In the context of Health Informatics, which is more dangerous: the human being or the computer

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Health informatics lies at the intersection of a number of different facets of modern medical care: information science, medicine and healthcare. Health informatics "deals with the sources, devices and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval and use of information in health and biomedicine" (Linux, 2006).


Human beings are, in some senses at least, the most important elements of health informatics, and thus, when something goes wrong - the most dangerous. The most dangerous human element is the fact that information can be both entered incorrectly and then retrieved and thought to be correct. A domino effect thus occurs in which a single human mistake becomes a part of the system. As the human being is assumed to have entered the correct information, checks and failsafe systems do not tend to work with these kinds of problems. Thus a single piece of forgetfulness might suggest that a patient can take a drug when in fact she is allergic to it, with perhaps fatal results (IMIA, 2006).
Arguments suggesting that human beings are not the most dangerous elements of health informatics include the fact that a single human being can only contribute a finite number of mistakes to the system. Even if someone was, in a hypothetical case, deliberately falsifying records within a particular health informatics system, many other people would be inputting as well. While human beings are likely to make mistakes, other human beings are likely to discover those mistakes.
The argument for computers being the most dangerous is based upon two foundations. ...
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