Health informatics is a multidisciplinary field that uses health information technology (HIT) to improve health care via any combination of higher quality, higher efficiency (spurring lower cost and thus greater availability), and new opportunities. The disciplines involved include information science, computer science, social science, behavioral science, management science, and others. The NLM defines health informatics as “the interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services delivery, management and planning.”
This area of study supports health information technology, medical practice, medical research and medical informatics. It involves systems such as electronic health records (EHR) and electronic medical records (EMR), health information exchange standards such as Health Level 7 (HL7), medical terminologies such as Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine, clinical terms such as SNOMED-CT, and portable medical devices for the collection of health data.
It deals with the resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and biomedicine. Health informatics tools include amongst others computers, clinical guidelines, formal medical terminologies, and information and communication systems. It is applied to the areas of nursing, clinical medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, occupational therapy, physical therapy, biomedical research, and alternative medicine. All of which are designed to improve the overall of effectiveness of patient care delivery by ensuring that the data generated is of a high quality e.g. an mHealth based early warning scorecard.
Health informatics technology includes the electronics and information technology used during the course of patient care, a practice also known as clinical informatics. The definition of the clinical informatics specialty, formed in part by the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), describes it as the implementation and evaluation of communication systems that improve patients’ health and care, as well as the relationship between patients and their physicians.