Health Informatics and E-Health
The Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) defines health informatics as the science and practice around information in health that leads to informed and assisted health care. 'Informed' here means 'that the right information about the subject (consumer, patient or population) together with relevant health knowledge, is available at the right time and in a form that allows it to be used. 'Assisted' here means 'that the job of the health care worker is made safer and easier and that the health consumer is supported in their decisions and actions'.
E-health, defined by the World Health Organisation as the combined use of electronic communication and information technology in the health sector, is a sub-discipline of health informatics.
Why study health informatics?
Australian Federal and State governments and health services are committed to e-health. Both State and Federal governments are supporting and facilitating a range of systems and services ranging from web-based information portals to mobile health applications, telehealth and the Personally Controlled E-Health Record (PCEHR). A skilled and knowledgeable health informatics workforce is essential to ensure the ongoing success of these programs (Health Information Workforce Report, October, 2013)
For health professionals
Health information management is central to the provision of effective and efficient health care, with information and communication technologies being increasingly the tools of choice. Used wisely these tools can facilitate the delivery of more effective, more efficient and more patient-oriented health care. Used badly they may waste time and money, create inefficiencies, and dehumanise our interactions with each other. Health workers who understand and are able to utilise health informatics tools and applications will be more able to influence their use in practice and thereby ensure that they contribute to, rather than detract from health care.
For health informatics professionals
Health informatics is a discipline and profession in its own right. The health informatics professional works with a wide range of people, including consumers, health professionals, administrators, information technology professionals and vendors, in many instances playing a pivotal role as health information systems are developed, implemented and maintained. The health informatics professional therefore needs broad skills and knowledge which incorporates principals and applications of the information management, and an understanding of organisational culture, change management and innovation diffusion. The program at the University of Tasmania offers students the opportunity to develop these skills and knowledge, with a particular emphasis on the people aspects of health information management.
Laying the foundation for Professional Certification
The Certified Health Informatician Australasia (CHIA) certification program, introduced in July 2013, accredits health informatics professionals. The CHIA credential demonstrates that candidates meet specified core competencies deemed necessary for a health informatics professional to work safely and effectively in a range of healthcare settings. To be eligible for the CHIA program, you need an undergraduate degree plus five years of associated experience, or a post-graduate degree plus three years of associated experience. The University of Tasmania E-Health (Health Informatics) program provides the required eligibility. Many of our past students have successfully completed the CHIA certification program. Find out more about CHIA.