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The use of health information technology is associated with better health outcomes. With the aim of improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare organizations, the American government is stressing the importance of using health informatics including electronic health records to improve patient care (Yanamadala et al. 1). Public health informatics (PHI) is the field that optimizes the utilization of information with the purpose of improving individual and community health, health policy, health and biomedical services, and public health practices (Edmunds et al. 4). It operates the intersection of computer science and public health. The use of health informatics impacts population life expectancies in different ways.
PHI and Vaccination Coverage
One of the ways through which PHI impacts life expectancies is through its influence on childhood immunization. Au et al. explain that childhood vaccination rates are a significant determinant of pediatric care, which further determines the health of communities and mortality rates due to infections that can be prevented through immunizations (222). The use of health informatics in childhood vaccination has shown marked improvements in vaccination coverage, which is associated with reduced mortality rates and improved lifespan. Electronic immunization data facilitates the real-time or rapid identification of children requiring vaccines on a large scale compared to chart reviews (Stockwell and Fiks 1803). Additionally, most parents do not have complete records to reveal whether or not their children strictly receive vaccinations following the recommended guidelines, partly because of visiting more than one health care facility (Stockwell and Fiks 1803). The use of health informatics can eliminate the issue of having scanty records (Savel and Foldy 21). All the immunization data is put in one system that can be accessed in all care providing facilities. As a result, vaccination discrepancies are eliminated, and the immunization history of all children can be accessed by taking appropriate action.
PHI on Notifications and Health Information
Further, electronic records can be utilized in alerting both the parents, clinicians, and the general public to increase adherence to vaccinations, treatments, and healthy behaviors. Together with clinical alerts that are flexible and tailored, vaccination coverage in the United States has expanded to improve herd immunity against infections (Stockwell and Fiks 1804). Moreover, alerting clinicians, parents and the health system can help in identifying the level of adherence to vaccination in the society, which has facilitated public campaigns on the need to follow immunization schedules (Stockwell and Fiks 1804). The result is the improved immunity of the public against preventable infectious diseases resulting in improved lifespans and reduced mortality rates. Also, notifications and health information sharing through the use of emails, and smartphone calls and messages have reduced healthcare barriers, improved healthy lifestyles, and reduced emergency visits (Nyamawe and Seif 40). For instance, mobile technologies have been used in many countries to enhance effective communication between community members and the care providing institutions to promptly respond to emergency cases. PHI has further improved the sharing of health messages in communities, which is associated with better health outcomes such as the increase in life expectancies.
PHI is crucial in increasing life expectancies through the sharing of information to improve health outcomes. The increase of immunization coverage attributed to informatics improves herd immunity that, in turn, reduces the prevalence of preventable infections resulting in increased lifespan. Furthermore, health informatics has improved communication between care providers and the community. Such a thing has facilitated the sharing of health information and immediate responses to emergency care. All of the effects are associated with an increase in life expectancies.
Au, L., et al. “Utilizing an Electronic Health Record System to Improve Vaccination Coverage in Children.” Applied Clinical Informatics, vol. 1, no. 3, 2012, pp. 221-231.
Edmunds, Margo et al. “The Future of Public Health Informatics: Alternative Scenarios and Recommended Strategies.” eGEMs, vol. 2, no. 4, 2014, pp. 1-16.
Nyamawe, Ally S., and Hassan Seif. “The Role of ICT in Reducing Maternal and Neonatal Mortality Rate in Tanzania.” International Journal of Computer Applications, vol. 95, no. 13, 2014, pp. 39-42.
Savel, Thomas G., and Seth Foldy. “The Role of Public Health Informatics in Enhancing Public Health Surveillance.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summary, vol. 61, no. 2012, 2012, pp. 20-24.
Stockwell, Melissa S., and Alexander G. Fiks. “Utilizing Health Information Technology to Improve Vaccine Communication and Coverage.” Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, vol. 9, no. 8, 2013, pp. 1802-1811.
Yanamadala, Swati et al. “Electronic Health Records and Quality of Care: An Observational Study Modeling Impact on Mortality, Readmissions, and Complications.” Medicine, vol. 95, no. 19, 2016, pp. 1-6.