At the present time, health informatics represents one of the fastest-growing areas in healthcare. It is concerned with the effective use of information and technology in order to provide improved care for patients. Despite the range of positive developments and advantages associated with health technology use, it cannot be considered the essential tool that aids in successful patient management. Health informatics is not perfect and entail errors in health management, which can lead to mistakes in treatment and medication, which can have adverse effects on the health of patients.
The computerization of healthcare has been attributed to the overall digitalization of services within society. Electronic health records have become the answer to such issues as patients not being able to contact their physicians directly or scheduling appointments remotely (Manca, 2015). Nevertheless, it is important to consider the disadvantages of health IT, such as financial challenges, changes in workflow, the loss of productivity on a temporary basis, errors, and privacy and security issues, all of which can have a detrimental impact on health management. For instance, the management of EHR can be costly to facilities, with the need to replace hardware and maintain software continuously up-to-date (Evans, 2016). In addition, the adoption of technologies in healthcare requires learning and adjustment, which results in the disruption of professionals’ work and their subsequent effectiveness at treating their patients.
Errors in the use of health care information technologies can occur when systems are considered to be malfunctioning, which means that they are available but not working correctly, which results in users not being able to accomplish the desired task. In this case, errors are often the results of bugs, software defects, which makes it impossible for end-users to enter or review relevant data, including mistakes that cause the data to be entered, displayed, stored, or transferred incorrectly. An example of such a mistake is a miscalculation in the system. A clinician may enter the weight of the patient in kilograms into the electronic system, and the weight-based algorithm can fail to convert the weight into pounds before calculating an appropriate dosage of medication. As a result, the system provides a recommendation for a dosage that is almost two times too small for the patient, which may lead to the ineffectiveness of the pharmacological treatment and the subsequent deterioration of the patient’s condition. The same situation can work the other way, with the system failing to convert pounds into kilograms, resulting in a two-fold overdose, which can be potentially life-threatening to the patient taking the medication.
In conclusion, it is essential to note that the rapid advances in the sphere of health information technologies have complicated the landscape of healthcare safety issues. Even though there is an abundance of advantages to using health information technologies, missing or erroneous data resulting from system faults leads to adverse events for patients and unnecessary costs for healthcare facilities. Because such errors can often occur after implementation, merely increasing the oversight of health information technologies is not enough. There should be consistent and systematic efforts aimed at reviewing the effectiveness of health information systems to ensure that the needs of patients and their providers are being met. Thus, considering the disadvantages of health informatics is essential for streamlining the care process and use technologies to the advantage of providers.
Evans R. S. (2016). Electronic health records: Then, now, and in the future. Yearbook of Medical Informatics, Suppl 1(Suppl 1), S48-S61.
Manca D. P. (2015). Do electronic medical records improve quality of care? Yes. Canadian Family Physician, 61(10), 846-851.