It is the rational study of the way we think about patients, and the way that treatments are defined, selected and evolved. It is the study of how clinical knowledge is created, shaped, shared and applied. Ultimately, it is the study of how we organise ourselves to create and run healthcare organizations." (Coiera, 2003, 1) Health informatics is about clinical guidelines, information and communication systems as Internet, formal health languages. However, all this is only a means to achieve the goal - to deliver the best healthcare possible. Advances in computer technology fuelled the growth and importance of health informatics as a clinical discipline, which resulted in new ability to manipulate health knowledge at fundamentally higher abstract level and to develop effective communication systems to support and take care of the healthcare process. Thus, health informatics can be defined as "the study of information and communication systems in healthcare." (Coiera, 2003, 3)
There are a lot of directions in which healthcare I...
ent and an important supplementary tool for other purposes, newly emerging active RFID is very well suited for tracking the flow of patients and personnel as well as physical assets. (Hagland, 2005) The electronic health record (EHR) is fast progressing toward its adoption. EHR is "the deep, digitized, contextual and lifelong patient record that clinicians can access in-house to facilitate better care" which can be accessed and added to by patients without their being able to edit or change machine- or physician-generated data. (Featherly, 2005, p. 42) In order to identify high-risk patients disease management programs are used these days, which use computerized patient registries with patient-service checklists and even electronic alerts on patients who miss tests or services. So disease management is another facet of modern healthcare, which includes programs that combine "patient education, behavioral-change initiatives and clinical care regiments that help providers, patients and payers achieve the long-term goals of chronic care." (Tabar, 2005, p. 38) Biosurveillance (syndromic surveillance) software is going to take an important place in healthcare, being able to identify contagious disease outbreaks with great precision and accuracy. It has the huge potential and advantage for public health officers, as biosurveillance software is able to detect disease outbreaks an average 18 days sooner than human experts can. It is a perfect tool to detect bioterrorism. (Baldwin, 2005) These are only few out of practically limitless possibilities in health informatics field. Among other possible developments are integration and interoperability of picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), IT and biomedical devices, patient-centric portals, telehealth etc.