The field of healthcare is evergrowing due to advancements in technology. There is a growing demand for health professionals who can organize, digitalize, and analyze patient information. Are you looking to advance your career and wondering what is health informatics? Please read this blog to understand healthcare informatics in nursing, its role, types, skills required, and examples.
What exactly is health informatics?
Health informatics involves the application of computer science, information science, and technology to healthcare to improve patient care. It uses health information systems to store, collect, retrieve, utilize, and analyze healthcare data and information. Professionals use artificial intelligence and big data created after digitalizing healthcare systems to enhance patient care.
Health informatics in nursing assess, design, and develop ways to standardize, share, integrate, and collect health data and information systems used to manage it. Healthcare informatics provides electronic access to doctors, patients, hospital administrators, health information technicians, nurses, and insurance companies to obtain medical records.
What does a health informatics do?
The role of health informatics specialists is project management, analysis, implementation, and consultation. Healthcare informatics perform a variety of responsibilities related to the application and use of technology. Their responsibilities include;
- Collecting and assessing data by interviewing healthcare practitioners and patients
- Maintain, communicate, and translate new data to improve outcome
- Installing technology that supports healthcare data integration, collection, sharing, and standardization.
- Researching technology and computation systems
- Design and organize agreement built on evidence
- Analyzing and assessing technology performance to spot areas for improvement
- They develop more efficient processes, computer networks, media databases, and the internet.
- Maintain records, documented processes, and prepared reports
- Training healthcare staff on electronic health records
What are examples of health informatics?
Examples of informatics in healthcare are Electronic Medical Records (EMR), patient portals, healthcare apps, telehealth, and data reporting tools. Other health informatics examples in nursing will explore in the field below;
- Predictive analytics
Predictive analytics investigate data to discover signs of diagnosis, standard systems, and workflow. An example is research where an artificial intelligence algorithm analyzed children’s speech patterns. This technology will help health practitioners improve their healthcare decision.
- Voice detection
Health informatics is advancing voice recognition to write medical orders and healthcare providers’ technical notes in real time. Voice detection will reduce the time spent on data entry and increase the time spent interacting with patients. However, voice detection requires proofreading to correct time-consuming errors.
Professionals should develop a voice recognition solution that is time coherent and accurate.
- Syndromic surveillance
Using Electronic Health Records (EHR) and predictive analysis, real-time surveillance can point out adverse effects. Clinical support tools can apply real-time analyzed management to alert healthcare practitioners to take instant actions. This tool will enhance customized care, improve public health, reduce human error, and reduce costs and complications.
- EHR alert optimization
Instant alerts can improve care by informing healthcare providers about drug interactions, overdue lab tests, screening, prescription medication, chronic disease management, admission, discharge, etc. Informatics is working on limiting the number of EHR alerts to make them more beneficial.
- Clinical image capture
When a patient goes through X-ray, CAT scan, or MRI retrieving or storing images can be challenging. Each photograph will be saved in separate locations, have a distinct function, and must be accessible to the right patient. Informatics is trying to look into all these factors to develop an imaging system that captures and shares any image in an easily-available and secure file.
Health informatics will combine Image data with predictive analytics to acquire patterns that can improve diagnosis.
- Shift to the cloud
Cloud computing is essential because updates are automatic, and users can obtain them anywhere, providing an internet connection that can save on cost. Health informatics should establish and monitor cloud systems for correct data output/input, security, and connectivity since cloud computing is imperfect.
- Secure texting
Patient portals have helped patients access their records, lab results, and prescriptions and as a communication channel to the provider. Providers are thinking of other ways to inform the patients through secure text to minimize time.
What are 3 skills in health informatics?
As health informatics, you must be flexible to fit into various roles, depending on your employer’s requirements. The following skills are essential in health informatics;
- Communication skills
Health informatics should have good communication skills to listen to the needs of end users, ask questions, and communicate findings. They should communicate with other IT professionals, administration, management, and care providers.
- Technical skills
Health informatics should have technical skills in frameworks, technologies, and analytic tools with programming skills such as SQR, R, and Python. They should also learn data visualization since it enhances communication with other stakeholders.
- Regulatory understanding
Health informatics should understand laws and regulations that apply to Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Understanding regulations will help a professional to be confident in their system.
What are 5 skills needed in health informatics?
The following skills support creativity, productivity, and collaboration in health informatics;
- Analytical skills
Health informatics work with complex data sets requiring a technical understanding of trends and decision-making patterns. They use their analytical thinking skills to analyze the insurance claim data or electronic medical records and describe the results to stakeholders.
- Problem-solving skills
Problem-solving skills are essential for health informatics, who use operational and clinical data to develop solutions related to healthcare. They also evaluate results, check trends, and make informed decisions based on the findings.
- Organization skills
Healthcare practitioners deal with large projects that influence healthcare providers, patients, and healthcare systems which require organization skills. They should respect all regulations and ensure the privacy of patient data.
- Curiosity and drive
Health informatics work in a diverse healthcare setting requires curiosity and drive to learn new health information technology in nursing as it evolves rapidly. To succeed in all healthcare settings, you need to know new clinical information tools and systems, self-study, and professional development.
Health informatics must follow medical ethics since they deal with confidential patient data and other healthcare information. They should also be ethical when advocating for healthcare policy and patient care from the analyzed data.
Nursing vs. health informatics
Health informatics incorporates information science, computer science, and healthcare sciences to help manage healthcare data and information. It involves many careers, roles, and data usage feature to boost healthcare. An MSHI (Masters of Science in Health Informatics) primarily utilizes data to facilitate operations on organizational and managerial parts of healthcare.
Nursing informatics incorporates information science, computer science, and nursing to communicate and manage knowledge, information, and data in nursing practice. An MSN utilizes technology to advance nursing practices and boost patient care. Nursing informatics entails the way nurses use technology to facilitate patient care.
Health informatics and nursing informatics differ in their roles. MSHI aims to enhance patient outcomes, manage and analyze health database, while MSN (Masters of Science in Nursing) boosts clinical practices and enhance communication between patients and caregivers. Health informatics and nurse informatics also differ in certification. Nursing informatics requires American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
MSN informatics already should have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, but their career path differs from MSHI graduates. There are few nursing specialties since nursing informatics is a health informatics specialist.
Types of health informatics
Health informatics, also known as healthcare informatics, is a broad field with different subspecialties as follows;
- Public Health informatics
Public health informatics uses information technology to track health records, conduct public health research, and control challenges with data-driven conclusions. It focuses on data science and preventative wellness to safeguard the whole community.
- Clinical informatics
Clinical informatics focuses on using and managing EHRs in the clinical setting. Nurses, physicians, physical therapists, and other caregivers use clinical informatics to access important information to begin a care plan. Clinical informatics assist clinicians in retrieving data, analyzing medical images or data, and helping caregivers use and view data.
Bioinformatics applies data science and artificial intelligence to search for novel cures for diseases. It uses biological data to solve problems in pharmacology, genomics, and proteomics. Bioinformatics is behind the growth of mRNA vaccines and processing data from biological experiments.
- Nursing informatics
Nursing informatics incorporates nursing science with other analytic and information sciences to communicate, identify, and manage data, knowledge, and information in nursing practice. Most healthcare facilities have their patient records online, which the nursing team handles. Nursing informatics covers the following topics;
- Health data visualization and analytics
- Clinical documentation and decision making
- Social-technical systems adoption, design, and implementation
- Population health and order entry systems
- Visual imaging
The healthcare setting is evolving from written patient records to electronic ones and integrating new technologies to manage patient data easily. Health informatics uses artificial intelligence and big data created after digitalizing healthcare systems to enhance patient care. Read this post to understand what is health informatics and decide the best career path.