Health information scientists collect, store, and analyze large volumes of data related to human and animal health. These data can guide research and diagnosis, improve medical devices, and detect diseases and illnesses before they can spread. Health data can also help prevent illness and death, especially for vulnerable populations. The impact of health information on medicine was clear during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, when governments looked to emerging statistics for guidance.
The field of health informatics encompasses several distinct types of research. It can be classified into clinical information systems, health care, and library science. The focus of health information science is on the use of data and digital technology to improve the patient-physician relationship. Health informatics professionals work with all types of data and information. Medical records specialists, for example, work with patient records. The fields are distinct enough, however, that there are overlaps.
Health information systems help doctors, patients, and other healthcare providers work more efficiently by reducing redundant treatment. Patients and providers are empowered through electronic health records. Self-monitoring can be essential to treatment management. Health information systems also allow patients to interact with several providers and insurance companies. The front office staff of a medical practice commonly uses practice management software. It allows doctors and other health care professionals to communicate with one another, which can reduce medical errors.
Clinical informaticists work with other health care professionals and develop health information tools. These health informaticists are also computer scientists. The first board-certified clinical informatics examination took place in October 2013, and 432 physicians passed. Clinical informaticists can pursue board certification through a fellowship program. This program can be completed in as little as four years. This is a highly rewarding program for those seeking to pursue a career in the field of health information science.
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