Published On: Wed, Jun 26th, 2013

The Importance Of Healthcare Information Systems

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Healthcare information systems work to provide all-encompassing medical initiatives for patient security, quality of care and delivery. The role of information technology (IT) in health care is focused on reviewing clinical and diagnostics equipment, decision support, medical information and health care options. Information systems are created for the sole purpose of capturing, storing, processing, and communicating accurate information to decision makers for better coordination of healthcare.

The importance of quality healthcare processes and delivery cannot be overstated – the results are, quite literally, life or death. Medical errors are costly, can prolong hospital stays, are a hazard to health and can be fatal. Health care information systems are designed to monitor errors at all stages of the medical continuum – namely researching medical trends, controlling policy, and monitoring healthcare services. Digitisation of health information has numerous benefits and allows professionals to take appropriate steps to better provide adequate health care services to an individual or population. The propagation of electronic health records increases administrative efficiency, reduces healthcare costs by eliminating unnecessary tests and procedures and most importantly, reduces medical errors.

The main issue is that medical information is something that has always been privy to only specialists and professionals, leaving the general population in the dark about what options are available to them.

Another complicating factor in healthcare is that it can only be provided in interdisciplinary teams. For example, surgery requires a team consisting of the surgeon, the nurses, the physician, anaesthesiologists, diagnostic staff (such as radiologists and pathologists) and counsellors. These specialists not housed within the same institution and, more often than not, collaborate from different organisations. Regardless of the organisational form, speedy access to reliable health information is crucial to ensure good patient outcomes. Healthcare information systems use  a process of coordination and alignment to establish connections between these specialist groups for the use of both the layman and the professional.

Healthcare information systems have evolved with the times and is now presenting itself online in a collaborative and accessible way – in fact, social media communities have been particularly active in the healthcare domain. The primary drivers of this domain are often amateurs who self-select and add to medical articles on Wikipedia or  share detailed information about their own medical conditions, treatments and experiences in online forums and communities (such as Braintalk.com or Inspire.com). This new trend helps the largely electronic healthcare information system track important trends, issues and subjects based on a global dialogue – giving the masses a voice in the field of healthcare delivery.

A combination of statistical data from multiple sources, evidence-based medicine, empirical research and outcomes of use by the people in a defined region or jurisdiction, makes health care information systems the leading runner affecting public healthcare delivery. This puts the people in power of the kind of service they are receiving, the way they would like these services to be bettered and how this ultimately affects health care policy-making. Additionally, it allows health care providers to better understand the intricacies of the service that they are providing.

Steven wrote this article after doing research on healthcare information systems

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