Published: Saturday, April 27, 2013

Health informatics: not an option but an imperative

Health informatics: not an option but an imperative

Health Informatics (HI) is the use of information technology for solving many types of healthcare knowledge and practice related challenges to benefit all the stakeholders in health. In most of the developed countries of the world, HI is transforming the science and delivery of healthcare while improving clinical and socio-economic outcomes. This paradigm shift in medicine is radically changing how medicine is practiced and will continue to disseminate into all the countries in the world.
HI is multidisciplinary and involves the use of information science, computer science and technology, decision science, cognitive psychology, statistics, management science, business and economics, communication technologies, sociology, politics, law etc. Incorporation of information technology (IT) innovations in healthcare planning and delivery to take healthcare to visionary level is more commonly known as ‘eHealth’ — a transformative paradigm. With the advent of portable and intelligent electronic health records, telemedicine and mHealth capabilities, transformed traditional care and remote care are becoming the standard of care globally and especially in developed countries.
In a country like Bangladesh, the demand of healthcare is huge in comparison to the big number of population and insufficient healthcare providers. We need to embark on the eHealth journey, not only for individual health benefits but also for societal and national wellbeing. eHealth innovations enable access, quality and management of health information by the stakeholders in the most actionable form, how, when and where they need it. Information has been with us since the dawn of civilisation, but informatics has taken it to revolutionary levels in all spheres of health management.
The role of properly designed Healthcare Information and Communication Technology (HICT) and eHealth environment that is sensitive to the population, culture and economics, to reduce morbidity, mortality and healthcare expenses cannot be overemphasised. eHealth and its adoption are not without challenges, however, can be very rewarding when developed and implemented in a befitting manner.
Given the context in Bangladesh, it is not an option but an imperative to improve clinical, financial, societal and national outcomes in healthcare.

The writer is the President & CEO of InformaticaHealth, USA & eHEALTH SOLUTIONS, Bangladesh.
E-mail: Rashidee.Ali@gmail.com