This essay explains the benefits of medical informatics and how it has transformed healthcare. The essay will provide insight into medical informatics, the advantages, and challenges experienced in the implementation process and how these challenges can be addressed.
The healthcare system in the United States is considered the largest but with poor information system. Medical health records of patients are still stored on paper records hence making it difficult to coordinate and measure healthcare and thus it is characterized by massive cases of medical errors. This paper system makes it difficult for healthcare consumers to trace information needed concerning the quality or cost of healthcare which hinders their efforts to make informed choices about healthcare. The adoption of medical informatics has been considered a fundamental force that is a requisite for improvement of quality health care in the US. Several stakeholders in the technology and health sector have been working hard towards the realization of an integrated and a computerized network of health care. Medical informatics is crucial to the population, patients and individuals. The population requires an integrated health system since it is important for government’s implementation of public health and for research purposes; individually, health records are crucial for the assessment of an individual’s health status and development of linkages with different records of physicians. Patient’s record is fundamental since it is used by medical practitioners in order to provide hospital care and institutional services (Taylor 3).
Advantages of Adopting Biomedical Informatics
Potential Health Benefits: There are two medical benefits that are accrued from the adoption of medical informatics. This is particularly in matters of disease prevention and management of chronic disease which will fully exploit the benefits of medical informatics. Medical informatics has eased other medical processes such as physician test and medical diagnosis. Medical informatics has enhanced the quality of healthcare of the patient in a clinical setting and facilitation of better access to health information. Improving healthcare is the greatest objective of computerization of medical records. This is evidenced by studies which have shown that the computerization of medical records especially in prescribing medications and diagnosis enhances patient safety and diminishes medical errors by more than 80 percent. This is an indication that the adoption of medical informatics will reduce the cases of deaths that occur as a result of medical errors (Dente 7).
The adoption of medical informatics will transform healthcare through facilitating the evaluation of healthcare delivery. This is the aspect of enhancing efficiency without compromising quality. Healthcare providers, through the adoption of medical informatics have reduced medical costs though the reduction of writing materials, manual labor that is involved in filling paper records.
Medical informatics has led to advent of personalized health care process; patients are becoming more involved in looking for medical information and exercising control over healthcare. Computerization of healthcare system leads to customization of facts like data of medical institutions, physicians and the quality of care they provide. Patients will also view and analyze their medical information at the comfort of their houses. This medical information includes laboratory tests and results and they can exchange the electronic medical data with physicians and healthcare information (Hersh 139).
Adoption of medical informatics enhances population health; through computerization of medical information, the government can obtain all the relevant information regarding the health of its population and report to the public health officers. It will also enable the government to keep check on the health status of the population which is critical in the dissemination of medical knowledge to the public (WICHE 2).
Challenges of Implementing Medical Informatics
The challenge of interoperability: there have been difficulties in instituting widespread interoperability. This has prevented the effective adoption and implementation of medical informatics. There have been minimum or none at all incentives to institutions so that they can develop health information system. There is no standard of interoperability hence posing risks to the organizations that are willing to invest in health information records. Consequently, there is reluctance by some institutions to adopt and develop systems that they will share with others since the value of collaboration is not factored in (Hillestad, Bigeiow, Bower, Girosi, Meiii, Scoviile, and Taylor 1103).
Privacy and security matters: there have been concerns regarding matters of security and confidentiality of electronic information. It is assumed that health data requires a high level of privacy and security and there is a debate regarding the adoption of electronic health records and its implications on confidentiality of patient information. This concern has led to discomfort by the public about the electronic storage and relaying of health information. The need for data integrity has complicated this matter of security information since it is not factored in the design of electronic health records which has hindered the implementation of health information records (Panel on Transforming Health Care 5).
Financial challenges: high costs of operations, diminishing economy of the nation, decreasing revenue of most health institutions and high cost of Electronic Health Records (EHR) have made it hard for health institutions and medical providers to acquire it due to the financial challenges.
The decentralization of healthcare industry in the US has led to diverse motives, resources and incentive; these competing interests have made it difficult for organizations to adopt information technology (Panel on Transforming Health Care 4).
How to Address the Challenges
Promotion and training: the general public and health institutions and providers should be informed on the importance of quality health information including their benefits in order to enhance the speed of adoption. There should be rolling out of pilot medical informatics system in some hospitals in order to influence other health care providers and health institutions to embrace the technology.
These challenges can also be addressed through development of national computing infrastructure which can support biomedical research. Consequently, the government should enact legislations that will provide for management of personally exclusive health information, along this vein the government should increase the number of experts who can carry out biomedical research and to advance the objectives of biomedical informatics in transforming health care (Groen and Goldstein 2).
Medical informatics have transformed healthcare in the US and with time it will become the accepted standard of care. To realize this however, a lot of effort needs to be put in since there are some challenges that demand solution before the benefits are fully realized. Medical informatics has positive implications and necessary for the revitalization of the health sector. Among the benefits are computer aided medical practices and operations. It can also enhance the productivity and the quality of health care which is a vision of the USA. Medical informatics provides a huge potential to the expansion of accessibility to healthcare, improving the quality of healthcare, reducing costs incurred in healthcare and enabling the transformation of biomedical research.
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Groen, Peter and Goldstein, Douglas. Medical Informatics 2040: Reengineering & transforming healthcare in the 21st Century. E-practice, 2009. Web.
Hersh, William. Health and Biomedical Informatics: Opportunities and challenges for a twenty-first century profession and its education. Skynet, 2008. Web.
Hillestad, Richard, Bigeiow, James, Bower, Anthony, Girosi, Federico, Meiii, Robin, Scoviile, Richard and Roger Tayior. Can electronic medical record technology. NITRID, 2001. Web.
Panel on Transforming Health Care. Panel on Transforming Health Care: transforming health care through information systems transform health care? Potential health benefits, savings and costs, n.d. Web.
Taylor, James. Transforming healthcare delivery with analytics. Decision Management, 2010. Web.
WICHE. A Closer look at healthcare workforce needs in the West. WICHE, n.d. Web.