Why is Health Informatics Important?

The Importance of Health Informatics

Health care has been a constant topic of discussion in recent years, and health informatics has played an important role in trying to ensure everyone is provided with the best possible quality of health care. A big step was taken with the Affordable Care Act, which requires health care professionals to integrate healthcare with information technology by using electronic health records (EHR) and a combined healthcare infrastructure. Health informatics can be found in every area of health care, including clinical, administrative and economic. Health informatics is important for many reasons.

Patient Knowledge

If you've ever left the doctor's office not knowing or forgetting a lot of what took place, you're not alone. Patients who have electronic access to their health records are aware of what was done as well as what prescriptions they may have to take. Most of the healthcare portals also offer patient support and various resources where the patient can learn more about healthy living. The patient can also communicate with their physician and nurse through this portal. Patient access is also very important to family members because it provides the health information they want and that the patient may have forgotten. When a patient can access his or her own health recommendations and history, the patient may be more inclined to take health issues more seriously.

Shared Knowledge

The old saying "knowledge is power" has never been truer than with EHRs and health informatics. EHRs allow the physicians to share their important patient information, including illnesses, medications, therapies, diagnosis, tests and any other pertinent information. Being able to share this medical knowledge saves not just time buy money as well. It also helps physicians provide better care, quicker care and spend more time with patients. Health informatics allows important health information to be shared throughout the chain of care, from the patient right to health administrator and pharmacist.

Better Outcomes Overall

A better overall outcome is probably the most important reason why health informatics is so important. EHRs help doctors provide safer, cheaper and higher quality care. Because coordinated care teams all have access to the same information, they're able to work more efficiently, make a better diagnosis and fewer errors. It also eliminates a lot of manual jobs, which saves an additional amount of time in clinics, hospitals and even for the patient. Health informatics just provides a better overall outcome for everyone involved.

Decrease in Costs

One of the biggest complaints from patients and even healthcare providers is that healthcare is expensive and even wasteful at times. A lot of money is spent on repeat procedures when multiple doctors are seeing a patient and are unaware of procedures that have already been done. Some patients are unaware of what tests they're receiving or why. They trust their doctor to make the right choices and do what they're asked. Lab tests are also done repeatedly by multiple doctors. With EHRs and a connected infrastructure, medical professionals can access the patient's medical records online and become instantly aware of what procedures the patient has had done as well as any comments or diagnosis that may have been made on the patient. This can save thousands of dollars for the patient, the insurance company and the healthcare providers.

Related Resource: The 25 Best Master's in Public Administration Online

Healthcare informatics is a vast and rapidly growing field that encompasses many areas of the healthcare industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that health occupations should experience a job growth of 18% from 2016-2026. About 2.4 million new jobs will be created by 2026, making this a great field in which to pursue.