The term health informatics refers to the science of storing, retrieving, and using health care information, to improve patients’ care. The concept began about 70 years ago when physicians examined the role of using computers in diagnosing medical illnesses. There are key historical events in the history of health informatics that could inform the management of health information. Firstly, in the 1970s and 1980s, when computers became smaller and more portable, the first computerized healthcare system was created (Heart et al., 2017). The system enabled healthcare providers to share information and easily coordinate patients’ data, resulting in better health outcomes. The system was created to allow healthcare providers to share information and patients’ data. Therefore, health informatics should help providers share as much data as they can about patients for better outcomes.
In 2004, the former American president, George W. Bush, formulated a goal for adopting a computerized healthcare system to “avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care (Kent State, 2020).” This event means that technology should be used to achieve the goals instead of increasing mistakes as the hospital does. For example, through technology, health practitioners can share information on how to diagnose a certain illness when they are confronted with a difficult diagnosis instead of guessing.
In 2009, former President Barrack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The law included the Health Information and Technology for Economic Clinical Health Act (HITECH), which urged healthcare providers to adopt Electronic Health Records (EHRs) (Kent State, 2020). The role of adopting the EHRs was to enable them to store and share health information. The law also punished those who did not adopt the EHRs within a specified timeframe. The mandatory adoption means that health informatics are intended to help physicians deliver the best through technology. For example, through EHRs, different healthcare providers can share a patient’s progress, resulting in better treatment.
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As much as the use of technology has become profound in many industries, some guidelines inform how healthcare providers could use it to manage health information effectively. Firstly, according to World Health Organization (2020), healthcare providers must have adequate training before they are authorized to use technology. Training them ensures that they understand how to use the technology and can maximize the technology’s benefits. For example, through training, healthcare providers will understand how to input patients’ information, store it, and retrieve it. Featherfall can train its medical staff to understand how to use technology. By this, they will minimize many mistakes such as ethical and operational problems.
Another guideline is guidance and coordination, where specialized and authorized people guide and coordinate the use of technology. Featherfall can implement this by having a technical person guide healthcare providers on using the systems. This would ensure that these computers are not fragmented to cause failure in the health system (Zhang et al., 2018). For example, if employs a technical person coordinates the use of the technology, the person will be there to repair any glitch or malfunctioning of the system, resulting in effective service. It will also solve the issue of the outdated system because the person will be able to identify when the system is obsolete and replace it with an updated system.
Several technologies are being used in the health information management field. One of them is the medical practice management system that helps in medical practice’s clinical and administrative aspects. It is mainly used for clerical work such as scheduling appointments, managing documents, and processing and generating billing and payments (Brandenburg et al., 2015). Another technology is Electronic Health Records (EHR) which is concerned with patients’ information. It helps healthcare providers document patients’ information electronically, saving them time (Kohli & Tan, 2016). Besides, they can access the information at any time and share it across different departments. This results in quick and accurate services.
There is also an E- prescribing software that enables the easy generation of electronic prescriptions. The software helps health providers send prescriptions directly to the pharmacy. Patients only go to get their medications, which makes their work easier. This technology enables the generation of a legible prescription while eliminating misplacement of prescription chances. Another technology is the Master Patient Index (MPI) which connects more than one database of patients’ records. It helps create a database for all the patient records that can be accessible by various departments. It is beneficial as it reduces duplication of patients’ information, avoiding inaccurate records that could result in wrong treatment.
The three roles, the health information management team, the clinical staff, and the administrative staff, would work together to effectively interact with technology and make the most out of it. The clinical staff would interact with technology by recording patients’ data that they collect when treating them. Its work would be to ensure every detail about patients is entered into the computers. After that, the role of the health information management team comes in where the team would ensure data quality, integrity, coding, disclosure, and privacy of patients’ information. At the same time, the administrative staff would ensure that everything on the system is working as expected and the system is enabling the institution to enjoy the benefits of technology.
The evaluation process of new health information technology systems will analyze if the systems meet some crucial factors of an effective system. Firstly, I would analyze the credibility of the technology system. By this, it means that the system can be trusted with healthcare activities. The new system must be able to support healthcare activities. The second thing is to check the integration of components of the system. Various components have various roles, and an effective system must have all the components connected. Having all the components would avoid operational problems.
Thirdly, I would ensure that the system is able to communicate with other computers through the components and processes. Inability to communicate is one of the challenges that would be solved by doing a pretest. Lastly, I would ensure the organization or the staff can interact with the technologies and feel at ease to avoid ineffective and inefficient use of the systems.
Brandenburg, L., Gabow, P., Steele, G., Toussaint, J., & Tyson, B. J. (2015). Innovation and best practices in health care scheduling. NAM Perspectives.
Heart, T., Ben-Assuli, O., & Shabtai, I. (2017). A review of PHR, EMR and EHR integration: A more personalized healthcare and public health policy. Health Policy and Technology, 6(1), 20-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hlpt.2016.08.002
Kent State. (2020, October 5). The history of health informatics. Kent. https://onlinedegrees.kent.edu/ischool/health-informatics/community/history-of-health-informatics?msclkid=620b1131b5e711ecaac7acfdb93a569c
Kohli, R., & Tan, S. S. (2016). Electronic health records: How can IS researchers contribute to transforming healthcare? MIS Quarterly, 40(3), 553-573. https://doi.org/10.25300/misq/2016/40.3.02
World Health Organization. (2020). Outbreak preparedness and resilience.
Zhang, P., Schmidt, D. C., White, J., & Lenz, G. (2018). Blockchain technology use cases in healthcare. Advances in Computers, 1-41. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.adcom.2018.03.006