Information technology (IT) revolutionizes healthcare systems’ management of health procedures and data sharing. Health informatics is a stand-alone discipline in the healthcare industry based on digital innovation and IT. The origin traces back to 1928. It began as a health records library under the American College of Surgeons. It progressed in the 1960s by developing safety and security standards in healthcare processes across hospital departments (Gibson, Dixon & Abrams, 2015). Challenges of coding and sharing healthcare data through a structured and secure environment informed the progress of health informatics.
In addition, standards for laboratory information exchange, electronic health records, management systems, and security systems were first administered under health informatics (Gibson, Dixon & Abrams, 2015). Although the medical field has departments meant to address specific specialties, the absence of a coordinating division concerning developments, coordination, and sharing of a patient’s health information within a secure environment brought confidentiality breaches and data security lapses, hence, necessitating the establishment of health informatics.
Health informatics has evolved as a distinct specialty in healthcare. As physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, among other professionals, manage patients, the flow of information is coded within a secure and technology-manipulated system to deliver accurate and reliable health data (Ratwani, Fairbanks, Hettinger & Benda, 2015). For instance, when a radiology department processes a digital data file, coding and explanations that are easy to understand by non-radiology experts are generated by medical informatics.
Likewise, professional bodies such as the national council on prescription drugs are responsible for creating standards focusing on pharmacies, hospitals, and patients. Health informatics develops names and codes for drugs that support to dissemination of information to all stakeholders. Therefore, to ensure proper cording and security of medical data, health informatics should be mainstreamed within hospital departments, healthcare research institutions, medical colleges, and universities worldwide.
Gibson, C. J., Dixon, B. E. & Abrams, K. (2015). Convergent evolution of health information management and health informatics. Applied Clinical informatics, 6(01), 163-184. doi: 10.4338/ACI-2014-09-RA-0077
Ratwani, R. M., Fairbanks, R. J., Hettinger, A. Z. & Benda, N. C. (2015). Electronic health record usability: analysis of the user-centered design processes of eleven electronic health record vendors. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 22(6), 1179-1182. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocv05