Informatics Must Make Healthcare Stronger AND More Compassionate

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 31, 2022) — Healthcare informatics is a growing field that focuses on the use of technology to manage patient data and improve the delivery of healthcare services. By changing how healthcare providers collect, store, retrieve, and analyze patient data, healthcare informatics can improve both accuracy and efficiency.

What is informatics

Kennesaw State University’s Master of Science in Healthcare Management and Informatics program launched in 2017 and prepares students to excel in this rapidly changing industry. ‘Strictly Business’ recently sat down with MSHMI alumni Solome Mekbib and Suzanne Potter, who both earned Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) scholarships during the program and received the Distinguished Award for Professional Achievement and Academia from Kennesaw State.

We asked Solome and Suzanne to talk about what informatics brings to healthcare. While they see that technology makes things better for patients, they also recognize its potential to turn patients into merely datapoints. The goal of healthcare informatics, they say, is to maintain the human element.

Solome Mekbib, Clinical Healthcare Analyst, University of Western States

Solome MekbibThe healthcare system is undergoing a digital revolution where its easy for patients to be treated in an assembly-line fashion. When I worked in a pharmacy, I experienced pharmacists who were so over-burdened by their day-to-day responsibilities that they did not have time to provide patient care.

While technology allows more prescriptions to be filled easily, the focus of healthcare should not be to sell more medications but rather to provide individual patient care and counseling, which helps patients better understand their conditions and how to treat them.

It became my career goal to work on a team dedicated to utilizing technological advancements to provide empathetic and efficient care rather than simply create business profit. My experiences in the MSHMI program have inspired me to pursue a career where I can improve healthcare informatics and help transform the healthcare system to be more patient centered.

Over the past several years I have served as a liaison between patients, physicians and pharmacies; visited clinics; participated in community outreach programs; and served as an intermediator between pharmacists and patients.

Simple digitization and computerization will not be enough to address the growing labyrinth and complexity of effective health care delivery. Health Informatics is in its infancy and it is our job as professionals to use it to create a fully patient-centered system.

Suzanne Potter, Clinical Informatics Specialist at WellStar Health Systems

Suzy PotterTechnology is quickly changing the way healthcare is delivered. Health informatics helps ensure that part of that change results in better efficiency, coordination, and improved patient care. With technology becoming a critical aspect of healthcare, those people who are proficient in healthcare informatics are in demand.

Healthcare providers need people trained to bridge the gap between disciplines and communicate technical information to several audiences efficiently. By completing the MSHMI program, I gained an understanding of these concepts, as well as a familiarity with the information systems pertaining to healthcare organizations and their impact.

As a clinical informatics specialist, I act as a liaison facilitating communication between the clinical end-users and technical experts. I help medical staff maintain clinical policies and procedures related to computerized documentation to ensure compliance. The goal is to improve patient outcomes by collecting information to make sure the best possible care is provided throughout the hospital.

Keeping Healthcare Focused on Patient Care

Healthcare informatics plays a direct role in patient care. Accurate, accessible data can arm doctors with the information to better diagnose and treat patients, and can help guarantee patients successfully monitor their conditions over time. While the potential is there to turn medicine into an assembly line, the work of dedicated healthcare informatics professionals like Solome and Suzanne will ensure that the focus is always on providing the best experience for patients.

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