Critical Factors in Implementing an IT System in Health Facilities [Student’s Name]
Health Care Organizations are those companies that take of the welfare of the individuals and facilities that offer health care. These individuals include doctors, nurses and pharmacists among others while facilities include hospitals and care homes. They ensure that the healthcare fraternity runs smoothly and that every care needed is offered at lower rates while maintaining high standards. This aims to provide quality health care to as many people as possible.
There has been great advances in technology and many sectors are embracing newer systems to help them improve their functionality. Health care is one of the areas where changes in technology has really impacted. There are advanced devices that have enabled fast diagnosis as well as systems for keeping patient data. Electronic medical records are meant to take in as many patients data as possible, store it and can be retrieved whenever needed. All the patients information can be converged into one server and can become accessible to any doctor at any given time. Despite the improvements in designing the electronic records systems, many organizations are still reluctant to implement such technology. The following are some of their fears:
Cost of Implementation
To implement Electronic Health Systems require installation of computer systems and creation of a network to cover the whole health facility. This means that the bigger the facility, the bigger the network required and therefore the more the devices needed. The cost of labor is also required. The facility will also require a skilled person to manage the system hence additional pay. The installing company may also require a mostly subscription which may cause the system to go down if the monthly payment is not met. As such, a lot of money is needed to facilitate implementation and maintenance (Menachemi et al, 2011). The hospital may lack money to put into such an implementation and instead opt to use cheaper means such as paper and maybe small individual doctor recordings in their own computers.
Data Security and Privacy Concerns
The current Electronic Medical Records systems are offered as a service over the internet by the provider. The emergence of cloud computing and internet of things has made this possible. The use of internet comes with risks of hacking and computer viruses among other threats. Despite the use of encryption, firewalls and anti-viruses among other protective measures, many systems have been hacked and information stolen and or destroyed.
Lack of Computer-Skilled Employees.
Many of those who work in health care sectors have stayed for many years since the time when technology had not been much embraced. Many doctors have many years of experience in diagnosing patients and less concerned about learning the technology behind the systems in use. These doctors cannot help in managing the new systems or giving any form of technological support. This will require the facility to employ a skilled person increasing the cost of production.
Essential Manner in which HIPAA Impacts Patient’s Medical Records.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures that each patient’s medical information is protected, denying access to researchers, employers and insurers. It is suppose to ensure that no information is misused to avoid any form of discrimination where it may arise. It also ensures that those insured access health care accordingly. The act provides the patients with rights to access their health information whenever they need. The patient has a right to access their health information whenever they need and they can always ask for a copy from the health care giver.
Since the patient can access their data, they are able to monitor their well-being and make important decisions regarding their health status. The information enables to individual to monitor their health, to stick to their prescriptions, provide more information when needed and make corrections where necessary. However, since researchers are not able to access the information, there is a general feeling that HIPAA is inhibiting research progress in the medical field since researchers mainly depend on past encountered conditions.
The HITECH (the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act for Health Care Professionals.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) is part of the American Recovery and Reinforcement Act and whose goals was to improve health care delivery through adopting health technologies and particularly the use of Electronic Health Records(EHR). The act was signed into law by the president of the United States, Barack Obama, in the year 2009. EHR systems are useful in capturing all the patient information, stores it and can be received easily whenever needed.
Main Advantages of Adopting HITECH
HITECH systems have improved healthcare workfloe. With the use Electronic Health Records, data captured at one section of the hospital is reflected at other sections giving the medical personnel an easy time in learning what has already been diagnosed. This enables them to use minimum time to administer care thus securing time to care for as many patients as possible. EHR systems specify different sections where different specialists fill their information and at the end of the day all the information will then be saved for a particular patient. Since all the information is digitally recorded and is accessible to other care givers within the facility, the information should be as true as it is. Diagnosis is recorded as done. It also shows when the work was done and who did it (Lorenzo M. et al, 2010).
One disadvantage of implementing a HITECH system is that it can be costly to a health institution since it requires the purchase of new systems, the cost of creating a network of computers as well the cost of maintenance. A computer skilled personnel also needs to be employed to offer technical support. Another disadvantage is the fear of security and privacy of the health information. Most IT systems offers services over the internet, risking the systems being hacked and data stolen or destroyed. Again with EHR, patient data is accessible to anyone within the hospital who has a right to access the system. Medical researchers may retrieve the data without the patient knowledge to use for their research.
Mitigating Privacy and Security Concerns
One of the ways to improve on data confidentially and privacy is to impose heavy consequences on those who go against health records privacy rules set through various health initiatives. HIPAA, for example, ensures that such data is not misused and are patients protected against discrimination. The online EHR systems can be protected through ensuring data encryption, implementation of firewalls and use of strong passwords. Access to such systems should only be given to the authorized individuals who are responsible for capturing information.
Typical Workflow Processes Within A Health Organizations
workflow refers to a set of tasks that an organization follows to ensure that the work set to be done for a given day is completed. An organization comprises of various departments, each assigned a specific task. In a health organization setting, a typical work day starts at the triage, where the patient particulars are registered. Information such as age, gender, where the patient comes from are recorded. The patient then pays the consultation fee then proceeds to see the doctor. The patient can be treated and advised to take medication from the hospital pharmacy and he can do home. If the patient condition is severe and needs to be admitted, they are advised accordingly and a specialist is booked. Thereafter, the patient pays the hospital bill and is discharged.
With this workflow, the advantages are that it is easily adaptable, efficient and measurable. However, it is not in all cases that the patient has to follow these processes. Also, the user in such systems cannot determine what to be done since the system is already in place. A better system should be flexible in that the user can decide what to do with the patient instead of following an established routine. For example, a patient can book an appointment using a phone or an email and is able to come and see a doctor and still get everything recorded and captured where needed. Also if a patient in a critical condition is brought to the hospital, they can be admitted immediately and every needed information is captured later.
Key Federal Initiatives Impact on the Standards of Health Care
Information for Patient Privacy, Safety, and Confidentially.
The primary ways in which the key federal initiatives impact the standards of health care information for patient privacy, safety, and confidentially is to set rules that define how access to patient health information is restricted. An example of such initiatives is the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). It ensures that patient data is not misused and that the patient is not subjected to any form of discrimination that may arise if their information is accessed. Human and Health Services (HHS) focuses on enhancing and protecting the health of every American citizen. Such initiatives also provide the patients with the ability of access their health information while ensuring confidentiality. With the advances in technology, these initiatives continue their research of protecting health information in order to keep up with technological changes. The impact of such initiatives on health data confidentially has always been positive.
Fundamental Advantages of Applying an IT System Within Health Care Organizations.
Adoption of Information Technology in any organization has always been meant to ease the work done by humans. This is why more and more research is carried out to improve technology much further. In a health care setting, technology helps in making the hospital processes easy and fast thus improving workflow (Abouelmehdi, K et al, 2018) and productivity. EHR for example is a system already design with all the necessary information in place. Records are easy to access from any part of the hospital. Another advantage is that IT comes with improved gadgets that improves diagnosis and analysis of samples, making it easy and fast to detect disease and treat it accordingly. The third advantage of IT system is that it improves organization and ensure work satisfaction. Before the It system, patient data were recorded in paper and could could get lost sometimes.
New IT Developments in the Health Care Industry for the Next Two Decades
Technology is ever growing. Despite the improvements in EHR systems, there is still a lot of things that can be done to improve health care. Research is constantly being done to improve on health technology and as well as how to secure health information (Appari, A. & Eric Johnson, M., 2010).
I still think that accessibility to a medical practitioner is a challenge. Digital Health Care has been of good use but still needs to be improved and people exposed to know how to use then. Some systems have been developed that enables patients to meet an online doctor and get help. However, such systems are still new, less developed and people still fear that they may not be effective enough. As such, patients always want to travel to see a doctor and tend to ignore such systems. If such platforms are well developed and people get educated about them, digital health services will be a milestone and people can get services whenever they need. I hope that in the next two years, these systems will have better applications to carry out some diagnosis using a phone whenever online and even prescribe medication prior to physically seeing a doctor.
Other than this, improvements in Artificial Intelligence should be seen in the next two years. Doctors and physicists are exposed to large volumes of health care data that need to be broken down and medical decisions made as fast as possible. With improvements in Artificial intelligence, such data can easily be analyzed. The systems can be improved to make corrections where necessary and ensure data accuracy, something that is not always easy with humans. Advances in Artificial intelligence will thus lead to improvements in diagnosis, health care data analysis as well as in helping physically challenged to embrace daily activities through creation if devices that mimic the functionality of human.
Menachemi N., Collum T., (2011). Benefits and drawbacks of electronic health record systems.
Lorenzo M., Deborah P,, & Amy K., (June, 2010). The HITECH Act and Health Information Technology’s Potential to Build Medical Homes. (Prepared by Mathematica Policy Research under Contract No. HHSA290200900019I TO2.) AHRQ Publication No. 10-0080-EF. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Abouelmehdi, K., Beni-Hessane, A., & Khaloufi, H., (2018). Big Healthcare Data: Preserving Security and Privacy. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40537-017-0110-7
Appari, A. & Eric Johnson, M. (2010). ‘Information Security and Privacy in Healthcare: Current State of Research’, Int. J. Internet and Enterprise Management, Vol. 6, No. 4, pp.279–314.