Health care Informatics: data, information, knowledge, and wisdom

Health care informatics, as defined by Englebardt and Nelson, 2002, is the study of how health care data, information, knowledge, and wisdom are collected, stored, processed, communicated, and used to support the process of health care delivery to clients, providers, administrators, and organizations involved in health care delivery. There are many variations of this definition, all with ultimately the same meaning. The statement that effectively explains the importance of this field is by Hannah, Ball, and Edwards, 1999, that stated, health care informatics, is truly interdisciplinary. In its truest form it focuses on the care of the patient, not a specific discipline. Therefore, even though there are specific bodies of knowledge for each health care profession, they all interface at the patient. The increasing awareness health care organizations are developing towards the informatics discipline is proving its value. I realize it is an evolving discipline and will continue to progress and grow in correlation with technology and the electronic medical record. Information systems, information technology, information literacy, information management-information is all around us every day. Understanding how to evaluate the information available is critical to deciphering the true unbiased detail of the data. Although there is no control of the validity of data available on the Internet and the fact that there is an abundance of information, doesn’t necessarily mean the information on the subject is valid. Following criteria designed to evaluate information, will help an individual find and use quality information. Some criteria to use: is the source or authority reliable; is the data current; is it organized logically and easy to navigate; is it objective and free of bias; and is the data accurate and error-free. Developing a checklist and a form to assist with data collecting and decision making will serve as tools to enhance the evaluation of on-line material. In this age, information is plentiful. Understanding how to collect and process information is vitally important. One simply must be information literate.

Online Education Health Care Informatics Certificate Program

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