Like most health services around the world, the NHS is experiencing some very particular challenges: a growing and ageing population and, while the NHS strives to care for more people, it faces budget pressures and calls for efficiency.
Though there is no single silver bullet that could salve all these pressures, technology and digital transformation - when applied correctly - are proving themselves to be a means of helping health and social care bodies.
From booking hospital appointments online, to predicting illness through analysing huge collections of patient data with AI; digital tools and technologies are enabling efficiency and saving lives. Outside health and care, citizens’ relationships with digital technology is changing. People now expect products and services to be available when they need them. As young people become economically independent and active, the pressure on organisations to be just a tap or click away will only grow.
To meet these expectations, organisations of all sizes and types are embarking on digital transformation programmes. These go beyond buying new hardware and writing new software – they’re questioning and redesigning their cultures, processes, objectives and working practices too. Within a health and social care setting, the combination of all these factors – cost saving, speed, availability of technology and the need to transform safely – are the concern of informaticians. As a profession, health informatics offers a huge and exciting array of jobs and roles.
What is a health informatician?
A health informatician is someone who helps patients, staff and citizens through the use of technology. People who work in health informatics develop, manage and maintain IT systems. They might also be responsible for departmental and patient data.
Whatever their role, all these people have one common goal: benefiting the staff within health institutions and, in turn, the patient.
Informatics includes several branches of professionals including:
- clinical and biomedical.
The Federation for Informatics Professionals (FEDIP) is the only public register for all UK informatics professionals who are dedicated to delivering better health and care through advanced use of technology. The goal of informatics as a profession and FEDIP as a professional body is to ensure the best and safest patient outcomes.
What do health informaticians do?
The role of a health informatician is broad. It sits at the point where innovation, implementation and application all meet.
Health informaticians assess communication systems linked to patient information and continuously improve and develop the healthcare experience. This strengthens external relationships and trust between the patient and the service provider.
All health informaticians use their patient care skills alongside their understanding of informatics to implement the following within their practices:
- Refining clinical processes.
- Developing and implementing clinical information and support systems.
- Leading transformation programmes to ensure the whole practice of health informatics sustains a smooth health process for employees and patients.
Technology and information
Health informatics is a combination of technology and information. Accurate information allows decisions to be made and technology allows the decision to be implemented. The outcome of these decisions is, of course, an improved environment for practitioners and better outcomes for patients.
What is the Federation for Informatics Professionals - FEDIP?
Across health and social care, the Federation for Informatics Professionals (FEDIP) brings individuals and organisations together to unlock potential in the informatics community. By joining the UK register, informatics practitioners can signal their commitment to professional standards and ensure that IT in health and social care is used for the benefit of everyone.