Hello, I'm Dr. Lawes and I like to welcome you
to our series on healthcare informatics!
In this series, we'll help you get familiar
with the language of informatics in
healthcare and you can see how technology is
gearing up to improve patient outcomes.
So, as technology keeps pushing boundaries,
it's becoming an increasingly important
player in healthcare, with healthcare
informatics being the star of the show.
Now, information has always been the backbone
of healthcare system, but it's changed a lot
over time. A game changer was when
electronic health records (EHRs) came into
play, this totally revamped how we store and
get our healthcare data.
So, fast forward to now, and we're looking at
some pretty advanced tech like interoperable
EHR systems, telehealth, and wearable
These awesome innovations let us gather and
share information smoothly, kind of like
messages zipping around in some kind of
sci-fi communication network.
It might seem like magic, but nope - that's
all thanks to informatics!
So, what exactly is informatics?
Well, the Oxford Dictionary calls it “the
science of processing data for storage and
retrieval”. But, this sounds a bit techy,
So, let's break it down and link it to the
Think of informatics as this handy tool that
helps us keep our info organized and easy to
find. It's like the science of smartly
packing and storing data, so we can pull it
out whenever we need it.
When we mix informatics with healthcare, here
is what the end product could be defined as,
Now hang with me "the science and practice
that blends healthcare, its information, and
knowledge with the management of information
and communication technologies."
Now why do we do this?
We want "to promote the health of people,
families, and communities worldwide."
Or in simpler terms, healthcare informatics
is like a superhero team: the healthcare pros
are the superheroes, and the technology is
their trusty sidekick.
Together, they can do some pretty amazing
Among these things we can highlight the most
Now, first of all, collect and organize
Computers help healthcare professionals keep
track of all the important details about
their patients, like their medical history,
symptoms, and test results.
One primary tool for this is the Electronic
Health Record (EHR) – that's the system we
already mentioned, it's the digital version
of a patient's paper chart.
We’ll talk about EHR in more detail later
during the course, but for now, just know
that it makes it easier for healthcare
professionals to see the big picture and
provide the best care possible.
Next, second on our list, we have
"Communicate with other healthcare
professionals." So this is what informatics
helps us do.
Healthcare professionals often need to work
together, and informatics helps everyone stay
on the same page by making it easy to share
information and to collaborate.
The next thing informatics can help us with
is learning from past experiences.
So, you can use informatics, healthcare
professionals can analyze data from previous
patients. Now, we can learn from that data
what worked well and what didn't.
See, there is even an application to predict
the numbers, type, and skill set of staff
that will be needed in different areas based
All this is information gathered from
informatics. This helps us make better
choices for future patients.
Finally, informatics helps healthcare
professionals stay up to date with new
knowledge. As you know, the world of
healthcare is always changing, and
professionals need to keep learning.
Informatics makes it easier to access the
latest research and stay informed.
It's like having a superpower for providing
the best possible care!
So, in a nutshell, informatics helps
healthcare professionals be the best they can
be by using technology to manage information
and make better decisions.
Now that we have gone through what healthcare
informatics is, it's time to differentiate it
from other disciplines such as computer
science and healthcare management.
See, it's important for you to clarify these
differences because these fields are often
mistakenly equated with healthcare
So first, let's start with computer science.
Now, this field is all about the creation
and use of computer systems and software.
So, while computer science concentrates on
the development and application of computer
systems and software, healthcare informatics
applies these technological tools
specifically to healthcare.
It takes computer science a step further by
integrating it with healthcare management and
different healthcare disciplines, it focuses
on using data and technology to improve
patient care and outcomes.
Then, we have healthcare management.
Now, this discipline centers on the
administrative aspects of healthcare
It includes planning, budgeting, and
You can imagine it as a skilled manager,
ensuring your healthcare unit operates
smoothly. Informatics, however, seamlessly
combines elements of both computer science
and healthcare management.
It's at the exciting intersection of
healthcare disciplines, technology, and data
. And it's working to improve patient care
So, picture it as being the captain of a
ship, charting the course using technology
and data-driven decision-making, with
patient safety and high-quality care as the