Primary & Public Health Informatics

Primary & Public Health Informatics


Institutional Affiliation


Health informatics involves acquisition, utilization, and storage of information in healthcare, biomedical research and public health informatics and many facets of IT are widely used in the healthcare environment. Several Health information systems cover topics such as implementation of IT in the healthcare settings that involve significant decisions regarding patient care, clinical activities, network infrastructure and databases, patients’ privacy and security and all other IT related issues deemed vital in the healthcare environment (Harle & Menachemi, 2012). The idea of informatics triggers information that defines future approaches that improves information and knowledge management in clinical care, public health, and primary health through development, introduction, and evaluation of new bio-medically motivated methods in areas such as decision support.

Field of informatics is inherently interdisciplinary because it draws on a large number of other components such as computer science, information science, and organizational theory whose goal is motivated by the need to create new solutions using information technology. Some of the issues that health informatics focusses on are the health of the populace, quality and safety of care and other issues that have a wide applicability across all the applied domains in health care (National Health Informatics Conference, Grain & Schaper, 2013). Health informatics is therefore an applied research and practice of informatics across the clinical and public health domains and mostly focusses on scope and breadth of biomedical informatics, theory and methodology, technical approach and human and social context. Health informatics comprises many elements including records, information, and knowledge deemed essential in delivering reachable and convenient information to the users. Users of informatics generate, retrieve and use information to support healthcare and the general healthcare delivery, planning and public health hugely depend on good health informatics.


Informatics have made major contributions to clinical practice including delivering patient care, recording information in a patient’s record and reflection and learning. Health informatics has made information accessible to colleagues across the healthcare environment, for instance, technology provides very reliable and convenient information that can be utilized during consultations. Informatics has offered access to records in both primary and public care and patients can acquire information regarding their own health records and personal data. Moreover, information is usually keyed after it has been structured in a manner that clinical users and data analysts can fully understand and ensures accuracy in reporting and that health records can be retrieved at point of patient care. Reinforcing common clinical language across the professionals concerned as a way of maintaining consistency of medical terms as well as protecting the confidentiality of patients’ records by limiting access on the system.

Informatics hugely contributes to the professional development of healthcare staff as well as improving innovations in technology and access to ever-increasing sources of information online to support research. Informatics also offers straightforward access to sources of knowledge as well as audit information at the touch of a button. In addition, data collected within a healthcare setting aids research to encourage clinical practice and provides knowledge and tools that can help in collection, analysis, and interpretation of health care information. It is apparent that reflecting upon and learning about healthcare takes place every day for students and health care providers as technology brings people together to share information about health and healthcare (Pichardo et al, 2012). Health informatics play significant role in decision making, problem solving, resource allocation and enhances a move towards citizen centered information consistent with the government’s philosophy. Informatics have several benefits that include improved health outcomes through quality service delivery, availability of information, evidence based decision making, decision support and expert systems as well as security and confidentiality (Ellis & Howard, 2011). When it comes to patient care, health informatics can improve health outcomes and learning through research and development and providing access to specialist knowledge and skills as well as making services available to meet patient needs.

Public Health Informatics

Public health informatics is primarily an engineering discipline oriented to the accomplishment of specific tasks and it includes conceptualization, design, development, deployment, refinement, and information systems relevant to public health after applying knowledge from various fields (Pichardo et al, 2012). Some of the disciplines relevant to public health informatics include computer science, organizational theory and incorporate knowledge from different fields contributing to public health such as epidemiology, microbiology, and statistics. Computer science and information science are the main underlying disciplines that relate with public health informatics because of their contents that focus on automating existing activities and redesigning systems using approaches that were initially impractical or not contemplated.

Public health informatics is linked with medical informatics in many areas because both disciplines use information science and technology to enhance human health. There are also systems of accessing public health data from electronic medical recording associated with public health informatics as well as principles underlying respective application domains that differentiate it from other informatics specialty areas (Hovenga, 2010). Some of the issues that have enabled operations of public health informatics include internet cafes, computer centers and mobile devices from cell phones even through the challenges are how to enhance the delivery of high quality, contextually relevant content focused on broad range of data. There is a great potential for public health informatics innovations that can improve health in various areas including communication amongst geographically dispersed health workers, delivery of public health services by strengthening and streamlining data collection as well as data collection for research studies (Borycki & ITCH, 2011).

Moreover, public health informatics can improve support of primary and secondary prevention through electronic health records and improved systems and enhance environmental health interventions such as bio-surveillance and road safety. The quick expansion of eHealth interventions in many nations has increasingly improved efficiency of the public health informatics by introducing new methods of expanding connectivity and facilitating provider education (Hovenga, 2010). Another advantage of eHealth is the availability of breakthrough technology tools and devices as well as built applications designed to meet the needs of specific disease especially in the areas of lab and pharmaceutical data.

Primary Health Informatics

Primary Health informatics is an emerging academic field that ensures the improvement of its own informatics persuasion that encompasses distinctive focus on primary care. It can further be described as a science and a subdivision of health informatics whose core concepts and theory tend to underpin the subject as it is described (Hayes, & Aspray, 2010). Primary health informatics is described both as a science and health informatics family and in some countries such as UK, it is an established specialty, and the primary focus has been advanced as an epiphenomenon in main programs and core activity (Pichardo et al, 2012). Primary care is the first point of contact for patients that see any patient with any combination of problems and its uniqueness serves as the primary justification for its own informatics subspecialty. Primary health informatics tends to have three definitions based on technology, role, and concepts that are facilitated using electronic ambulatory information system at the time and place of care. Primary health informatics produces structures that represent data and knowledge to visualize sophisticated relationships and develops methods for acquisition and presentation of data to avoid overload (Graham-Jones et al., 2012). In addition, primary health informatics helps in managing change among people, process and information technology to optimize use of information and integrating information from diverse sources into work processes to have a huge effect (Hayes, & Aspray, 2010). Core concepts where primary health informatics are conducted include epistemology of knowledge and ontology, epistemology of knowledge and ontology for primary care.

Review of specific case study

Safety warning

This review is going to look at one of the most important things in health informatics such as safety warning. In this case, the chosen patient safety warning is email alerts and SMS alerts where email alerts involve the use of the internet to disseminate information to the population through the individual email addresses of the patients (Hayes, & Aspray, 2010). The other alert system is through the SMS system where information is sent directly to the individual phone number and therefore in general, these two information systems allow for immediate passing of information from the medical practitioners to their clients thus enabling ease of communication.

It is worth noting that by integrating behavioral and systems strategies to change clinical practice, SMS technology is the simplest and still the most resourceful technique to communicate because of its widespread use and availability amongst many users. SMS messages become a principally appropriate means for communication in healthcare industry, as well and this functionality is the greatest answer for cases when patients fail to remember their appointments, there is inefficiency in the administration, and the fact that disabled people cannot communicate efficiently. Widespread use and accessibility of SMS gives the system recognition and suitability that every technology should associate itself with especially in the field of health (National Health Informatics Conference, Grain & Schaper, 2013).

Operational ways that SMS works as well as the SMS gateway forwards messages to the mobile network either through GSM or IP SMS interconnectivity are very significant in catapulting communication. On the onset, there is a GSM modem attached to the PC by a data cable and the IP SMS connection means that the SMS gateway connects straight to the SMS hub of the mobile service provider of the Internet. In addition, people who intend to increase capacity need to attach more than one GSM modem to the computer or switch to IP SMS connection in a more dependable way for data to be sent to all would be recipients.

Nowadays clinicians and other healthcare providers employ SMS technology to improve healthcare services for patients and reduce their workload because SMS messages are targeted messages with exceptional ways for passing information. Some of the important uses of SMS are campaign for smoking cessation, notification for appointments and sending health information (Pichardo et al, 2012). SMS are always sent to the expected individual because they guarantee watchful informing and therefore implies that just the expected individual will get the data that is continuously passed over or about his wellbeing. Moreover, SMS messages could be seen and read everywhere and anywhere and are also shape nosy contrasted with phone discussions thus enhancing their suitability in the health care set up.

Merits and Demerits of Using SMS as A Safety Warning

Medical alerts are instant, the information is relayed on a real-time basis, and this has the advantage of enabling the patients to stop taking any of the recalled medication. In addition, there is no restriction of the time and place of receiving the text messages for they can be received at any place or time without any restrictions. Another advantage of SMS as a safety warning is the detailed nature of email alerts that pass relevant information. The SMS alert system has the advantages of individual personal delivery of information and instant delivery of the information as well as personalized message delivery system because access to email information is also restricted to the use of passwords (Ellis & Howard, 2011). Demerit of email and SMS alerts is that they may fail because of system failure perhaps because of network services failure and at times, the individual mobile phones or the email accounts being switched off and therefore the information is not passed over to the intended recipient.

Patient confidentiality

Health informatics has hugely contributed in maintaining patient confidentiality, which is intended to respect the patients’ rights and deny individuals who are not certified to the right of use of patient information access to the patients’ information. In the first instance, the patient confidentiality will be maintained by enabling authorized personnel to send the intended message to the intended recipients while for the SMS alerts, the confidentiality could be maintained through having a proper individual’s number verification system so that the information is sent to the intended recipient.

Dissemination of Work Plan

The goal of a dissemination work plan is that the plan should provide information on the activities that are carried out and the benefits to society, patients and to the health community in general and such a plan will define and detail the strategy and procedures necessary to reach the intention of stakeholders, including participation in relevant international conferences. Communication with national agencies such as health management and health intervention, civil protection and environmental monitoring would be established.

The effectiveness of such a plan is that it will enable the patient population be able to know the actions that has been taken and the intended timeframe for this action would be able to know the person responsible for any action that they may require or any guidance and direction they may seek. This is possible by knowing about the interested parties, the other parties who are possibly interested it is easier to know where to concentrate on to effectively receive the desired results, and therefore the distribution of information must be effectively undertaken through the proper understanding of the dissemination plan.

According to Zullig, Shah and Bosworth (2013), the recommended approach to the executive leadership team is the SMS alert system for it is much more reliable and this is one of the electronic system on health record management and is a real-time as well as point-of-care. There will be patient-centric information resource for all health staffs represented as a major domain of health information technology (HIT) and of recent times, an electronic medical records system (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) has been described as “a longitudinal electronic documentation of patient health details. Information about the patient as a health difficulty list, orders, and X- beam reports, around others are suitably depicted and decently put away, which will create a complete record of clinical patient experience or scene of forethought and underpins consideration related exercises such as choice making, better administration, and clinical reporting.

Why the electronic notification system is recommended

The choice of this method of electronic system is best because once the data is captured it will be able to disseminate any information to the patients, at any time and additionally on the following factors

Better human services by enhancing all parts of patient mind that Include security, viability, quiet centeredness, correspondence, and training

Better health by encouraging healthier lifestyles in the entire population, including increased physical activity, enhanced nutrition, evading of behavioral risks, and wider use of preventative care

Improved efficiencies and lesser health care expenditure by promoting preventative medicine and improved coordination of health care services.

Superior clinical decision making by integrating the patient information from various sources

The Advantages of Electronic Health Records is that EHRs and the capacity to exchange health information electronically can help supply elevated quality and safer care for patients while creating concrete enhancements for the hospital. EHRs help provider’s good managed care for patients and provide better health care by:

Providing true, up-to-date, and full information about patients at the point of care

Steadily sharing electronic information with patients and other clinical staff

Helping provide more effective patient diagnostics and reduction in medical errors

Enabling better, more reliable prescriptions to inpatients and outpatients

Helping encourage complete legible documentation and correct, modernized coding and billing of patient details

Improvement of patient data security and patient confidentiality

Fewer Discrepancies in records and better health records management

Patient confidentiality could be maintained through the following;

Electronic medical records require comprehensive shield at the national level and there is definitely a need for access to medical information and guard patients’ information from secondary users (Harle & Menachemi, 2012). It is important to note that patients should be given the alternative to place a disclosure restraint on their health records. It is argued that legislation or an amendment to the patient protecting policy the doctor-patient relationship would make better the access and quality of care because without the assurance of privacy, patients may avoid medical care. Security and ensuring the integrity of healthcare data by preventing modification of information enables patient confidentiality.

Timely notifications are integral in ensuring that patients discharged by from hospitals receive the exact care, at the correct time and in the precise place, so they can stay healthy and avoid return trips to the hospital (Smith et al., 2011). This will make sure that health care providers are aware of the confidentiality policy and make sure that they do not disclose patients’ information to the third party or the third gets access to the information because of a practitioner’s negligence. It is also significant to avoid sharing service user’s information with any other individuals other than health staff. There is an urgent situation where medical practitioners may need to access the information (National Health Informatics Conference, Grain & Schaper, 2013). As a priority, Permission needs to be sought first. Future developments in this area

It is recommended that safety measures should be on a three level basis to incorporate all the healthcare stakeholders, government, clinics, hospitals, health staffs as follows

A Stage One “warning” alert issued to ensure healthcare personnel are made aware of the potential health issues at the earliest opportunity. This will allow health care organizations to assess similar risks in their own organizations, and take urgent action.

In the event that Stage One alert requires further action, the Stage Two “resource” alert ought to come next, with more in-depth information and advice. Stage Two alerts will include examples of good practice to tone down the risk that have been shared by providers following a Stage One alert; being allowed to access resources to help initiate new measures to lessen risks; and access to appropriate training programs (Harle & Menachemi, 2012).

If need be, a third stage “directive” alert ought to be issued, that requires organizations to verify that they have undertaken relevant actions and set up detailed steps to ease the risk. health givers ought to be issued with a checklist of intended actions, customized to the individual patients

EMR drug safety alerts do have a big potential to decrease the adverse drug effects and improve patient safety when properly implemented and utilized, this needs to be enhanced at various health care institutions and replicated in all other health institutions.

There should be a well-functioning information technology system design that is effective and working properly to achieve the desired health information development and when all these is done the Competency: Leadership in Information Technology will be achieved. The knowledge of technology and nursing initiatives will be substantially improved, professional organizations, and the leadership must form strategies for enhancing the nursing information technology (Harle & Menachemi, 2012). Competency: About Information Security will be within reach. Competency: On Technology Supporting Quality Improvement must be greatly enhanced.


Public and primary health informatics are of great significance to the health providers, patients and the public at large. Public health informatics are vital in affecting implementation and ultimately success of various projects both for public and primary health care. Health care management issues linked with high quality facilitated resolution of the IT combined with high level skills are important in enabling achievements of health informatics (Harle & Menachemi, 2012).

Anticipated effect and flexibility of health parameters can only succeed if they are sandwiched if the health informatics are implemented successfully. Aims of public and primary informatics is to provide information to the concerned parties across medicine, nursing, computing, and technology as well as giving main information to support health care including making a patient an effective participant in their own care (Hovenga, 2010). Health informatics encourages use of technology at the point of care and considers community based interventions such as eHealth that improve the quality and use of routinely collected data for quality improvement.


Borycki, E., & ITCH (Conference). (2011). International perspectives in health informatics. Amsterdam: IOS Press.

Ellis, B., & Howard, J. (2011). Clinical governance, education and learning to manage health information. Clinical Governance, 16(4), 337-352. doi:

Graham-Jones, P., Jain, S. H., Friedman, C. P., Marcotte, L., & Blumenthal, D. (2012). The need to incorporate health information technology into physicians’ education and professional development. Health Affairs, 31(3), 481-7. Retrieved from

Harle, C. A., & Menachemi, N. (2012). Will electronic health records improve healthcare quality? challenges and future prospects. Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research, 12(4), 387-90. doi:

Harper, E. M. (2012). Staffing based on evidence: Can health information technology make it possible? Nursing Economics, 30(5), 262-7, 281. Retrieved from

Hayes, B. M., & Aspray, W. (2010). Health informatics: A patient-centered approach to diabetes. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Hovenga, E. J. S. (2010). Health informatics: An overview. Amsterdam: IOS Press.

National Health Informatics Conference, Grain, H., &Schaper, L. K. (2013). Health informatics: Digital health service delivery, the future is now! : selected papers from the 21st Australian National Health Informatics Conference (HIC 2013).

Pichardo et al., (2012). Strengthening public health and primary care collaboration through electronic health records. American Journal of Public Health, 102(11), E13-E18. Retrieved from

Smith, S. E., B.Sc, Drake, Lesley E, RN,B.Bus (H.I.M.), GradCertHlthSc, Harris, Julie-Gai B, RN,GradCertHlthSci (C.D.M.), Watson, Kay, RN,B.Bus (H.I.M.), & Pohlner, Peter G, MBBS,GradCert Management, F.R.A. (2011). Clinical informatics: A workforce priority for 21st century healthcare. Australian Health Review, 35(2), 130-5. Retrieved from

Zullig LL, Shah BR & Bosworth HB. (2013). Association between perceived life chaos and medication adherence in a post myocardial infarction population. Circ Cardiovascular Qual Outcomes.