Skip to Main Content
 

How Health Informatics Helps Improve Patient Outcomes


Even with all the advancements of modern medicine, the current healthcare system still struggles with patient outcomes. A report published this year by the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence found that every year, an estimated 795,000 Americans die or are permanently disabled as a result of diagnostic error. Leveraging technology and a patient-centered approach, healthcare providers can help address the problems caused by misdiagnosis to provide a higher level of patient care.

Health informatics—where technology and healthcare merge—has the power to be transformative for organizations, and, most importantly, for patients. Let’s take a look at the impact of health informatics on patient outcomes.

What Is Health Informatics?

 

The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) defines health informatics as “an interdisciplinary field of study that utilizes technology to organize, analyze, manage, and use information to improve healthcare.”

In recent years, it’s grown and evolved rapidly as clinical (doctors, nurses, etc.) and nonclinical (administrators) professionals have started to tap into its potential. The work is often done behind the scenes, but these professionals in numerous roles are embracing health informatics for its benefits.   

The Impact of Health Informatics on Patient Outcomes

 

The ultimate goal of this technology is to decrease the amount of negative patient outcomes. Here are three ways this is happening: 

Improved Efficiency and Communication

One of the biggest shifts in healthcare in recent years was the transition to electronic health records (EHR). These offer providers a holistic picture of a patient’s past and future health.  

In healthcare, more and more organizations are employing tools such as cloud-based software to streamline communication between nurses, doctors, patients, and administrators within a single organization and beyond. Referred to as interoperability, this allows for the seamless exchange and access of patient information, including the use of email and text to communicate efficiently on secure platforms. 

>>Read More: 3 Emerging Trends in Health Informatics

When nurses and doctors are able to access a patient’s record quickly, update it in real time, and communicate clearly with one another, they are able to provide a more accurate diagnosis and start the right course of treatment. 

Reduced Prescription Error

While modern medication can be lifesaving to many, between 7,000 and 9,000 patients in America die every year as a result of a medication error. It is the leading cause of avoidable patient harm.

There are informatics systems designed to ensure that patients receive the right medication the first time. This can help reduce allergic reactions as well as dangerous interactions. Software platforms help detect issues in the prescription process, including duplication and administration errors by cross-referencing prescriptions within a patient’s record.

>>Read More: The Role of Query Language in Health Informatics 

Improved Access to Care

As a result of COVID-19, there was a boom in telehealth. Organizations were forced to invest in IT infrastructure in order to adapt. Driven by health informatics innovation, telemedicine and virtual healthcare—including remote vital sign monitoring—made care more accessible than ever before.

This is especially true in rural America, where healthcare challenges have been more prevalent. Regardless of the cause, the rural population suffers from a higher mortality rate compared to those who live in urban areas. Health informatics is working to improve that. Virtual health connects patients to providers and rural providers with urban doctors for additional resources. 

Strengthen Your Health Informatics Skills to Improve Patient Care

 

Health informatics isn’t just impacting patient outcomes; it has also created a wide array of opportunities for professionals to enter the healthcare field and make a difference. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, organizations are in need of employees who are skilled in the following areas:

  • Medical informatics
  • Clinical informatics
  • Pharmacy informatics
  • Public health informatics
  • Biomedical informatics
  • Bioinformatics

Beyond mastering these areas, organizations also need people who are willing to continue to adapt as the technology continues to evolve.


Advance your career with an online Master of Health Informatics degree program from Wake Forest University’s School of Professional Studies. Request more information today.