Intervention of Health Informatics in Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Dentistry

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The emergence of public health informatics as a professional specialty is part of a larger development of informatics in related health fields, such as medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and dentistry. Interest in informatics as a specialty in these areas reflects the importance that information collection, analysis, evaluation, and utilization now play in the health care division. One of the primary inventions of clinical medicine is the patient medical record. Practitioners use the record to capture their findings and conclusions for each clinical encounter and to guide future care of the patient. As medical care gets more and more complex and new information is already overwhelming physician‘s capacity to treat patients with the latest information, physicians need new technologies to help them cope. There is great need for a digital record to allow capture of patient data that can then be processed and mined for insights into better treatment for patients. The electronic health record (EHR) is the tool that promises to provide the platform from which new functionality and new services can be provided for patients. Hospitals hope to reduce medical errors, such as ordering and administering the wrong dose of a medication. Providers hope to access and share patient information more easily, thereby improving care. Governments and businesses hope to save money by improving efficiency. But for a variety of reasons, health care providers have not fully embraced these technologies. Some professionals comment that high implementation costs deter providers, especially those in small group practices, from adopting new technologies. Other studies suggest that implementing health IT systems might even hinder patient care, at least initially. In either case, the question remains: how should policymakers help facilitate the adoption EMR/EHR (Electronic Medical Records and Personalized Medicine)? Health Information Technology a broad array of new technologies designed to manage and share health-related information. The most basic type of health information technology is a system that electronically collects, stores and organizes health information about patients. When properly implemented, such a system can help coordinate patient care, reduce medical errors and improve administrative effectiveness. Some call the information collected an electronic health record (EHR); others call it an electronic medical record (EMR). Though some health informatics professionals make a distinction between EHRs and EMRs, these terms are often used interchangeably in the media. Efforts are underway to develop consensus definitions for these terms and others. Electronic record systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some collect and share patient information only within a certain institution or within a certain provider group, while others are integrated into larger information networks. The capabilities of EHR systems and the extent to which they are integrated into provider practices also vary. "Fully functional" EHR systems collect and store patient data, supply patient data to providers on request, permit physicians to enter patient care orders, and assist providers in making evidence-based clinical decisions. Another technology is known as computerized physician order entry (CPOE), an important part of a fully functional EHR system. This allows physicians to order prescription drugs and laboratory tests digitally, thereby eliminating errors associated with illegible hand-written prescriptions. CPOE systems check for the accuracy of prescription orders, flagging any orders that appear extreme. One study concluded that CPOE systems for prescriptions could reduce preventable medication errors by as much as 55 percent because they ensure, at a minimum, that orders are complete and legible. Despite this potential, adoption of health information technology has been slow. Much clinical information in the U.S. remains on paper rather than on...
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