Sociable

Monday, October 24, 2011

Education and Training for Health Informatics

With great pleasure Supten Institute announces the inaugural 12-week online Certificate course on Health Informatics. The course is web-based, text-based, asynchronous.

Goal
This course is intended to introduce the basics of healthcare informatics. At the end of completion of this course, the students will be skilled in the learning objectives listed below.

Learning Objectives
  1. Know about basic health informatics including electronic health / medical records (EHR/EMR), telehealth (e-health and telemedicine), medical imaging, evidence- based medicine (EBM), and healthcare interoperability standards.
  2. Be aware of the role of hardware, software and networks used in healthcare.
  3. Demonstrate skills in querying medical databases (including literature) relevant to clinical management and medical research.
  4. Understand basic skills required to develop databases relevant to healthcare.
  5. Understand the use of a hospital information system (identify the data requirements enough for a requirement analysis).

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Harmonization Efforts for Health Information Exchange


A lot of efforts are going on the harmonize the various standards available for healthcare information exchange.

A sample worklist from the public domain is available at: HL7 TSC Wiki

In the recent Working Group Meeting of HL7 at Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA, IHTSDO (SNOMED-CT) representatives took active part and are likely to have formal collaborations soon. Earlier IHTSDO had announced a collaborative arrangement with the World Health Organization (WHO) to harmonize WHO classifications and SNOMED CT for the benefit of citizens around the world. ICD-11 - that is due by 2015 - will have the benefits arising out of WHO and IHTSDO having worked on a collaborative arrangement to link the WHO Family of Classifications and the Standardized Nomenclature of Medicine - Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT). This arrangement enables the linkage of terminologies and classifications. In the era of computerization of health information and electronic health records, it represents a major achievement.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Advancing the Future of Health Care with Electronic Health Records

Widespread and meaningful use of fully functional electronic health record systems combined with a robust infrastructure for broad-based health information exchange can improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care for all.

As more organizations adopt electronic health records, physicians will have greater access to patient information, allowing faster and more accurate diagnoses. Complete patient data helps ensure the best possible care.

Patients too will have access to their own information and will have the choice to share it with family members securely, over the Internet, to better coordinate care for themselves and their loved ones.

Digital medical records make it possible to improve quality of patient care in numerous ways. For example, doctors can make better clinical decisions with ready access to full medical histories for their patients—including new patients, returning patients, or patients who see several different providers. Laboratory tests or x-rays downloaded and stored in the patient’s electronic health record make it easier to track results. Automatic alerts built into the systems direct attention to possible drug interactions or warning signs of serious health conditions. E-prescribing lets doctors send prescriptions electronically to the pharmacy, so medications can be ready and waiting for the patient.

And while electronic health records require an initial investment of time and money, but with the efficiencies that electronic health records promise, their widespread use has the potential to result in significant cost savings across our health care system.

The future looks bright, but the vision can’t become reality without first laying a firm foundation.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

HL7 India Elections are on

Currently the Governing Council Elections are going on at HL7 India.
The new team will be formed by the 18th of March.
Formal hand-over take-over from the previous team will take place during the second AGM of HL7 India to be held in Bengaluru on Thursday May 12, 2011.
We are looking forward to greater activities of HL7 India over the next two years. It will be instrumental in changing the landscape of health care information exchange, not only in India but also in the neighboring region.
The MoHFW, Government of India's Expert Committee on EMR Standards is about to submit its Interim Report to the Ministry.
So, in near future lots of exciting things can be expected in eHealth in India.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tablets will revolutionize the way you receive healthcare

Tablets such as the iPad are all set to revolutionize the way each and every one of us receives healthcare.

Tablets have several advantages vis-a-vis a PC. These include

1. A sleek touch-screen interface that allows for quick navigation. In addition, the tablet is always "on" whereas it takes at least several seconds to switch on a laptop. General practitioners, typically see patients within 3 minutes. For these doctors every second counts and only a tablet can provide the speed they need.
2. Extreme portability. The iPad is the size of a small file that can easily be carried from place to place.
3. Thousands of apps that perform simple functions very efficiently.
4. Similarity to Smartphones. Smartphones are becoming more and more prevalent and within a few years we will find that most new phones are touch-screen capable. Someone who's used a Smartphone will find it easy to make the switch to a tablet even though they might not have used a tablet before.

As against the pros the cons of tablets are few with high cost and slow processing power being the main ones. With tablets out in the market for only about a year costs will rapidly decrease.

So how will tablets help everyone get better care

1. Get better information from your healthcare provider. Doctors will be able to show you videos and images details about your illness. Say you are going in for a cataract operation. The doctor could show you how the surgery is performed and why it is very safe.

2. Provide better input to your healthcare provider. Say you've had a spinal surgery and are going to meet the specialist for a follow-up. While you wait to see the specialist you could be completing form and diagrams which indicate the amount of discomfiture you are in. The specialist would use this information to track your recovery over a period of time.

3. Your healthcare provider will have all your relevant medical information available at his/her fingertips. This to me is by far the biggest benefit of using tablets. Say you have an injury playing football. You get an X-ray done and then go to see your doctor. When you see the doctor, he/she will have not just your X-ray but a history of all the injuries you've had before, any other illnesses you currently have, your allergies, the prescriptions you currently take etc. All this on a tablet to ensure that you get the best care possible.

That day is not too far........

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hospital Management and Technology

Healthcare in India is a a fairly dis-organized sector. At the same time, it continues to receive a lukewarm support from government. As can be expected, a few private institutions have started playing a key role in bringing about much required transformation in this sector. And not very surprisingly, they are leveraging technology to bring about this transformation.

More and more doctors are preferring to play critical role in 'management' of the hospitals. They realize that just providing care to patients by right diagnosis is not enough. With growing incomes in India, patient demand for an 'experience' at hospitals is growing. It' not about the medical treatment alone - but how did the ward boy treat me, what kind of food was served to me, was my medical claim processed quickly, was my bill settlement done on time, did I receive the right kind of advise, what kind of doctors participate in a hospital, do I get my medical records when I get discharged.....all of this plays a factor in people' minds when they visit or get admitted to a hospital. All of this calls for a serious effort spent on 'management' of hospital and it' resources.

Hospital management are getting smarter. They realize that - Healthcare also has to be dealt with smartly. Smart use of technology can not only save money but also deliver better results to the patients - thereby giving them an 'experience'!!! After all, who does not want a happy customer!!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The need for Employee EHR (eEHR)…

An Employee Health Record refers to any health / medical -related information created, obtained, or maintained by the organization regarding an employee’s physical or mental condition. This may include –
-          Results of medical exams and tests (Scans, Pathology Tests)
-          Medical History
-          Insurance Documents
-          Hospitalization Documents
-          Medical Certificates / Doctors’ Notes / Opinion of other Healthcare Providers, etc.
An eEHR means that all of the above can be accessed through a computer – may be on a local machine or over the internet.
Looking at the most obvious reasons – promoting employee wellness, preventing spread of communicable diseases, reducing stress load – on the whole creating a health / safe working environment - most organizations understand the importance of monitoring employee health.
Hence companies generally mandate at least, a once a year, health check-up for its employees.   Some companies also opt for a more segmented approach – advising health check-up for employees depending on their age, work load, etc.
Managing the records is really important – to ensure systematic control from creation or receipt through processing, distribution, maintenance, retrieval, retention, and final disposition.
However, taking care of all these in physical files can be quite a task,,, for both employers who have low attrition rates (will have a lot of accumulated information) as well those with high attrition rates (you will have less papers but more files).
Walk in – need for eEHR – accessing / managing these records through a computer can make life simpler. For starters – no more file cabinets, all information is stored in one place, can be easily searched and retrieved. You don’t have to worry about losing a file – it just seems much more organized. Moreover, if the system is web based, you will higher flexibility – sharing of records will become much of easier and there will no geographical limitation to the access.
Having said that - the system must take care of the security concerns – file encryption, audit trails / logs can be some measures taken.
Nonetheless, eEHR certainly seems like a good support tool for employee management. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

ACM forms a SIG on Health Informatics

From today, a new Special Interest Group has been formed by ACM on Health Informatics: SIGHIT that is concerned with the application of computing and information science principles and techniques, and information and communication technologies, to address issues in healthcare and the delivery of healthcare services as well as the related social and ethical issues. SIGHIT emphasizes the computing and information science-related aspects of health informatics and provides a forum for the creation, sharing, and management of knowledge and techniques as a strategic resource for improving the field of health informatics and its impact on people's lives.
I am fortunate to be the first Editor for its biennial Newsletter - SIGHIT Record that will be published every year in March and September.
Hoping to be enlightened on various health informatics activities that will ultimately help in changing our healthcare delivery systems for the better.