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What is an ICU? eICU? How do they compare and
differ?  (~100 words, 0.1 points)

An intensive care unit (ICU) is a hospital subgroup that
specializes in providing care for critically ill patients. Specially trained staff
and medical equipment are employed to provide closer monitoring of patients
than most other hospital units (Sutter Health). An electronic intensive care unit
(eICU) is a program that leverages technology—most notably the internet or
digital communications—to increase the efficiency and/or quality of care in an
ICU. Patients are monitored by remote eICU facilities that receive data
regarding the patients’ health via internet-connected monitoring equipment.
This technology can reduce the number of required ICU staff while increasing
the ubiquitousness of patient monitoring (Breslow, M. J.).

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What is the historical relationship between HL7 and
FHIR? (~200 words, 0.2 points)

Health Level Seven® (HL7)
International is an organization that generates standards related to digital
health data. These standards are designed to allow various healthcare
organizations to optimize the use of digital health information by providing a
standardized framework for health data distribution, transmission, access, and
integration with other systems (Health Level Seven® INTERNATIONAL). Fast
Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is the implementation of a
framework or set of standards introduced by HL7. As described by HL7 itself, “FHIR
combines the best features of HL7’s Version 2, Version 3 and CDA® product lines
while leveraging the latest web standards and applying a tight focus on
implementability.” (Health Level Seven® INTERNATIONAL). FHIR can enable the
aforementioned uses of digital health information and has a focus on real-world
integration of the data. FHIR includes features from three other HL7 products: HL7
Version 2, HL7 Version 3, and Clinical Document Architecture (CDA®). HL7
Version 2 was purely text-based and relied on various codes that were not
easily readable by humans. HL7 Version 3 allowed more customization and
integrated technologies like Extensible Markup Language (XML). CDA was
introduced alongside HL7 Version 3, and it provided a framework for the exchange
of clinical documents (White, P). FHIR expands on the previous products by
providing a modular solution that addresses significantly more use cases. FHIR
is based on a modular design. The modules can be combined in different ways to
create systems that solve various healthcare-related problems substantially
more efficiently than existing solutions (Health Level Seven® INTERNATIONAL).

How does the uninsured impact healthcare costs? What
are 3 chronic diseases that contribute to driving those costs? (~250 words, 0.3

In total, the uninsured incur substantial
uncompensated healthcare costs. According to the Institute of Medicine (US)
Committee on the Consequences of Uninsurance, “the best available estimate of
the value of uncompensated health care services provided to persons who lack
health insurance for some or all of a year is roughly $35 billion annually,
about 2.8 percent of total national spending for personal health care services.”
(Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Consequences of Uninsurance).
These uncompensated costs are typically paid for by a number of other entities—including
hospitals, governments (state, federal, or local), and charitable donors—but healthcare
providers can also shift the costs to other patients by raising the bills of
the insured/paying patients. This increases average healthcare costs. Additionally,
the total healthcare cost of the uninsured is increased due to a lack of
preventative care and regular chronic disease care, which contributes to
inflated costs later in life. This artificially increases the total demand for
healthcare resources and in turn, increases prices (Institute of Medicine (US)
Committee on the Consequences of Uninsurance). A substantial proportion of the uninsured
healthcare costs are the result of treatments needed for chronic diseases. The
three most prevalent chronic diseases among the uninsured include diabetes
mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. About one-third of
uninsured non-elderly adults have some sort of chronic disease (Gever, J.).

What is the role of health informatics and how can
health information technology be utilized to lower costs and provide better
care for patients? (~350 words, 0.4 points)

As described in CS 6440 Lesson 2: US Healthcare, health
informatics strives to improve the efficiency/effectiveness of the following
healthcare systems: care coordination, cohort management, patient relationship
management, clinician engagement, financial management reporting, and knowledge
management. It does this by providing methods for medical information to be
recorded and transmitted that did not exist previously. Health informatics can
improve the quality of care in many ways. One of the most notable is the
reduction in errors/omissions in patient records. The existing healthcare
record-keeping and transmitting systems tend to be quite fragmented and
variable in their design and implementation. These poorly-integrated systems
commonly result in errors with patient records for reasons as simple as
illegible handwriting. These errors can result in improper care that in many
cases have caused patient death. Using various data analysis techniques, health
informatics can help to identify and eliminate errors with health data.

Health informatics can enable patients to have more
control over their healthcare through Patient Portals. Patient Portals can
allow patients to view their health records, communicate with their doctors,
and request prescriptions and appointments—all of which decrease the costs and
increase the quality of care provided (Snyder, C. F.). Another major benefit of
health informatics is increasing the availability of patient health information
to care providers, patients, and patients’ families. Health informatics can
increase the accuracy and efficiency of health data transmission which, among
other things, can reduce duplication of health tests by reducing loss of data. Health
informatics can allow patient information to be accessed more quickly, which
can increase efficiently or quality of care, especially during medical
emergencies where prompt access to medical information is essential (American
Health Information Management Association).

Another major benefit of health informatics is the way
in which data can be used to identify health trends and statistics. This
information could increase the efficiency with where/how medicine is
distributed, provide more effective preventative care, optimize surgical
procedures, and streamline hospital processes/procedures. This information
could also be used to identify major health crises and increase the ability of
healthcare researchers to develop new treatments (University of Illinois at

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