Be the change you want to see in the world.
—— By Mahatma Gandi
Before I started at the Master’s Programme in Health Informatics at KI, one of my friends asked me what change I could bring to society by studying health informatics. Since my background was computer science, why did I choose to study health informatics in particular? Back then I had insufficient knowledge of the field to come up with a concise answer.
One and half years later, after completing most of the programme, I know more about health informatics. In my previous blog, I wrote about health informatics jobs in the future. But in this blog, I want to describe how health informaticians contribute to medicine and health care.
According to Dr. Rob Procter from University of Warwick, The definition of health informatics is “The interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services delivery, management and planning”.
The main goals of health informatics is to provide a cost effective and efficient healthcare. Let me describe to you how this happens.
- In the USA, it has been show the adoption of health informatics in the inpatient and outpatient care cost can save ten billion dollars per year. This will reduce the burden on both patients and insurance companies.
- Health IT or mHealth tools store the patient data in clouds which can be accessible any time, so the doctor can come back to any time point of patient history. This reduces the stress of having to remember everything by doctor or maintaining a bunch of papers for each patient. When it comes to reminders, computers are less error prone than humans.
- Alerts or reminders provided by mHealth tools are extremely useful to remind caregivers or patients or patient’s relatives that it’s time for a patient to take medication. It reduces the complications such as mixing one medication with another or forgetting medication intake.
- Every year, nearly 1.5 million patients are suffering or dying from the medication errors. Currently the health care provider’s top mission is to mitigate these errors. The use of IT like “drug-dispensing robots and automatic dispensing cabinets,” along with pharmacist oversight, can lead to the reduction of medication errors. This technology can come in the form of computerized physician order entry, automated dispensing and electronic medication reconciliation.
- The healthcare providers have been converting paper health records to electronic health records (in most of West countries). Information in Electronic health records (EHRs) can be accessed faster and used to collate data for better analysis than paper records. Also, with a more complete health records at patient’s disposal, providers improve their ability to make intelligent treatment decisions quickly and safely.
Please go through the below link for more information if you are in interested to pursue a Master in Health informatics at KI.