We all agree, Medicine has become a very complex interdisciplinary science, where many people are involved in medical care, as well as before and after it. Since the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) emerged, there has been a connection, an inevitable convergence between one science branch and another. That synergy is what we call Health Informatics. There is only one step left to the next link.
Should IT be satisfied with helping medicine when an illness arises? and why not prevent and treat overall health and well-being? From there we get a better vision: HEALTH INFORMATICS. That is one of Flash Data’s social goals.
INSTITUTIONS WE HAVE COLLABORATED WITH
In order to exchange knowledge in this area, Flash Data as a corporation and its members, have long participated in the most recognized associations projects, such as:
- Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)
- American Telemedicine Association (ATA)
- Association of Telehealth Service Providers (ATSP)
- International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth (ISfTeH)
- Spanish Society for Health Informatics (SEIS)
- American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
- American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
This activity has led us into contact with the main world references in Health Informatics. We access privileged information that impacts our products, solutions and services. We invite you to study carefully the role of these organizations. Think about this, as a result of their work, a path is being prepared for the Information Society and its relationship with Medicine and Health in the coming decades.
AN INTRODUCTION TO HEALTH INFORMATICS
Medicine has been practiced since the earliest days of civilization. Computer science is a 60-year-old technology. On the other hand, the biomedical professional requires a high training over many years to master (and continue to master) the knowledge of his or her specialty. For IT to serve biomedicine it must be served by professionals who understand both “worlds”. We all agree, moreover, that medicine and IT are among the most demanding sectors in terms of continuous training and recycling, which complicates the connection between the two worlds. While separate computer science or biomedical careers and postgraduate degrees are well settled, the combination of the two is currently difficult. Reasons are not lacking:
The biomedical professional already finds his career long and exciting as to step into new knowledge fields.
Without enough computer training, such professionals may be forced to rely on computer scientists’ skills to understand their specifications, algorithms and needs.
From an IT point of view, the lack of biomedical knowledge leads to a long learning curve, project by project, sometimes after many test and failure, to reach the right solutions from the other side.
Some of the common interest biomedicine computer technologies are completely alien to biomedical practice. Other knowledge fields could be called borders, with common grounds. Let’s quote some of them: Security. Or the way to ensure that biomedical information is only seen by those who have the right to do it, auditing who does what with it. This requires encryption technologies, secure transfer and auditing algorithms.
- Knowledge management. Or data mining, or datawarehousing. We mean how to be able to store the huge information amount from biomedical practice and then be able to process it and get the knowledge we are looking for. Neural networks, fuzzy logic.
- Math. Bayesian statistics. Mathematically-oriented computer languages, such as S-language and Fortran .NET R-language. Application of computer tools for molecular and genetic information
- Medical standards. SNOMED, HL7, PACS, DICOM and a long etcetera. The problem is that computer scientists would like everything to be a “0” or a “1”. Real medicine describes a situation as “patient with acute abdominal pain”. What is ‘acute pain’, ‘0’ or ‘1’? Computer science cannot restrict medicine, and medicine needs to set standards that have not yet been universalized.
- Information supports. For about a century, medicine has been allied with paper. Patient’s medical record in written format was born. The computer science needs to collaborate to get the Electronic Medical Record. This includes the mastery of hardware devices… electronic ink, “mobile” computing, or unwired computing. Standardization.
Challenges to current training efforts in Health Informatics (MI):
Sí que hay cThere are indeed MI courses. Especially in American universities. Also, something is starting in Spain. An overview of the numerous offered curriculums reveals the following:
A wide and elementary range of computer technologies is taught to the student, who is expected to be a novice in these subjects.
- He is instructed on a wide and elementary range of computer technologies, since he is intended to be a neophyte in these subjects.
- Web site development.
- How to search online.
- How a computer works.
- How to search online.
- Features, specifications and computer systems performance are often taught, rather than teaching how to BUILD such systems.
Result: biomedical professionals are now more capable of interacting with computer scientists after these courses. But they are not usually in a position to BUILD the programs they need. We are not saying that doctors should develop software; neither computer scientists should learn to read X-rays. What we’re really talking about is SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT. It looks like the main protagonists should be the last ones, with suitable skills in their interest subject technologies and under an appropriate approach. At Flash Data we feel a “little bit” proud to fight in this ring. If health informatics is your fight, don’t fight alone, join us in the development of the Information Society in the field of Health and Well-being.