There has been a bigger change in the health informatics field since its inception. The initial intention of health informatics was to help healthcare facilities in giving services to the patients. Currently health informatics are replacing almost all of the duties done by humans. Through artificial intelligence, computers can be able to diagnose and prescribe treatment to patients. Home care was a reserve of community based nurses, currently patient management systems are being used in managing patients.
The size of health informatics was very large; they were slow with low capacity. Most of the internet facilities were based on dial up technology. Currently hospitals are having high speed internet connection using fiber optic cable and wireless connectivity. The size of computers and other devices has reduced to increase in speed and processing power.
Future trends for healthcare informatics
There are several technological trends that are happing in the Health Informatics discipline. The trends are based on the rapid growth in the hardware and software disciplines. Technological devices are becoming smaller and very powerful each day. There are new technologies that are being invented in health care systems based on new technological innovation in information technology. Below are some of the areas in informatics that are trending.
Biometrics is a unique attribute of an individual that can be used as a security feature. There are many biometric systems that are used for verification and validation. Biometrics is not being used only in security firms but also in hospitals. There is an increased spending on biometric systems in health care facilities and more use not only insensitive rooms but also in the ordinary offices. Just like any other technological device with time, there is going to be reduction in the prices of biometric technology because of maturity in hardware and software technology. Home health care for families is going to need biometric verification anytime their records are updated. The use of biometrics is going to expand in health facilities.
Physicians are currently using sophisticated tools in booking of appointments. Computerized physician order entry systems (CPOES) are in use currently. Health care delivery system's database and other systems are being integrated. Although CPOES was has been in use since 1999, there are improvements and modification in the current systems which support patient care. Clinical decision support tools are used in ensuring that physicians make the best decisions with errors.
Disease management is another trending informatics technology. Patients with chronic illness are monitored by nurses remotely. Patients are trained on how they can use the devices in monitoring their health. There has been a massive purchase of patient management systems for elderly and chronic disease patients.
Handheld devices are being used in hospitals today in the diagnosis and treatment of illness. Clinical computer applications have been developed to utilize the availability of handheld devices.
Storage of data has also come a long way. During the initial stages of informatics information was stored in flat files which changed to databases and now we are talking about cloud computing. Hospital information is now being stored in a central location. The storage devices are becoming smaller in size and have high retrieval speed.
The future is going to have smaller and very fast devices. Patients are going to have online consultation instead of physically seeing a physician. Medical practitioners going to make decisions based on their small handheld devices. Automatic tools for illness diagnosis are going to be designed.
Trends impact the healthcare delivery system
The new trends have a great impact on healthcare delivery system. Physicians and other players are going to make decisions without errors because of the decision support systems. The quick solutions to healthcare issues has led to prevention focus more that curing. The medical prescription is also going to be accurate and very fast. Chronic illnesses are going to be managed with reduced expense of being in the hospital. There is a great impact on the supply chain of the medical facilities. This is because inventory management systems are going to automatically trigger the purchase of stocks that are below a given level.
The new trends have also a negative impact on healthcare delivery systems. The cost of health care systems is going to be passed on to the consumers. There hospital is also going to employ health informatics to deal with the new equipment or re-train the existing ones.
Goldzweig, C. L., Towfigh, A., Maglione, M., & Shekelle, P. G. (2009). Costs and benefits of health information technology: new trends from the literature.Health Affairs, 28(2), w282-w293.
Kuhn, K. A., & Giuse, D. A. (2001). From hospital information systems to health information systems. Methods of information in medicine, 40(4), 275-287.