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Information, Computers, and the Heart

Metaphorically speaking, information is the property of the brain, while the heart has dominion over our feelings. But from a healthcare point of view, information is a valuable tool for treating the entire body, especially the heart. Health information systems are today an important part of healthcare. Health informatics, as the field is known, is a system whereby information relating to a patient, a condition, or a therapy is easily stored, organized, and shared for common usage among doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

Healthcare informatics optimizes healthcare by combining it with information sciences and computer sciences. Information science is a system whereby data is classified in such a way that the constant addition, subtraction and modification of a singular bit of information is easily integrated into the whole. Computer science is concerned mainly with processing information-that is, making calculations according to programs, patterns, algorithms and protocols. Health informatics uses information science and computational programs to help regulate and improve the quality of healthcare in many fields, like nursing, clinical care, pharmaceuticals, and even occupational therapy.

Cardiovascular technology has greatly benefited from healthcare informatics as our technology has improved and been put to use in healthcare. There are many informatics programs for electrocardiography management, and learning to use these programs is an integral part of any healthcare training specializing in cardiovascular technology.

Some of the data related to ECG informatics include:

- Heart rate: measuring the heart's beats per minute

- Heart rhythm: measuring irregularities in electrical impulses generated by the heart

- Axis: measuring the position of the heart's major muscle bulk

- Blocks: analyzing irregularities and blockages in the heart's electrical conduction system

- Hypertrophy: analyzing the thickness in the ventricular walls

- Ischemia: analyzing the thinness of the blood in the heart

- Injury: analyzing the effects of trauma, drug use or heart attacks

- Infraction: measuring disturbances in the blood supply to the heart

- Pacemakers: monitoring the electrodes used to artificially regulate the heartbeat

- Electrolyte imbalance: monitoring the levels of electrolytes during excessive fluid changes

- Arrhythmias: Other irregularities of heart activity

Considering the complex many functions of the heart as well as the diversity in patient medical histories, the use of healthcare informatics and cardio information management systems is a huge advantage for healthcare. With computer science being put to the service of cardiovascular care, we are continuing a gradual integration of technology as a necessary part of the healthy functioning of organisms. Like the artificial pacemaker, which once upon a time may have sounded like something out of science fiction, the union of health and technology is a today a commonplace reality. The more we know about the heart's functioning and activity, in our brains, in our computerized databases, and in our culturally-shared knowledge, the more we can feel safe and secure in our hearts and minds.

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