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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 Information Infrastructure

 

IHSNET: Indian Health Systems Network

Developing Health Informatics Infrastructure (HII) in India.

 
What is Health Informatics?

Application of information technology to the health and allied sector is called health informatics. Application of information technology to practice of medicine is called medical informatics. Since practice of medicine and health care delivery are very closely inter linked, both terms are used interchangeably, in this paper. However, it will be useful to recognise the subtle difference in emphasis of the two terms. Medical informatics tend to focus on digital interfacing of medical instruments, digital assistance to doctors, clinic management software, computerised patient record, etc. Health informatics tend to emphasise management information systems in health care institutions, electronic health record, electronic data interchange etc. The electronic health record concept is similar to computerised patient record but extends to healthy people as well. Coverage of information technology solutions in the medical and health field under the rubrics of the two terms is converging. The term medical and health informatics is also used synonymously with health or medical informatics. Telemedicine has been defined as the use of telecommunications to provide medical information and services. (Perednia and Allen, 1995). It may be as simple as two health professionals discussing a case over the telephone, or as sophisticated as using satellite technology to broadcast a consultation between facilities in two countries using video conference equipment. Current usage of the term tends to mean the use of sophisticated telecommunication and digital technology. Telehealth is some times used as an umbrella term for the full spectrum of applications using computers and telecommunications for health. Relationship of the two terms, namely telemedicine and telehealth is similar to the case of medical informatics and health informatics.

Continued..

 

Building Health Informatics Infrastructure in India-An Update as
in the Year 2000

 

Integrated computer and telecommunication systems, linked through networks of health care workstations, will be an essential enabling technology infrastructure for the design, implementation, evaluation and dynamic improvement of health care delivery mechanism in the future. These linked systems will have features that amplify the effectiveness of the organisational structures responsible for care. Progress in system development will be evolutionary and incremental, building on the current traditions of medical practice but exploring new opportunities to eliminate waste and inefficiency and increase the satisfaction the stakeholders. Integrated into the delivery process, therefore, will be a management capability, supported by the same enabling computing and telecommunications matrix that will facilitate system improvement by driving a cycle of assessment, action and evaluation, bridging the traditional gap between administration and practitioner and allowing mutual support of shared goals and objectives.

 

The Indian Health Systems Network is a non profit closed user group wide area network and associated health information infrastructure resource in India, developed by the Institute of health Systems (IHS), Hyderabad. Even though it is currently maintained by the Institute of Health Systems the long term objective is to develop an organisational form and separate it from the IHS.

Continued..

 

More details on Health Informatics and their advantages can be had in our working papers on the above mentioned topics.

 

For a copy please write to ihs@ihs.org.in

 

 

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