How might the data entered about an individual patient help to build preventative care and treatment for whole populations?
The Dual Nature of Informatics
Informatics can be used for improving health outcomes not only for individual patients, but also for whole groups of patients with similar conditions. This is often referred to as the dual nature of informatics. Technologies, such as electronic health records (EHRs) and clinical decision support (CDS) systems, can provide insights and guidance for health care professionals at the point of care. In addition, data warehousing and mining allow health care organizations to use the vast amount of information stored in EHRs to make predictions and diagnoses for other patients with similar conditions.
In this Discussion, you examine the dual nature of informatics. First, you review a scenario and consider the patient information to be collected and recorded at the point of care. Then, you decide how this information could be aggregated for population health and future use.
Consider the following scenario:
Mrs. Jones has come into your office stating that she has been experiencing frequent dizzy spells. She also reports that she has been unable to eat anything substantial over the last few days due to extreme nausea. The last time Mrs. Jones was in your office, the physician had suggested she start walking around the block or bicycling around the neighborhood to get her activity level up. Mrs. Jones admits that she did very little of that after a “ flip-flop” feeling of her heart scared her. You know that her symptoms could be a result of many conditions. Following the prompts on your informatics system, you begin to gather more specific information about Mrs. Jones’ symptoms and health history.
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