An Introduction to Women's Health and Informatics

An Introduction to Women's Health and Informatics

Peter Stone (FRANZCOG, CMFM, The University of Auckland, New Zealand)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-078-3.ch001
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Improving women’s health is a vital task for the world. The consequences of obstetric and gynecological disease are serious both for the women involved, their families, and communities. This introductory chapter introduces the reader to the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The continuum of pregnancy from conception to childbirth, and the postnatal period are discussed. There is coverage of the pathology that can arise within the female reproductive tract. Data collection and use has a long history in this area. In order to improve care, evidence-based medicine has been strongly emphasized and women’s health has often led the way. Audit of practice, governance, and quality reviews are all areas where electronic information systems are assisting with improvements. Increasing use of e-health technologies are a major influence on the improvement.
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Defining Obstetrics And Gynecology

The scope of the disciplines being discussed need to be defined.

Obstetrics and gynecology and more recently “women’s health” are terms to describe the science and practice of clinical care in human reproduction.

A rather narrow view would be that

  • Obstetrics-the branch of medicine dealing with pregnancy, labour, delivery and the puerperium (the period from birth to the time when the changes of pregnancy have resolved- arbitrarily said to be 6 weeks)

  • Gynecology-the branch of medicine dealing with diseases of the genital tract in women

  • Women’s health is all this in a modern context which includes the woman and family ie health is more than just the absence of disease.

The scope of these labels includes

  • Physiology of reproduction

  • Maternal fetal medicine

  • Antenatal care, labor and birth

  • Postnatal care, mother and baby

  • Endocrinology of reproduction and the menstrual cycle

  • Infertility - male and female

  • Sexuality and womanhood

  • Oncology

  • Ethics “sociology” legal issues

  • and many areas arising from the above –now beyond the scope of one person-hence development of “subspecialities”

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