Healthcare Informatics: Definition

by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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    00:01 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.

    00:15 So, as technology keeps pushing boundaries, it's becoming an increasingly important player in healthcare, with healthcare informatics being the star of the show.

    00:26 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.

    00:42 So, fast forward to now, and we're looking at some pretty advanced tech like interoperable EHR systems, telehealth, and wearable devices.

    00:52 These awesome innovations let us gather and share information smoothly, kind of like messages zipping around in some kind of sci-fi communication network.

    01:01 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, right? So, let's break it down and link it to the healthcare field.

    01:21 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.

    01:34 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.

    02:06 Together, they can do some pretty amazing things!...

    02:09 Among these things we can highlight the most important: Now, first of all, collect and organize patient information.

    02:16 Computers help healthcare professionals keep track of all the important details about their patients, like their medical history, symptoms, and test results.

    02:24 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.

    02:35 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.

    02:45 Next, second on our list, we have "Communicate with other healthcare professionals." So this is what informatics helps us do.

    02:52 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.

    03:02 The next thing informatics can help us with is learning from past experiences.

    03:07 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.

    03:16 See, there is even an application to predict the numbers, type, and skill set of staff that will be needed in different areas based on acuity.

    03:24 All this is information gathered from informatics. This helps us make better choices for future patients.

    03:31 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.

    03:42 Informatics makes it easier to access the latest research and stay informed.

    03:46 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.

    04:03 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.

    04:11 See, it's important for you to clarify these differences because these fields are often mistakenly equated with healthcare informatics.

    04:17 So first, let's start with computer science.

    04:20 Now, this field is all about the creation and use of computer systems and software.

    04:25 So, while computer science concentrates on the development and application of computer systems and software, healthcare informatics applies these technological tools specifically to healthcare.

    04:36 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.

    04:48 Then, we have healthcare management.

    04:50 Now, this discipline centers on the administrative aspects of healthcare organizations.

    04:55 It includes planning, budgeting, and staffing.

    04:58 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.

    05:11 It's at the exciting intersection of healthcare disciplines, technology, and data . And it's working to improve patient care and outcomes.

    05:19 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 top priority.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Healthcare Informatics: Definition by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN is from the course Healthcare Informatics.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Computer science focuses on developing and using computer systems and software, while healthcare informatics applies these tools specifically to improve patient care and outcomes.
    2. Healthcare informatics develops new computer systems and software, whereas computer science involves collecting and organizing client data.
    3. Computer science and healthcare informatics are essentially the same disciplines.
    4. Healthcare informatics focuses on the day-to-day operation of the healthcare organization, while computer science is only concerned with data management.
    5. Computer science involves healthcare data management, while healthcare informatics is a tool used to communicate with other healthcare team members.
    1. Collecting and organizing client information.
    2. Creating new healthcare policies.
    3. Communicating with other healthcare professionals.
    4. Learning from past experiences and making better choices for future clients.
    5. Helping healthcare professionals stay up-to-date with new knowledge.

    Author of lecture Healthcare Informatics: Definition

     Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

    Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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