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The emergence of modern technologies has empowered different professionals to design powerful applications and systems for improving health outcomes. Public health informatics is a field that has been catalyzed by this technological development. This concept focuses on public health systems and applications that can support the needs of communities and populations. Public health informatics also includes a wide range of interventions that are outside the medical care system. This paper gives a detailed analysis of public health informatics.
Public Health Informatics Application and Human “Users”
Aziz (2017) acknowledges that public health informatics is a field that entails the application of information technology (IT) in any particular manner that is aimed at improving or promoting people’s health outcomes. This discipline is meaningful since it has been expanded to include any form of intervention embraced within the wide field of public health to maximize people’s outcomes (Coye, 2016). This means that the field covers numerous initiatives and models that are applied inside and outside healthcare settings.
From this kind of argument, it becomes quite clear that the public health informatics involve a human “user” that interacts with public health informatics applications. For instance, any kind of technology that has been designed to promote people’s health outcomes can be described as public health informatics. Sepulveda (2014) indicates that the field of public health informatics has suffered significantly due to the inability of different professionals to appreciate modern inventions that have the potential to mitigate various health problems. This gap explains why it has been impossible for many societies and communities to create effective healthcare delivery systems to prevent and/or treat various illnesses.
From this analysis, it is evident that public health informatics is a wide area that goes beyond contemporary applications within the medical care delivery system (Laxman, Krishnan, & Dhillon, 2015). A good example of a powerful intervention that goes beyond this system is the anti-lock braking system (ABS) technology. There are various reasons that can be used to explain why ABS technology should be considered as a powerful public health informatics application. The first one is that the concept embraces the use of modern technologies. That being the case, vehicles fitted with ABS systems can be stopped control and in a short duration without losing stability or control. The second reason is that the increasing braking efficiency can minimize accidents. This technology, therefore, plays a crucial role in addressing a major public health issue that continues to affect many societies (Laxman et al., 2015). This argument, therefore, supports the fact that public health informatics will cover other forms of technological intervention that are outside the medical care model or system.
Public health surveillance systems require competent persons to monitor the prevalence and incidence of different diseases or conditions. These applications are usually adopted in different countries to monitor, predict, and implement powerful disease control mechanisms. Such systems are usually employed as powerful apps whereby individuals, agencies, and communities share information and data. This information is then used to develop powerful systems for addressing various diseases and improving the health outcomes of every population (Coye, 2016). That being the case, the information technology underlying public health surveillance systems should be considered as a public health informatics application.
The second example revolves around the adoption and use of the SSR Airbag System. Coye (2016) acknowledges that this technology has played a crucial role in protecting vehicle occupants and drivers whenever accidents occur. It is agreeable that this technology is not applied in a clinical setting. This system has been embraced by a number of car manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai. Through the use of this technology, individuals involved in accidents tend to sustain minor or treatable injuries. Additionally, the number of deaths recorded due to road accidents has reduced significantly due to the application of the technology (Asokan & Vanitha, 2015). It is agreeable that the technology underlying the SSR Airbag System should be described as public health informatics technology.
The third example revolves around the use of the Internet to deliver timely content and information to different readers. It is agreeable that the Internet has created a powerful platform for launching different websites and databases that educate, encourage, and guide members of the public to transform their lifestyles, eat healthy foods, and protect themselves from various conditions such as obesity (Abaidoo & Larweh, 2014). That being the case, any form of application or website that uses this kind of model can be described as public health informatics technology.
This discussion explained why modern health professionals should be on the frontline to empower and guide more people to embrace the power of public health informatics. This move will encourage innovators to come up with a wide range of applications that can prevent and treat a wide range of diseases or conditions. The ultimate goal should, therefore, be to expand the public health informatics field to meet the health needs of every community or population.
Abaidoo, B., & Larweh, B. T. (2014). Consumer health informatics: The application of ICT in improving patient-provider partnership for a better health care. Online Journal of Public Health Informatics, 6(2), e188-e204. Web.
Asokan, G. V., & Vanitha, A. (2015). Leveraging “big data” to enhance the effectiveness of ‘‘one health’’ in an era of health informatics. Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health, 5, 311-314. Web.
Aziz, H. A. (2017). A review of the role of public health informatics in healthcare. Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences, 12(1), 78-81. Web.
Coye, M. J. (2016). Informatics: The frontier of innovation in health and healthcare. Engineering, 2(1), 37-39. Web.
Laxman, K., Krishnan, S. B., & Dhillon, J. (2015). Barriers to adoption of consumer health informatics applications for health self management. Health Science Journal, 9(5), 1-7.
Sepulveda, M. (2014). Public health informatics and the public health workforce in an era of change. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 47(5S3), S386-S387. Web.