Health informatics or eHealth?

By Steve Magare on June 13, 2016

Health informatics and eHealth are closely related terms. They both study how best technology can be leveraged to create benefit for health care professionals, and patients. Effectively applied, these technologies could give personalized, continuous monitoring of treatments and in the process, generate medical data that gives valuable input for medical research, allow increased cooperation amongst healthcare professionals, save time and reduce costs to patients and to health organizations.

Many healthcare decision makers often marvel at the prospect of introducing technology into healthcare and sometimes go at it with unrealistic expectations. In reality, automation of healthcare process is challenging and not without complexity and the changing dynamics of the health care landscape has made realization of the benefits anticipated due to automation difficult to obtain and where some benefits can be seen, the results are often mixed and in many cases difficult to quantify.

Difficulty in understanding some of the nuances in implementing successful health information systems can be attributed to many factors. In Kenya, low capacity in health informatics expertise, low capacity in using technology amongst healthcare professionals to whom this systems are made add to the difficulty of efficiently integrating this technology with their day to day tasks. This is made worse by a lack of studies in the field which make it difficult to learn from the mistakes of others and has contributed to the high rate of failure.

This is changing. Health informatics expertise is growing and is getting a larger appreciation by policy makers and healthcare professionals alike. The Kenya Health Informatics Association KEHIA is possibly one of the largest conglomeration of diverse experts in health informatics in Africa. They bring significant experience in implementing successful and also health informatics initiatives that have fallen short of expectations in a landscape which has its own unique challenges.  

Through sharing experiences, KEHIA will aim to disseminate knowledge to a broad spectrum of healthcare stakeholders on a wide range of health technology related areas.