Consumer health informatics examines patient information from points of view such as health literacy, consumer knowledge and education. The goal is to empower patients while giving them the knowledge they need to make their own health decisions. Consumer health informatics couples the consumers' needs for information with their healthcare preferences to create a tailor-made medical experience.
The National Center for Biotechnology defines consumer health informatics (CHI) as:
Patients are taking more responsibility for managing their health information. They organize their medical histories, lab findings and medications, so they need health IT applications specializing in organizing this information. Apps are built with patients in mind, showcasing features allowing users to share and sort information, giving them more control of their care.
Some categories of CHI apps include:
Health IT applications are being created for the Web, different messaging systems and for mobile platforms, making them as convenient as possible for the patients who use them. Health IT apps use reminders and prompts to provide up-to-date information on users' health, reviewable by both patients and health providers. The apps also utilize support groups on the web so patients can communicate with each other about different medical subjects.
Health systems vary depending on patients' needs. Here are a few examples of health IT applications and how they help patients take charge of their medical documentation:
Consumer health informatics standards, in conjunction with health IT applications, are changing healthcare. Many health IT applications serve a specific purpose or function while some work in tandem. Regardless of their individual purposes, these apps are creating an encompassing patient healthcare system, giving users more control of their own paths to achieving and maintaining healthy lifestyles.