The 20th-century authors wrote massively about nanotechnology and the utilization of microscopic machines to perform delicate tasks. These fictional accounts talked about nanorobots engaging in functions such as eye surgery. But the 21st-century people have watched the actual creation of this technology. Similarly, the health industry depended upon paper-based information storage and propagation system. But information technology has now replaced this system with electronic record-keeping. You might’ve heard of EHR – the poster child of health informatics – or the electronic health record. Many other examples show the gradual normalization of IT in modern healthcare.
Changes brought by health informatics
The applications of health informatics have improved medical science by making the identification of diseases easier. A popular example is neuro-mapping, which helps doctors distinguish different human brain sections and understand how it communicates. But a more relevant example would be that of voice dictation that has erased the need to enter medical information manually. Artificial intelligence combined with voice recognition has made it possible for a doctor to transcribe his/her medical notes digitally. It enables healthcare providers to spend more time with patients. And this isn’t even the most critical advantage of bringing health informatics into the healthcare industry.
- Increased Knowledge and Reduced Expenditures
Humans are incapable of continuously monitoring a patient. But machines can perform such regular inspections effectively. Doctors depend on these machines to evaluate the influence of a certain medication on patients. Then they can either change the drug or propose an alternative dosage. A 2017 study revealed that medical errors cost the United States $136 billion every year. However, automated data entry procedures reduce the health cost and unwanted expenditures without compromising the quality of care.
Because of this, the demand for health informatics is growing day by day. Students looking for a bright career can pursue masters in health informatics degree that help them realize how technology improves patient outcomes and reduces overall cost.
Electronic health records have reduced the need to repeat a particular patient’s analysis. Now people only require completing shorter and digital forms, rendering the paperwork almost obsolete. Now manual searching of data will become a thing of the past. And patients won’t need to worry anymore about forgetting their former physician’s name. The medical staff will have quick access to a patient’s medical history when that person has relocated.
3. Enhanced Public Health
Automation will create better awareness about and manage public health diseases and disorders that affect the general populace. Information technology can help designing strategies to combat pandemics such as coronavirus in the 21st century. Programs such as an online MPH allow service-oriented professionals to contribute to the betterment of public health. Now doctors can also develop procedures for future generations to determine the most effective treatment.
4. Patient Confidentiality
This increased information regarding patients does raise some security concerns. That’s why medical professionals are seeking methods of data encryption using blockchain technology. This technique has decreased risks of data breaches, increased transparency, and improved traceability. Now the healthcare experts can safely store a patient’s history medically without undermining that person’s privacy.
5. Distant Diagnosis
The emergence of COVID-19 reawakened people’s interest in telehealth and telemedicine. Now patients living in remote locations can easily access high-quality healthcare facilities. Doctors can diagnose a person without any risk of disease transmission through physical contact.
6. Easy Appointments
The futuristic model of medical facilities doesn’t include patients gathered in a waiting room anticipating their turn. Online appointments will reduce the need for waiting lines. It’ll improve the overall medical environment and enhance the patients’ experience at the doctor’s.
7. Fewer Beds Tomorrow
What if we tell you that future hospitals will have fewer beds? Health informatics is shifting our primary focus from treating the diseased to ensuring that the healthy never get infected. That’s why future generations will rarely require hospitalization, thereby fewer beds in a clinic.
8. Empowering Patients
Electronic access to medical records is also available to that patient. Handling their health history enables people to take care of their fitness and empowers patients to become medically cautious. They can now keep track of their medications and symptoms, enhancing patients’ contribution to their healthcare. The CHESS program allows patients suffering from a life-threatening disease to find easy resources in their vicinity. That’s how health informatics improves people’s life quality.
9. Track Yourself
Health informatics has also quickened the invention of self-tracking mobile applications. These apps allow laypeople to monitor their weight, heartbeat, steps walked, sleep cycle, and exercise routine. So, healthy people can now watch out for any potential symptom of a chronic ailment.
10. Improves Efficiency
Going paperless enhances the overall efficiency of the healthcare industry. People don’t need to swim through the stacks of paper to locate a certain piece of information. EHR has made record-keeping easily-accessible and quickly-available. Improved productivity brings better outcomes with automation and allows doctors to concentrate more on patients. That’s how health informatics empowers the medical staff to make better diagnoses with a lessened chance of errors/mistakes.
11. Virtual Surgery
Though it may seem like science fiction, virtual surgery does happen. Haptic technology allows surgeons to experiment without risking a patient’s life. VR simulators have potentially futurized traditional surgical education. It’ll also enhance the efficiency of a surgeon’s marksmanship.
The miracles of information technology are visible throughout all modern institutions. The world’s rapid transition to digital record-keeping methods will continue expanding this profession since most healthcare facilities rely on cloud-based storage options. The introduction of digital elements to our medical centers has revolutionized the rapidity and efficiency of patient care. No wonder experts have dubbed health informatics as a sort of “cultural renaissance” in the field of medicine. It enables doctors and nurses to communicate more freely and confidently with their patients.