How Do Health Informatics (HI) & Health Information Management (HIM) Differ?

How Do Health Informatics (HI) & Health Information Management (HIM) Differ?
Health Informatics and health information management are different terms but are considered to be similar to two names. Both use technologies and common skill sets but have more differences than similarities. 

The patient’s data is collected from several resources. It includes the patient's medical history, provider’s notes, test results, and other information. When this information is combined, they create a powerful resource for professionals.

With the amount of data increasing in healthcare, several specializations and technologies are getting involved in enhanced patient care and delivery. If you want to work in the healthcare field, several options are there to choose from. But majorly, health informatics and health information management are best to work with. 

Let us understand the difference between them and how they are benefitting the healthcare sector. 

What Do You Understand by the Term Health Informatics?

According to AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association), Health Informatics is a science that defines how health information is technically captured, transmitted, and utilized. It is engineering applied to healthcare and is also called nursing informatics, biomedical informatics, and clinical informatics. It is a field that uses healthcare information technology to enhance healthcare services. 

The disciplines included in Health Informatics are computer science, management science, behavioral science, and others. The tools included in the Health Informatics are medical terminologies, clinical guidelines, and communication systems. 

Different specialty areas within healthcare informatics include dental informatics, pharmacy informatics, consumer health informatics, and more. 

In health informatics, the professionals work to not analyze patient data but to create new and better ways of storing and managing the data. Health informatics professionals come from different backgrounds like pharmacy, nurses, and other fields. It is an evolving specialization that connects information, communications, and healthcare to enhance quality and patient safety. 

It covers the multiple fields of informatics, telemedicine, international healthcare systems, and home care. The Health Informatics is designed to provide research opportunities within the field of medical informatics and gives knowledge of medical informatics and information security. 

Benefits of Health Informatics

Health Informatics is playing a crucial role in enhancing patient care. Check a few benefits of health informatics here.

1. Improved Coordination

Over the years, a lot of improvement is seen in the healthcare sector to enhance patient delivery. With the improvement in technologies, patients now receive care simultaneously from different health professionals in one stay. 

This way, the professionals can check more patients. It makes coordination possible for professionals involved in patient care to share and update data simultaneously. 

2. Cost Reduction 

According to stats, nearly $146 billion is spent in the United States to correct medical errors. Thankfully, technologies like Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) or Computer Provider Order Entry Systems (CPOES) are programmed to detect errors in data duplication, mismatching, and other errors. 

3. Efficient Storage of Patient Records

Earlier, the majority of healthcare professionals used manual and outdated data methods to enter data. Even today, several healthcare organizations use paper-based systems. But with new technologies like Electronic Health Records (EHR), managing the patient’s records has become easier. 

The professionals now track the patient’s data stored in coded computer systems. Also, the work of manually searching the data is decreased that hindered the work efficiency throughout the shift. 

4. Patient Empowerment and Privacy

Patients who can access their health history and status on their own are likely to be involved in their treatment plans and stay updated with their conditions. This also allows patients to look after the right healthcare professional and to access the right information when needed. The innovations are taking over the industry and providing a range of possibilities in the healthcare field.

Patient privacy is crucial in the healthcare industry. With blockchain technology, healthcare experts are experimenting different methods of encryption. Patient data is distributed across the system, but personalized healthcare requires access to use this data. The EHR provides the framework for patient care and is designed for access to information like lab and X-ray results, medications, and discharge planning. 

Challenges in Health Informatics

Paperless records and billing give easy access to records. It gives protection against damages like floods and fire. However, in reality, data breaching is increasing day by day, and the patient’s data has become no more secure. 

Here are other challenges that you should know. 

1. Information is Vulnerable

Storing information on the cloud is easy to access, but at the same time, it becomes easier for hackers to access confidential data. The healthcare officials have to check their security and upgrade it as well. 

2. Passwords Have to be Protected

Passwords are the key to data breaches. Several times a single password is given to the team members, resulting in data breaching and errors. Passwords keep the information secure; therefore, it should be updated regularly. 

What Do You Understand by Health Information Management?

It is applied to health and healthcare. HIM is essential for HIPAA-covered entities and healthcare providers to ensure patient’s safety. It involves billing, medical coding, ensuring compliance with government regulations. It also includes medical records retention and transition to electronic formats. 

The healthcare information overlaps different areas in the healthcare cycle; therefore, it becomes necessary for the organizations to create HIM departments to oversee the requirements adhered to managing training. 

HI managers work in healthcare organizations and other businesses around the world. HIM professionals plan information systems, identify current and future information needs. They work with demographic, clinical, and coded healthcare data. 

Significance of Health Information Manager

Health Information Manager is crucial for health organizations and businesses. Data breaches make a strong impact on healthcare and prohibit patients from sharing important data. 

Hackers can steal patient data and cause them harm. HIM offers benefits to organizations by increasing efficiency and optimizing healthcare organization system access. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the management and use of information within healthcare systems "will determine the system's effectiveness in detecting health problems, defining priorities, identifying innovative solutions, and allocating resources to improve health outcomes."

Functions of Health Information Management

It encompasses coding, informatics, data analytics, and information governance. The revenue cycle management includes the diagnostic and procedural codes for managing the revenue flow from patient registration to the time of discharge. Information governance aims at HIM operations and ensures the protection of PHI. 

Benefits of Health Information Technology

Healthcare information systems increase the timeliness and accuracy of patient care, increase service capacity, reduce inventory levels, and improve patient care. 

Here are other benefits of health information technology. 

1. Coordinated Treatment Process

It is a technology-driven system and makes the process of PHI between organizations hassle-free. With HIM, patients can get coordinated treatment from healthcare providers. The patients who need cross-specialty treatment get the maximum benefit from HIS. 

2. Enhanced Patient Safety

With Health Information Management, the information can be shared across multiple databases to enhance the patient’s safety. Also, you get an alert notification when there’s any issue diagnosed in patients' health. 

The healthcare providers receive an alert from security revealing about the effects that patients might experience. This way, any mistake can be avoided that can happen due to the lack of details available. 

3. Saves Time and Minimizes Operational Expenses

Apart from saving money, HIM also saves time. It automates patient information and personal activities and saves valuable time by making services better for patients. It saves expenses, energy, and makes patient care coordinated. 

4. Enhances Patient Satisfaction

It adds value to the clinical process HIS and makes the daily job of working professionals easy. It also improves the patient's satisfaction, and thus, they rely more on service. 

5. Accessibility to Patient’s Details

According to WHO, 

“The Health Information System collects data from the health sector and other relevant sectors, analyses the data and ensures their overall quality, relevance and timeliness, and converts data into information for health-related decision-making.”

The more information you have, the better you can make decisions.

Concluding Note 

Health Informatics and Health Information Management make a strong impact on the healthcare sector. HIM also protects and analyzes thee data. They are an important resource for healthcare and deal with everything associated with the healthcare industry. 
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