book cover

A personal review by Rod Ward of

Healthcare Informatics

by C. William Hanson

This new book by, American MD & Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, C. William Hanson, which was published in September 2005, aims to cover a wide range of topics related to Healthcare Informatics from direct patient care technologies to medical records and supportive technologies.

The first chapter applies and "anatomy and physiology" approach to computer hardware likening the motherboard to the skeleton and nervous system! and covering arrange of components and peripherals. The following chapter looks at software, and tries to cover a range of operating systems rather than focusing on Microsoft products, there is also brief consideration of proprietary versus open-source software. Further chapters address wired and wireless computer networks before moving on to consider the Internet and browsers, which is supplemented with warnings about security.

The healthcare specific components of the book commence with an introduction and history of hospital information systems, electronic medical records, computerised provider order entry (CPOE) and decision support systems. Healthcare examples are included throughout these chapters to show how the developments are relevant to patient care and management. The importance of security and confidentiality in technological environments where patient information is involved are mentioned in the section on medical email, including the use of public key encryption systems. The effects of the Internet on patient information seeking behavior and the inherent issues about information quality are described, followed by consideration of Telemedicine as a growth area in healthcare practice.

The final chapters consider emerging topics such as multimedia, handheld computing, implanted biochips and artificial intelligence and robotics, in each case applied to healthcare examples.

The book is generally well presented with clear black and white diagrams and screenshots illustrating many of the topics. The book has a logical structure and is fairly well indexed.

The book claims to "cut through the jargon" surrounding IT, however the use of acronyms is widespread and including a BIOS print out in chapter one, and NSF meaning National Science Foundation rather than National Service Framework, may put off some users. UK based readers may also be put off by some of the US centric terminology particularly in relation to healthcare billing and payment systems and Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), however the book does have enough generic content, which if fairly up to date to make it worthy of consideration by healthcare libraries.

Paperback 272 pages

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Language: English

ISBN: 0071440666

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Page Created: 3.3.06

Last Updated: 3.3.06