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Healthcare Informatics Encourage Advanced HIT Infrastructure

AMIA's recent education plan encourages organizations to improve their healthcare informatics solutions to support data demands.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- AMIA launched a new public education plan earlier this month to emphasize the importance of healthcare informatics and the need for HIT infrastructure to support it.

The program aims to address the growing demand for knowledge in healthcare as the amount of data available for informatics continues to rise.

Healthcare informatics is key for research opportunities and discovering new and innovative insights into better patient care.

AMIA defined informatics as the science of how to use data, information, and knowledge to improve human health and the delivery of health care services. Informatics processes data for storage so it can be retrieved quickly and easily when it’s needed.

“Every day people benefit from informaticians’ ability to accelerate healthcare’s transformation by collecting, analyzing and applying data directly to care decisions,” said AMIA. “Data produced throughout health and healthcare are the driving force of informatics and its ability to innovate critical advancements that directly benefit people.”

The campaign features informatics professionals sharing their research and the impact it’s had on defining healthcare informatics.

“Informatics has reached a tipping point in its growth,” AMIA President and CEO Douglas B. Fridsma, MD, PhD, FACP, FACMI said in a statement. “Using insights obtained from data throughout health and healthcare is the driving force of informatics and its ability to innovate critical advancements that directly benefit people. We need to share this story widely to continue transforming healthcare.”

Healthcare organizations looking to embrace advanced infrastructure for informatics need to be sure that their current IT infrastructure is prepared to handle the influx of data.

AMIA acknowledges that without the proper health IT infrastructure, modern informatics cannot be successful.

Health IT tools and solutions are what enables organizations to use informatics to their advantage and use it to advance patient treatments through research and analytics.

The amount of healthcare data collected and processed by organizations is growing exponentially as different devices collecting data are being added to health IT infrastructures. The rise in data calls for new ways of storing it, which often brings organizations to cloud storage.

Cloud storage offers a more flexible and scalable environment that is much more cost effective because organizations do not have to invest in on-premises servers to store all of their data.

Organizations can store their informatics data in the cloud several differ ways but object storage has become more popular as entities are looking to make their data more available.

Healthcare organizations face data storage and retrieval challenges. Entities must meet the demand for instantly available data while still maintaining compliance with industry regulations.

Object storage manages data as objects instead of files or blocks. Objects are kept in a storage pool that does not have a hierarchical structure.

Instead, object storage uses unique identifiers that allow data to be stored anywhere in the storage pool. Storing data using object storage gives healthcare organizations more possibilities for data analytics and offers a scalable infrastructure.

Key Information Systems Director of Cloud Service Clayton Weise sees potential in object storage to benefit the healthcare industry.

“Object storage provides an inexpensive way to store vast pools of data, multiple petabytes up to exabyte scale within a single space,” Weise explained to HITInfrastructure.com in a previous interview. “The data stored using object is always accessible. Object storage makes data retrieval far more convenient.”

Organizations with vast amounts of data collected over the years can greatly benefit from object storage, according to Weise. Object storage supports healthcare informatics because it gives organizations a convenient way to store their data and retrieve it as needed for analytics.

Healthcare informatics is a significant part of the future of healthcare and healthcare research. Entities need to ensure that they have the IT infrastructure in place to support current and future data demands.