Technology, Informatics & Health Care: A New Model

Posted on February 17, 2016 by


The latest featured article in the current issue of ANS presents a new dynamic model of health informatics.  It is titled “Empowered Consumers and the Health Care Team: A Dynamic Model of Health Informatics,” authored by Peggy J. Mancuso, PhD, RN, CNM and Sahiti Myneni, PhD. The article is available for free download while it is featured!  One of the peer reviewers of this article made this comment about the manuscript: “This is one of the best presentations of the ‘big picture’ of health informatics that I have seen and, if published, is likely to be extremely valuable to students and providers as they work with consumers to make meaning out of their health data.”  Here is a message from Dr. Mancuso (pictured above) about this work:

We humans use models to help us understand complexity.  This model is based upon the philosophical assumption that the consumer/patient/community is both the conscious contributor and recipient of healthcare services and science.  Technological progression based upon computer science, the Internet, and ways of measurement has changed the context within which we practice.  The model illustrates “technology” as an ever-changing wave.  We may predict (to a certain extent) the direction of the wave, but the specific changes are experienced more than predicted – somewhat like our ability to predict the weather or other complex systems.

Informatics serves as a translation vehicle to help with the technology/human interface.  Biological informatics can be structured through the methods of exploration.  There are the “omics” – within and without – based upon atomic-molecular-chemical methods.  There is the science associated with imagery (translation into “pixels”), ranging from microscopic processes to geospatial imagery.  Trackers are those devices we wear that can give us a picture of our physiology/psychology 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Our relationship with these devices changes how we behave.

Informatics or the science of relationship of the human to technology/computers is the “poster child” for interprofessional practice, although how health professions use technology may be discipline specific.  “Interoperability” among software systems, particularly electronic health records, is a major concern for informatics.  Nevertheless, the “interoperability” among health care professionals – or the team-science of informatics is fundamental.  This wave of technology changes how we work together.  I remain optimistic that through technological change, science, and “wisdom” in application, humankind will be healthier in every sense of the word.

Dr. Mancuso explains the model in this 8-minute video!