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
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:
Last Updated: 10 August 2006.