivery is no exception. Computers are now used to gather, compile and interpret data regarding patients and illnesses. Those who study and engage in health informatics work at the intersection of healthcare and technology.

Can Working in Health Informatics Really Help Me Help People?

When we think of healthcare, we often think of people on the frontlines: doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants and technicians. While all of those caregivers are important, support personnel can also be important, and with the changing shape of healthcare delivery, excellent information technology has become essential. You can definitely have an impact on actual patients when working in the health informatics field, which encompasses all areas of medicine, including nursing, occupational therapy, public health, pharmacy, clinical care and more.

Consider that accurate recording and careful interpretation of data can help healthcare workers and policy makers to note problems in the current healthcare system, find places where healthcare delivery is not cost effective and also locate areas where patients are not receiving equitable access to care. All of these affect patients in important ways. Health informatics also involves the gathering and interpretation of clinical data which can give healthcare workers insights into overall health trends and concerns. Computer models have been developed to help in the assessments of patient health, and how certain factors affect patient care and well-being. Other areas in the health informatics field are still emerging, like how the use of social media might help patients as they become more proactive about their own health and connect with others struggling with similar issues.

A Far Ranging Field

The more than 4,000 members of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) work in a variety of healthcare related fields. They are clinicians, educators, researchers, scientists, librarians, consultants and policy makers. They use their findings to help real patients with real problems, to assess community health trends and issues and to see how changing healthcare issues affect policies and healthcare delivery. In whatever field of health informatics you may end up working, the point of the emphasis on information is that real people will use and rely on that information in important ways. When you ask the question “how does health informatics impact patients?” bear that in mind and be encouraged by the far-reaching effects of the field.