In previous years, the health industry relied on a paper-based system to organize, store, interpret, and integrate patient records and medical information. However, with the informatics industry booming and allowing for new electronic technology and information systems, clinicians now find this data stored in convenient coded computer systems.
Here are a few ways health informatics keep the patient involved and treated by more informed and ready care providers.
1. Maintained Electronic Patient Records
Many patients visit more than one health provider. Paper-based records make safely managing a patient’s prescriptions difficult as these medical records do not get consolidated across physicians, specialists, laboratories, and hospitals.
However, electronic health record (EHR) systems make managing patient records easier and safer. Patients no longer need to summarize their medical past amid the stress of emergency situations. Parents no longer need to worry about forgotten pediatrician names or lost immunization records when they relocate.
Rather, upon entering a facility, the medical staff already has much of your information available in the EHR to reference. This means less paperwork and fewer, shorter forms for patients to fill out.
2. Reduced Costs
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimates that medical errors cost the U.S. around $38 billion each year. Informaticians not only succeed in lessening these errors, but they work to take many labor-intensive tasks out of the busy hands of medical staff. These routines become automated, saving the healthcare industry and patients extreme costs.
Informatics also means less repeat testing or blood work since EHRs allow all care providers to view test results and records. This proves a notable benefit of health informatics as insurance premiums remain constant and there are fewer bills.
3. Less Trial and Error
EHRs ensure that patients receive the right medication the first time to prevent allergic reactions to antibiotics or other medicines. They even warn physicians before prescribing a specific drug if it shows dangerous interactions with a medication already in use by the patient.
These systems help take human error out of the equation.
4. Improved Ability to Self-Manage Illness
A patient’s success story often depends as much on their own application of a physician’s directions than on the actual medical advice and guidelines. To increase patient education, trained health informaticians also organize information about what methods and materials best help patients and motivate them to follow prescription directions and clinician’s orders.
For example, the CHESS program implemented in a study by the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) helped patients with chronic illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, or even Alzheimer’s disease find access to resources, referrals, health services, and care more readily.
Designed for personal, in-home use, the tool showed an improvement in life quality and care in comparison to patients who received only standard care.
Health Informatics is an important field and career for improving the efficiency of healthcare. Patients increasingly profit from this more well-rounded approach to the medical world that allows for better solutions on both the doctor’s and the patient’s end.