With so many advances in technology, it isn’t surprising that healthcare IT has revolutionized the healthcare industry. Healthcare information technology supports the maintenance and management of health information in electronic formats, enabling doctors and healthcare professionals to have immediate access to their patients’ medical information.
Technology has given a boost to the field of health informatics, which is a combination of healthcare, information technology and business. Several top universities now offer dedicated healthcare IT certification. Among these schools, the Online Masters of Health Informatics Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) did a comprehensive study of how information technology is influencing the healthcare industry. Some of the points from the study are highlighted below.
The Shift to Healthcare IT
- Healthcare informatics enables high quality and error-free care in efficient and effective ways. One of the main uses is ease of access of important information for professionals situated even in remote locations.
- Electronic health records provide safer and more reliable prescriptions. They also help in legible and complete documentation of patients’ medical history.
- It is easier to track warnings of unforeseen drug interactions with connected healthcare IT systems as well as improve decision support.
What Do Health Informatics Professionals Do?
- The promise of health informatics professionals is to maintain patient confidentiality. With this in place, healthcare informatics professionals develop and maintain systems to capture, store and organize patients’ medical and peripheral data.
- Healthcare IT professionals are also tasked to ensure that patient records are complete, accurate and easily accessible to the right medical professionals.
- They are trained to troubleshoot and improve all technologies that are necessary for healthcare and healthcare IT.
Primary Areas of Healthcare Informatics
Ancillary disciplines of healthcare informatics include but are not limited to nursing informatics, medical and pharmacy informatics, clinical informatics, bioinformatics, public health informatics, and health related information technology and management.
Benefits of Healthcare Informatics to Healthcare Professionals
- Financial Benefits: It is estimated that about 50% of healthcare finances are wasted due to inefficient processes. Studies have shown that the financial benefits of implementing healthcare IT for electronic records of large hospitals in the US has been between $37M and $59M in a period of five years.
- Lower Cases of Malpractice Claims: A study of 189 Massachusetts medical practices indicated that the number of malpractice claims dropped from 49 to 2 after starting the use of electronic health records.
- Faster Lab Results: Over 75% of laboratory clinicians claimed that using electronic health records allowed them to receive lab results faster than through the conventional method.
- Faster Turnaround: Facilities using healthcare IT systems are able to fully audit patient records in 1.4 hours as compared to 3.9 hours through paper auditing systems.
- Time Savings: Over 82% healthcare professionals reported that electronic prescriptions save time and reduce efforts.
Benefits of Healthcare IT for Patients
- Ease of Access: Revolutionizing healthcare IT has enabled patients to have direct access to their personal health records. This helps patients in being informed and involved in their healthcare. Additionally, healthcare informatics systems help patients manage their own care better.
- More Preferable than Paper Logs: Type 1 diabetes patients are required to maintain a log of their glucose and insulin levels. 34% of these patients find it more preferable to use electronics logs in place of paper logs, and over 60% found it more interactive and fun to use.
Healthcare IT is making large strides in the medical and peripheral industries, and is bound to expand further. Use this beneficial tool for communicating better with your doctor, keeping a track of your health and medical progress, and improving your overall quality of life.