Advanced Information Management and the Application of Technology

Advantages and Disadvantages of a System

Usability is the ability of a user to efficiently use the health information system to help them achieve their goals. If the medical personnel involved is unable to use the system due to an issue with the system or as a result of individual issues, the person has to look for an alternative way to finish their task (Kruse and Beane, 2018).

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A health information system should allow healthcare providers to share data. Sharing of data ensures there is continuity of care for the patients, for instance, a test done by a doctor in his office cannot be repeated in the laboratory as the record indicates the test.  The problem with interoperability arises when different systems are used in different departments, for instance, when there is a system for prescribing medication and another one for patient history and diagnosis. The main challenge is when the two systems are incompatible with each other as each might have a different template and format (Alotaibi and Federico, 2017).

Scalability is the ability of a health information system to advance with the growing needs of the users. The system should have a provision for adjustment according to changing user needs. If a system in incorporated in the healthcare institution, people should not be forced to use it if it is not complete (Kruse and Beane, 2018).

A health information system should be compatible with various software programs. It should be custom made for a particular program as this can limit its usage. 

Patient Care and Documentation

Electronic health systems enable congruency in patient care at every stage of healthcare provision. The system enables access of information on the patient by their primary care provider, the lab technician, imaging department, a specialist (in case a referral is made), or the pharmacist.  When all these people have access to the information, they become aware of vital information concerning the patient especially if the patient is unable to effectively communicate with the healthcare provider (Lavin, Harper, & Barr, 2015).

The system affects documentation positively as it allows the user to search for specific patient information through the search features installed in it. The user only has to key in the keyword in the patient’s chart, for instance, “most recent lab tests” and all the information is displayed.  Also, the system provides clear and legible documentation in comparison to paper records where it sometimes becomes impossible to read handwritten instructions.  As the system is accessible to different people at once, an inter-professional team can discuss the patient from various locations and come up with an appropriate treatment plan while referring to information on the system (Alotaibi and Federico, 2017).

Quality and Delivery of Nursing Care and Patient Outcomes

A health information system allows healthcare providers to identify trends that relate to the patient’s lab results or vital signs. When members of a healthcare team have access to this information, they are able to provide quality and relevant care to the patient.  Relying on paper records can compromise quality of care if the records are not readily available especially in emergency situations. This especially so for patients with allergies and are not in a position to notify the physician or nurse; however, this information is available in an electronic health record of the patient that the physician can easily access (Manca, 2015).

A health system also will have information on any recent medication that the patient is taking or has taken. This averts over medication of the patient or helps the nurse establish if the medication of helpful to the patient or not (Manca, 2015).

Ways Quality Improvement Leads to Measurable Improvement

When a healthcare provider collects quality improvement data, they can implement changes that can improve patient outcomes of patient groups. For instance, patient safety while in the hospital is an issue that needs addressing especially when it comes to patient falls. Patients who fall while in the hospital during admissions need to be properly documented. This information will then be used to identify the circumstances under which the fall occur and work towards preventing the same in the future.  Such information is useful in rehabilitation centers that take care of people recovering from broken limbs and nursing homes that take care of the elderly (Lavin, Harper, & Barr, 2015).

 HITECH and HIPAA Security Standards and Regulations

A system meets HITECH and HIPAA security standards when it has measures in place to secure patient information. Some security measures include the use a strong password for those allowed to access the system, automatic logging out after a certain period of inactivity, compulsory changing of passwords after some time, locking of the system after a certain number of incorrect password among other measures. Other requirements include installation of anti-hacking software to safeguard patient information; there are stiff penalties where there is hacking of patient information due to negligence the system custodian (Colorafi and Bailey, 2016).

The system must also uphold data integrity by restricting alterations of data, that is, data should stay as it was originally entered.  If anyone interferes with the data or makes changes, there should be an indication of when the change was made and who made the change. This prevents criminal activity especially where drug abuse is involved or when a person causes an accident as a result of driving under the influence. Such a person will require to be tested for blood alcohol levels where some would bribe a medical officer to change such information (Colorafi and Bailey, 2016).

A health information system should also automatically backup data either to a physical site or in the cloud. An efficient data back-up system is vital as it is needed in case the primary servers get damaged or fail. Data recovery should be fast with up to date information as information that is not current may impact the patient negatively. There should be a provision on which pieces of information need backing up; examples of vital patient information includes allergies, blood type, existing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or arthritis, and the most current prescription. It would be catastrophic is a patient is given a medication they are allergic to or if they receive a blood transfusion with the wrong blood type (Kruse, Smith, Vanderlinden, & Nealand, 2017).

Data recovery should be tried and tested to make sure that it is workable. There should be a data recovery procedure that is to be followed in case there is loss of data.  This procedure should be implemented to ensure that it works and identify challenges that might arise from its use. The procedure should also contain the names or title descriptions of those who should lead the data recovery process. During data recovery, all safety procedures should be maintained to ensure that patient data is safe (Colorafi and Bailey, 2016).

Protection and Patient Safety

Health information systems enable controlled access to patient information as only authorized users can access the system. The system only allows people directly involved with the patient where not just anyone can access the information. Antivirus software and Firewalls protect the system against cyber attacks and hacking (Kruse et al,. 2017).

Organizational Efficiency and Productivity

Health information systems enables standardization of documents as documentation is through customized templates that are filled by each user or healthcare provider attending to the patient. This documentation enhances continuity of care as every member of the healthcare team can access patient information and establish occurring trends. The system also reduces wastage as information on previous tests and results is readily available hence there will be no need to redo the tests (Alotaibi and Federico, 2017).

The use of health information systems also enhances productivity as providers have reliable information concerning the patient. When a provider has patient information on their finger tips, there is improvement in patient care and the provider also gets the chance to attend to many patients. This is because less time is taken looking for patient records or consulting other members of the healthcare team. The health institution also saves on human and capital resource as maintaining a health information system does not require the input of many people. A physician will not need another person to retrieve the file for them; they will log in using their passwords and other login details (Alotaibi and Federico, 2017).

Interdisciplinary Team Members for a System Implementation

The four vital stakeholders that are necessary to form an interdisciplinary team to implement a health information system are the nurse informaticist, a systems administrator from the IT department, nurse leader, and the hospital administrator (Kassam, Nagle & Strudwick, 2017).

The nurse informaticist will act as the project leader to coordinate the project and supervise its roll out. The nurse informaticist will be the point of reference for anyone who encounters challenges in the use of the system.  The informaticist should possess leadership skills such as excellent communication skills and have knowledge and experience in information technology (Kassam et al,. 2017). 

The systems administrator will be in charge of the technicalities involving the system. If it malfunctions or does not respond as it should, the system administrator will be the one to deal with the problem. He will also explain the basics of the system to the nurse informaticist (Kassam et al,. 2017). 

The next person is the nurse leader who understands the system currently in use and also understands the challenges brought about by the system. It is through this understanding that they also understand why the current system needs to be changed. With this understanding, they will be in a better position to educate other nurses on the importance of changing to the new system and state the advantages of doing so (Kassam et al,. 2017).

The hospital administrator’s main role is to provide funding for the project. He should also ensure that every member of staff receives adequate training on how to use the health information system; this is done through facilitation of trainers to orient all members of staff (Kassam et al,. 2017).

Plan for Evaluating the Success of the Implementation of a System

The American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA) has an evaluation standard that involves incorporating patient safety measures previously implemented to improve those that have been found to be useful. The implemented system enables automatic creation of care plans into a patient’s chart in reference to information that is available in the system (Lavin, Harper, & Barr, 2015).

Another standard that requires evaluation is simplification of the reporting process when there are issues on patient safety.  Nurses reported encountering difficulties when completing a patient safety occurrence report.  This problem was encountered when explaining what actually happened.  Statements that were more direct were added to the menu and free-text areas were added three more questions to allow the user better explain the scenario (Lavin, Harper, & Barr, 2015).

References

Alotaibi, Y. K., & Federico, F. (2017). The impact of health information technology on patient safety. Saudi medical journal, 38(12), 1173–1180. doi:10.15537/smj.2017.12.20631

Colorafi, K., & Bailey, B. (2016). It’s Time for Innovation in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). JMIR medical informatics, 4(4), e34. doi:10.2196/medinform.6372

Kassam, I., Nagle, L., & Strudwick, G. (2017). Informatics competencies for nurse leaders: protocol for a scoping review. BMJ open, 7(12), e018855. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018855

Kruse, C. S., & Beane, A. (2018). Health Information Technology Continues to Show Positive Effect on Medical Outcomes: Systematic Review. Journal of medical Internet research, 20(2), e41. doi:10.2196/jmir.8793

Kruse, C. S., Smith, B., Vanderlinden, H., & Nealand, A. (2017). Security Techniques for the Electronic Health Records. Journal of medical systems, 41(8), 127. doi:10.1007/s10916-017-0778-4

Lavin, M., Harper, E., Barr, N., (April 14, 2015) “Health Information Technology, Patient Safety, and Professional Nursing Care Documentation in Acute Care Settings” OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 20 No. 2.Manca D. P. (2015). Do electronic medical records improve quality of care? Yes. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, 61(10), 846–851.

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