A Brief History and Overview of Health Informatics
This first chapter provides a brief history of some, but certainly not all, of the key subdomains within the health informatics field and further explains the potential significance of the FHIR standard that will occupy much of the rest of the book. To do this, the chapter begins with a discussion of early electronic records and clinical decision support tools and then shifts gears to introduce the concept of health information exchange. Later, we discuss interoperability challenges that date back decades and the various ways that existing technologies have been used, sometimes with limited success, to simplify and coordinate the sharing of information among providers. The chapter ends with the premise that widespread adoption of modern web technologies (and FHIR in particular) is transforming health informatics. To help illustrate this the chapter ends with a demonstration FHIR app developed by a team of Georgia Tech students did using these emerging technologies to help predict the onset of a life threatening condition in ICU patients.