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Informatics requires the use of computer systems to collect, analyse, store and transmit information. These computer systems consist of software, hardware and communication networks. All these work in harmony to produce a seamless integrated system that can carry out specialised and non-specialised functions.

Computer systems (and their components) used in healthcare, because they handle patient data, have to adhere to laws that protect patient confidentiality. In the UK, the Data Protection Act and the European Directive on Data Protection provide confidentiality of data used in healthcare computer systems.While in the US, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) provides the protection for patient data.


Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is a non-profit organisation that is involved in the development of healthcare information systems and their website is a good source of information of such systems.

Another organisation involved in healthcare technologies includes the non-profit ECRI, which examines the safety of available technologies currently in use within the healthcare sector. The Department of Health in the United Kingdom set up two programmes to monitor healthcare technology acquisitions - Health Technology Assessment (HTA), which assesses and accredits technologies used within the National Health Service (NHS) and New and Emerging Applications of Technology (NEAT) which covers all areas of health and social care where new or innovative technological approaches can be developed.

The following themes would now be examined in respect to the technologies used in developing computer systems used in Informatics:



International Medical Informatics Association
American Medical Informatics Association
UK Health Informatics Society
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

Knowledge Center
Biomedical Informatics
Health Informatics
Healthcare Technologies
Hospital Information Systems

Healthcare Technologies Topics
The Data Protection Act 1998
The European Union Directive on Data Protection
Healthcare Technology Acquisition
Healthcare Technology Implementation
Enabling Healthcare Technologies
Emerging Healthcare Technologies

Last Updated: 10 August 2006.

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