Health Information Systems

Using health information technology to tackle your personal health details is a vital part of our changing health care face. You and your doctor can handle your health care issues better by enhancing the communication with each other and maintaining your health information.

Using computers as well as other electronic tools makes it easy for a patient, doctor, and other health care providers to store, access and share health information. Using computers in this sector is known as Health Information Technology or Health IT.

Using Health Information Technology

Health information technology can be useful for:            

  • Cutting down paperwork by terminating the need for written medical records.
  • Reducing medical errors by retaining correct information electronically and diminishing errors due to illegible doctor’s handwriting.
  • Diminishing health care costs by reducing the need for repeated medical tests by various doctors and reducing storage space and time to organize medical records.
  • Enhancing your quality of care by diminishing medical errors and ensuring that all your health care providers have correct and timely information.

Although HIT has several utilities throughout our healthcare process, three important types of health IT may affect in the coming future as more consumers are using personal health records (PHRs) and more medical professionals rely on electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic prescribing (e-Rx).

Personal Health Records                                     

Your personal health record (PHR) is an online document with details in terms of your health that you updated frequently for easy reference. Using your PHR, you can manage your family’s health information, such as the tentative date of your children’s vaccines, last routine exam, important ailment and operations, a list of family medicines or allergies.

Many PHRs are simple to use and may be given free from your health plan, the government, your physician’s clinic, and private institutions. Some annual or monthly fee is also charged by some PHR companies.

Since you can access, collect, view, organize, and share your health information electronically, having a PHR will enable you to take a more effective role in handling your own health care.

Electronic Health Records

An electronic health record (EHR) is details based on computer that is used by your doctor, your doctor’s staff members, or a clinic. An EHR carries health information from your doctor and other medical care providers. A general EHR has information about your health conditions, allergies, tests, treatments, and medications.

Many EHRs can linked with your health care providers outside your doctor’s clinic such as specialists, labs, facilities (X-rays, MRIs, CT Scans), and the local hospital. This gives your doctor a complete idea to share fresh information with your other medical providers and gaining fast and easy access to your tests and other information.

It can held lower the possibility of medical errors and may help enhance the quality of your health care.

Also, some EHRs have medical alerts that remind your doctor for conducting certain tests or follow some procedures.

Electronic Prescribing

Electronic prescribing or e-prescribing (eRx) is a method used by your doctor and other health care providers to transmit your medicines to your pharmacy electronically. Instead of writing out a prescription and asking you carry it to your drugstore; your doctor instructs your medication through the office computer, which then provides a secure electronic prescription to your pharmacist.

Electronic prescribing helps to:

  • eliminate errors due to your doctor’s or pharmacist’s illegible handwriting or your
  • terminate the chances of harmful drug interactions by letting your doctor know that the drugs being asked for may interact with a medication already in use
  • enable your doctor to see what medicines are on your health plan’s drug formulary to make sure the drug being ordered is covered

Privacy and Security Issues

In the coming days, all of your health information will be electronically available, not only to you and your doctor but also to other health care providers.

Because many organizations and persons may have access to health details there is threat to privacy and security of health information technology tools. Over the past many years several security breaches have been registered in hospitals and doctors’ clinics. Accessibility to your personal information may enable thieves to avail the medical services in your name.

Implementing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, the federal government has laid strict rules to protect the privacy and security of your electronic details. This health information system (HIPAA) gives you rights of your health information and sets rules and limits on who can trace and receive your health information.

Nutrition Information

There are seven major types of nutrients we should take or else face serious illness and even death threats. They are vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, water, minerals, fats, and fiber.


Fat is categorized as saturated or unsaturated. Generally, saturated fats are solids at room temperature while unsaturated fat is in the form of liquid. Unsaturated fats may further be classified as poly-unsaturated or mono-unsaturated.


Dietary fibers are mainly consists of cellulose that is not digestible as we do not have enzymes necessary to digest it. Fruits and vegetables are rich source of fiber. Dietary fiber is necessary because it gives bulk to the intestinal stuff and stimulates peristalsis.


About 70% of the non-fat part of the human body is consists of water. Food is the major source of water intake, while rest of the water intake is fulfilled from drinking water and beverages. Water is excreted from the body in several ways; through urine and feces, by exhalation of water vapor in the breath, and through sweating.


Minerals are the chemical components needed by living organisms, and are present in common organic molecules. They include macro-minerals like calcium, magnesium, and sodium, as well as trace minerals such as cobalt, copper, chromium, iodine, iron, manganese, nickel and zinc.


Carbohydrates take longer to metabolize because their sugar units are processed one-by-one. Simple carbohydrates are processed fast and thus raise blood sugar levels faster resulting in intense increases in blood insulin levels than complex carbohydrates.


Protein is made of amino acids that are important for our body's structural materials like muscles, hair and skin. The body needs amino acids to create new body protein replacing damaged proteins that are lost in the urine. Amino acid can be classified in terms of essential and non-essential amino acids. Taking food containing adequate amounts of essential amino acids is specifically important for growing animals.


As of 2005, twelve vitamins and the same number of minerals are considered as "essential nutrients", which must be consumed and absorbed in nutritional supplement form to prevent deficiency symptoms and death.

Health informatics

Development in information technologies is revolutionary change in every sector including the health sector. In fact, application of health IT in the hospitals and different other health care centers has started benefiting the people around the world. This is basically because health information technologies can help not only in effective organization and secured exchange of medical data but also in uplifting quality and access to health care at point of time.

Challenges before the Health Care Industry

Despite its visible benefits, application of ITs techniques in the genre of health care has been quite slow which is explicit from the meager amount of budget that they keep for expenditure in IT sector. This is specifically true in the developing countries. For example, IT spending of even tier I hospitals in India is only 2% of revenue. Besides low budget, health professionals have to deal with other challenges of integrating IT because of dearth of adequate education and training, lack of access to right hardware and glitches in the operation of different medical devices.


Albeit the method of assimilation of the information and communication technologies has been slow in different parts of the globe, its significance cannot be denied anywhere. Realizing the potential of health care IT, a specific career called Medical Informatics that concentrates on handling medical and care through information science and technology has now started making surges in the career market. A parallel industry in uplifting health IT equipments is also growing fast. Willingness to integrate at least the important technologies and required aid from the government sector as health care is a basic necessity of the day.