2 September 2020
Although often joined together, into a singular phrase, health and care are their own discrete concepts. Indeed, I am guilty of bunging the two into one neat package and never truly thinking what each individual word entails.
So, before any of us, myself included, can fully appreciate how technology, research or any of such noble endeavours are used to benefit our NHS, it is important to first know which systems, exactly, they are furthering.
So, before delving any deeper, it is perhaps easiest to first define what both health and care mean, namely in the context of our health care system, and how these concepts come together to improve both the quality and length of our lives.
Health is defined as “the state of being free from illness or injury”1 whereas Care is regarded as “the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something”2
It is easy now to see how the words ‘health’ and ‘care’ are used synonymously. Both domains are so intertwined that it is likely you will experience both, when being treated, without realising. Indeed, it is impossible to successfully achieve optimal health without having care and visa versa. Ultimately, the health and care components of our healthcare system combine to ensure the best physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing of all patients involved across all facilities.
Now the roles of our health and care systems have been established, it is equally important to consider how technology, namely informatics, has advanced the way they have been shaped and practiced. It would be impossible to discuss all ways in which IT has impacted our medical system in a singular post, thus I will outline just a few.
- Computing has allowed for live tracking of disease progression, both locally and globally,3 providing insight on prospective pandemic outbreaks, in turn allowing our healthcare facilities to be better prepared for patients.
- Digitalisation of medical records means that health and care facilities across the country, at the click of a button, have instantaneous access to your patient notes allowing for immediate optimal treatment.4
- The use of computers has allowed for health and care consultations to be delivered remotely. During this recent pandemic, and for many individuals living rurally, such digital developments have been revolutionary, allowing access to care that previously would have been impossible.3
Now, just to reiterate, the list is of course far more substantial and one I hope to elaborate further on over the coming months.
And so, this marks the end of my introductory blogs, with future posts aiming to address particularly pertinent topics, ranging from informatics’ role in improving medical equality to computing’s role in safeguarding medical data. I warmly welcome any suggestions for future discussions from my readers and hope that together we can better understand and thus advocate the essential role of informatics in our health and care systems, and thus modern-day society.
- LEXICO. Meaning of health in English [Accessed 28th August 2020].
- LEXICO. Meaning of care in English [Accessed 28th August 2020].
- Panth, M & Acharya, AS. The unprecedented role of computers in improvement and transformation of public health: an emerging priority. Indian J Community Med. 2015; 40(1):8-13.
- Burgos S. Medical information technologies can increase quality and reduce costs. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2013; 68(3):425.
About the author
I achieved a First-Class Honours in Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 2017. Following this, I worked in the Clinical Neuroscience Department at The University of Cambridge. I am currently in my third year of studying Medicine at The University of Glasgow. I am interested in the role of online platforms in medical education and science communication and research.
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