Medical Informatics

Medical informatics is the use of computer-based technology with information management to provide patient care. We physicians have embraced many areas of computer technology but have been slow to apply our technology-based information management skills in the care of our patients. There are many reasons physicians have been reluctant to fully use the technology for patients, in spite of the laudable claims by politicians, the media, and various organizations [53]. First, as doctors we are trained to take a scientifically verifiable approach to any new process that affects our patients. From our journal clubs in residency training, we learned that every exciting claim is not what it appears to be. Facts and conclusions are not always true just because they were published in a journal or printed in a popular newspaper. Today our scientific approach is made even more difficult because of direct-to-consumer advertising by various healthcare vendors. As clinicians, we have a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to our patients to filter through the hype. We must carefully determine which programs, medications, and devices really improve patient care and patient safety [54]. Consequently, this deliberate approach is frequently misunderstood by many in the healthcare arena who do not understand why every doctor does not have an electronic medical record in his or her office. The medical informatics pressure on physicians will intensify in the near future. Financial cost is the second major reason for the average physician’s reluctance to fully adopt technology-based information management systems [55]. Doctors have seen a yearly decline in their reimbursement for patient services during the past decade. This financial decline has been combined with a loss of control in a healthcare environment that is highly regulated and dominated by managed care. There must be stronger incentives for physicians to increase their involvement [56].


Medical Informatics Independent Contractor Corporate Liability Provide Patient Care Deliberate Approach 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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