In today’s overburdened healthcare system, doctors and healthcare providers are relying on ways in which patients can become proactive in their own treatment plans. Not only does this cut down on the amount of time in which patients spend in hospitals and doctors’ offices but outcomes are being positively impacted as well. In order to understand this phenomenon, it’s important to understand what CHI, Consumer Health Informatics, are and how patients can benefit from the technology.
A Brief Rundown on CHI
Let’s start at the beginning here. Consumer Health Informatics can be summed up quite quickly as simply the sharing of information between the patient and his or her doctor via a digital device. Typically this is a wearable that communicates via a mobile device. The information collected by the wearable is transmitted to the doctor’s office, or other healthcare provider, to be interpreted by someone on staff. If all is well, no contact need be made.
If there is a problem, the staff will contact the patient to discuss options going forward such as an office visit or trip to the ER. The professional who either programs the digital device or is responsible for gathering and recording information probably has an advanced degree in health informatics from a school such as the University of Illinois at Chicago. It is an up and coming field of study and one that is having a profound impact on the future of healthcare around the globe.
Cutting Wait Times and Cost Providing Better Outcomes
Many times patients won’t go for a recheck if there is a problem, post op for example, because of the wait time for both an appointment and in the office. Other times the cost is prohibitive on the healthcare facility’s end and so CHI communications save both time and money. The patient is wearing a device that tracks blood pressure after heart surgery and if something goes askew, the wearable communicates with the provider, the patient is brought in immediately and proper diagnostics are run. It’s the way of the future in an already overburdened healthcare system with too few resources and a severe shortage of staff.
A Bright Future for Health Informatics Careers
Any student who is interested in computer science health care or health informatics really has a bright career ahead of him or her. According to the BLS, Bureau of Labor Statistics and leading universities around the country, health informatics as a career has a future forecast to grow many, many times faster than the national average of ALL other careers. It’s surprisingly at the top, one of the fastest growing careers in the world. Again, because of a severe shortage of healthcare professionals and funding, Consumer Health Informatics is providing better outcomes because patients are taking a proactive part in their own treatments.
Whether you are into programming for the development of new apps or are into analyzing key metrics collected, there is a future for you, especially with a masters in health care informatics. In the meantime, to date the industry is growing by leaps and bounds and all preliminary research indicates that having the ability to communicate with patients in real time is saving lives and providing outcomes that were not possible prior to this technology. That’s how Consumer Health Informatics is impacting healthcare. It’s reducing wait times, speeding diagnoses and saving money while filling in, to some extent, for a system that is short of professionals. A huge impact to say the least.