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IHS Mission & Goals:
Groom Skills,
Gather Evidence and
Generate Knowledge for people's health.

To Improve the Efficacy,
Quality & Equity
of Health Systems.

 

Health Informatics  


 

Introduction

Health informatics is an evolving scientific discipline that deals with the collection, storage, retrieval, communication and optimal use of health related data, information and knowledge. The discipline utilises the methods and technologies of the information sciences for the purposes of problem solving and decision-making thus assuring quality healthcare in all basic and applied areas of biomedical sciences.Health informatics is concerned primarily with the processing of data, information and knowledge in all aspects of healthcare. Health informatics aims to study the principles and provide solutions. The domains of Health informatics are research, academia, operations and commercial and is delivered by operational health practitioners, managers, academics, researchers, educators, scientists and technologists.

 

Use of Health Informatics

Computers in Health Care are well accepted the world over as clinical and diagnostic aids, to improve patient care, tone up administration, facilitate accounting and enable effective management control. An important application has been in hospital management, where computers have been an effective tool for doctors, nursing, administration and management.

 
The major uses of Health Informatics in Health System Management are
 
Informatics application in Hospital Management:

In all over the world the health problems and needs are increasing and becoming more complex. The demands and pressures on the hospitals and health care institutions are also increasing. At the same time the resources are becoming increasingly limited. Achievement of goals, efficiently, effiectively, and economically is the prmary responsibility of all the administrators. This can be achieved through business,medical and technical management systems in hospitals.

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Decision making-Decision support system in health care:

There is a growing trend to apply computers for tasks other than tabulation. The health care providers are inceresingly interested in the feasibility of applying the "expert system technology" to assist in improved health care delivery. The earliest research contribtions in the area of artificial intelligence was a program to simulate expert behaviour in the selection of an antibiotic for an infection. The trend of research in Medical Informatics is increasingly in the area called expert systems/decision support systems.

 
Informatics application in health system management:

The deployment and development of health services has been less influenced by the collection of specific data than by what has been referred to as "Impressionistic Planning" a process wherein information may be minimal and the basis for decision making is intuitive and political, the end results being determined by past experience, popular pressures and rough estimates and guess work. Health professionals tended to cooperate more readily and communicate more freely working and a local level and this promoted the free exchange of health activities and information. At the central level the need to coordinate and control health service development was government largely by the constraints of the resources available. The emphasis, until recent years has been that if there were enough staff, facilities, equipment and finance, the public health and health care services could be expanded and the health status of the population would automatically be improved. In the early 1960s, it became apparent to most health administrators that health expenditure was not infinite and that the emphasis in planning and development must focus on the more effective and efficient use of the limited resources available. When the time came to transmit priorities and proposed programmes into actual operation it soon became evident that there was a serious deficit in relevant information. The major areas in which health service data was lacking or not readily available were health workforce development programming, and the evaluation of service effectiveness and efficiency. Heath managers found they urgently required this information to enable them to initiate and control the progress and outcomes of the programme operation. The establishment of health information unit enable the health organisation to have a single focus for the coordination and collation of any forms and sources of data available within the health systems.

   

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Updated on 20/10/2001 by John Paul Chakalackal

 

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