Technology and Decision-Making Paper
January 23, 2012
Computer technology in the 21st century is constantly evolving and improving as new ways of delivering, storing, and maintaining information is created. Thanks to this revolutionary technology, health care informatics has transformed the health care delivery system into a new era. Systems are integrated at the touch of a button and current medical research is available anywhere there is an Internet connection. Healthcare informatics is a blend of clinical science, computer technology, and information management; it involves the collection, storage, retrieval, and use of information for the purpose of providing care, solving problems, and making decisions. Members of the health care team rely on computer informatics and specifically designed systems for every aspect of patient care. It has grown into an integral part of the health care delivery system providing the main framework and support for the medical profession.
Computer informatics technology is based on theories and designed with specific systems. The theories of informatics relate to the model used for each system’s purpose, function, and structure whereas the system can be thought of as the components that react to each other inside the structure (Engelbardt & Nelson, 2002). There are several information theories developed throughout the years to give substance to and provide a model in dealing with informatics. Shannon and Weaver’s Information-Communication Model is a theory based on the effectiveness and efficiency of communication and the transferring of information. This model starts with the sender of the information, which becomes encoded and travels through a channel. The information is decoded and ends with the receiver obtaining the information (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002). Blum’s model deals with data in regard to three specific applications: data, information, and knowledge. This model joins the data and information gleaned from the data, thus creating the result that is knowledge and wisdom (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).
Thanks to Internet capabilities, the general population has access to vast quantities of data and health care information. Research has shown that health consumers are accepting and using this new technology, therefore it is imperative that health care professionals have the same informatics competencies to continue to provide the highest level of health care in this new technological era (Park, Murray, Delaney, An, 2006). Along with the different theories that surround informatics there are a multitude of diverse informatics systems in use today ranging from systems for a small clinic to a multi-faceted hospital. The designs of these systems are specific for the people using them and are built to meet the business goals, the provider needs, and the strategic plan of the organization itself. Systems can be either open or closed, depending on if the system reacts with its environment outside the boundary. Health care related computer systems are open systems that react to the environment, providing the support and specialized systems we rely on for excellent patient care. The types of systems used in a facility are separated into categories: institution-wide, specialty, clinical documentation, need of administration, and operational support needs. It is the configuration of these systems together, which meets the specific needs of each user in a facility (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).
Computer informatics theory is based on models. The health informatics technology model known as the DIK Model has three fundamental parts: data, information, and knowledge. These three elements organize data into a hierarchy. The data at the bottom of the model provides the foundation for creating information, which leads in turn to the potential production...