What Is the Difference Between Clinical Informatics and Health Informatics?

Clinical informatics and health informatics are two closely related fields that deal with the use of information technology in healthcare. Both disciplines are concerned with the collection, management, sharing, and analysis of data to improve patient care. However, there are some key differences between the two. Read on as our healthcare IT solutions experts at Riveraxe give some key distinctions.

Healthcare IT Solutions: What Is the Difference Between Clinical Informatics and Health Informatics?

Clinical Informatics

Clinical informatics is a branch of healthcare that deals with the application of information technology to improve patient care. It covers a wide range of topics, from the use of electronic health records to the development of clinical decision support systems. This field is constantly evolving as new technologies are introduced. However, its ultimate goal remains the same: to use information technology to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare on an individual level.

There are many different ways in which this field of informatics can be used to improve patient care. For example, electronic health records can help to reduce medication errors and improve communication between caregivers. Clinical decision support systems can provide clinicians with up-to-date information on the latest treatment guidelines. And mobile applications can help patients keep track of their medications and appointments.

Health Informatics

Health informatics is the intersection of healthcare and information technology. It encompasses the practices and procedures used to collect, store, use, and share health data and information. The goal of this field of informatics is to improve patient care, public health, and national healthcare administration through the use of data and technology.

Informatics tools are used by healthcare providers to track patient medical histories, diagnoses, medications, and treatment plans. This information can be shared with other providers, specialists, and patients themselves. These systems can also be used to monitor public health trends and track the spread of diseases. By analyzing this data, health officials can develop interventions and policies to improve the overall health of the population.

The Impact

While these fields of informatics are still evolving, they have already made a significant impact on healthcare. EHRs have been shown to improve communication between providers, reduce duplicate testing and procedures, and decrease the risk of medication errors. Patient portals have also been shown to engage patients in their own care and improve communication with their providers. As this field continues to evolve, it is expected to play an even bigger role in improving healthcare delivery on a national level.

Healthcare IT Solutions That Use Clinical and Health Informatics

1. Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are digital records used by healthcare providers to document patient care. First appearing in the 1960s, EHRs were initially developed for use by the federal government. However, it was not until the 1980s that they became more affordable, and since then, their use has spread throughout the healthcare industry.

Today, EHRs are an essential part of healthcare delivery, providing a comprehensive record of a patient’s care history. In addition, EHRs can be used to support population health management and research efforts.

2. Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)

EMRs were first developed in 1972, but their use was limited until the late 1990s when the advent of the personal computer made it possible for clinicians to access and update patient records electronically. Electronic medical records contain information about a patient’s health history, such as diagnoses, medications, allergies, immunizations, procedures, and lab results.

EMRs can be created, accessed, and shared by authorized clinicians and staff within a single healthcare organization. Note that EMRs are different from electronic health records (EHRs), which are longitudinal records that can be shared across different care settings.

3. Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS)

Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) are computer-based systems that provide clinicians with patient-specific information, knowledge, and decision support at the point of care. CDSS can perform crucial functions such as suggesting diagnostic and therapeutic options, recommending evidence-based order sets, and calculating disease risk scores.

Specific use cases of CDSS include alerting clinicians to potential adverse drug events, suggesting alternative medications for patients with allergies or drug-drug interactions, and providing real-time guidance during procedures.

4. Computerized Physician Order Entry Systems (CPOEs)

Computerized physician order entry systems (CPOE) are computer systems that physicians use to directly enter orders for medications, lab tests, and other treatments. CPOE systems can be used for both inpatient and outpatient care. They typically include a drug database, a lab test database, and a way to electronically communicate orders to pharmacists and laboratories.

CPOE systems can help improve patient safety by reducing medical errors and increasing the accuracy of orders. They can also help to streamline the ordering process and reduce the time needed to complete orders. Some CPOE systems also include clinical decision support tools that provide guidance on ordering decisions based on evidence-based medicine guidelines.

5. Patient Portals

A patient portal is a secure online platform that gives patients 24-hour access to personal health information and medical records. Patients can use portals to message their care team, schedule appointments, and pay bills. Patient portals allow patients to perform different functions, including the ability to view test results and refill prescriptions. Portals also provide better self-management of chronic diseases and increased patient engagement in their own care.

In addition, portals can help reduce no-show rates and make it easier for providers to collect patient-reported data. Practical use cases for patient portals include appointments and medication reminders and online bill pay.

6. Telehealth and Telemedicine

Telehealth and telemedicine are two related but distinct terms often used in healthcare IT. Telehealth generally refers to the use of technology to distribute health-related services and data, while telemedicine specifically refers to the use of video conferencing to diagnose and treat patients. Both telehealth and telemedicine offer several benefits, including increased access to care, improved patient engagement, and lower costs.

In addition, telehealth and telemedicine can be used to support different care modalities, including preventive care, chronic disease management, and mental health services. While there are many potential applications for telehealth and telemedicine, they are likely to continue to grow in popularity as healthcare organizations look for ways to improve access to care while controlling costs.

7. Healthcare Apps

Healthcare apps are mobile applications that allow patients to manage their health and wellbeing. There is a wide range of different healthcare apps available, from those that track fitness levels and monitor diet, to those that provide information on conditions and medications. Some apps also allow patients to book appointments and order prescriptions.

While many apps are free to download, some require a subscription. Healthcare apps can be a useful tool for patients, providing them with well-being resources as well as information and support when needed.

8. Health Information Exchanges (HIEs)

Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are systems that allow the electronic sharing of health information between organizations within a given region or state. These systems are designed to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare by making it easier for providers to access and share patient information.

In addition, these types of clinical informatics are particularly useful for coordinating care among different providers, such as hospitals, specialists, and primary care physicians. They can also help to reduce duplicate testing and provide critical health information in emergency situations.

Benefits of Implementing Healthcare IT Solutions in Your Facility

Enhanced Communication

By implementing these solutions, you can improve communication among staff, clinicians, and patients. With better communication, you can provide better patient care and make sure that everyone has the information they need, when needed.

Lowered Costs

Healthcare IT solutions can help lower the cost of healthcare in a number of ways. By improving the efficiency of hospital operations, automating tasks that are currently performed manually, and reducing the need for paper records, healthcare IT systems can help reduce the overall cost of healthcare delivery.

Optimized Workflow

Healthcare IT systems are responsible for handling a vast amount of data generated by the healthcare industry. This includes everything from patient medical records and billing information to insurance claims and research data. In order to effectively manage this data, healthcare IT systems must be highly efficient and flexible. One way to do this is to optimize workflow by automating repetitive tasks and streamlining data handling.

Improved Patient Outcomes

When patient information is readily available and easily accessible, doctors are able to make more informed decisions about treatment. In addition, healthcare IT systems can help to streamline the process of scheduling appointments and ordering prescriptions. As a result, patients are more likely to receive the care they need in a timely manner.

Reduced Errors

In the healthcare industry, even a small mistake can have serious consequences. That’s why it’s so important for hospitals and other medical organizations to adopt comprehensive healthcare IT solutions that can help reduce errors and improve patient care. Some of the most effective healthcare IT systems include EHRs and EMRs.

Let’s Talk About Health and Clinical IT Solutions!

By improving communication and data sharing among providers, patients, and caregivers, health informatics systems make it easier to find and share vital patient information. If you’re looking for a reliable partner who can provide you with bespoke health and clinical IT solutions, call us at Riveraxe. We can help you replace, migrate, develop, deploy, and implement the right solution for your needs and get you on the path to better patient care.