Electronic Health Information Technology
Health Information Technology (HIT) provides an overall logical framework upon which computerized systems are used to manage healthcare information within the healthcare sector (Tomasi, 2010). HIT makes the exchange of the healthcare information between the insurers, consumers, healthcare providers, independent quality and governmental agencies possible. The main purpose of the Health Information Technology is to improve the overall efficiency, safety, and quality of the service delivery within the healthcare systems. The health care experts, policy makers, payers and consumers consider health information technologies, such as electronic health records and computerized provider order entry, to be critical to transforming the health care industry. Electronic Health Information Technology
W. defines Health Information as the systems of computer program software and physical hardware components that systematically function to process, store, retrieve, use, and share healthcare knowledge, data, and information for the purposes of the communication within the healthcare system. The information, knowledge and data accrued from the Health Information Technology (HIT) are very useful in the development of various public health policies because they provide precise details about the patterns of all epidemics in a given population, prevalence of infections, frequency of various diseases within the healthcare system.
The concept of HIT has fully infiltrated all the major healthcare systems in the provision of primary health care across the world. As observed by Tomasi (2010) in their health care publication, Health information technologies in primary health care in developing countries: a literature review, all the major health care systems provides for the computerization of their data system within their expansive areas of operation. The report further elaborates that the success of this technological advancement in the healthcare sector calls for the concerted efforts of the IT experts, consultants, policy makers, medical care givers and insurers. Each of these stakeholders plays an important role in the computerization of the healthcare systems.
The information technology experts will develop all the necessary hardware and software programs that will meet the demands of the healthcare services as far as networking of all healthcare systems within a given area of operation is concerned. These are the basic components which are necessary for the effective computerization of the health care systems. Similarly, the contributions of the healthcare experts and healthcare policy makers are also crucial in the development of Health Information Technology because they lay down all the fundamental features to be included in the programs under development. The contributions of these stakeholders ensure that the HIT covers all the major areas of the healthcare systems without any fail.
According to W., there are basic features of the Health Information Technology that must be put into consideration in the development of various healthcare programs. Electronic Health Information Technology First of all, software programs of the HIT must be user friendly in the sense that all categories of the healthcare practitioners and service providers must find these programs easy to learn and use. This quality will ensure that the HIT programs and the subsequent computerization of the healthcare information is realized considering that all the healthcare providers fully embrace its applications in the management of health information. Secondly, the HIT must indiscriminately integrate all areas of health care operations into its systems for the purposes of universality. In this way, the HIT will comprehensively satisfy all the needs within the healthcare systems.
The HIT has completely revolutionized the operations of the healthcare provision in different parts of the world. Many governments have made it their policy that all health records have to be stored within the Electronic Health Record . The health records in paper files are no longer kept in the metallic cabins where they are liable to physical destruction, misplacement, or manipulations and are difficult to retrieve should there any need arise. Walker, Bieber & Richard, Electronic Health Record (EHR) is the commonest application of the Health Information Technology applied within the health care industry on a day-to-day basis.
According to W., Electronic Health Record (EHR) is the systematic gathering and storage of an individual patient’s electronic health information within the systems of Health Information Technology. These stored electronic health information could then be retrieved for future uses. EHR provides a technological platform upon which all heath records of a particular individual entity could be all consolidated under one portfolio within the healthcare system. Electronic Health Information Technology The resultant e-records could then be accessed by different healthcare providers from the system in different locations at the same time. This is the superiority of the EHR over the filing system of health information records. The use of Health Information Technology (IT) in the healthcare sector is a growing reality in many parts of the world- both developed and developing alike. Many governments have made a policy that the healthcare facilities such as hospitals must keep electronic records of the health information within the HIT and these governments have also provided adequate funds to ensure that the cost of installing HIT systems are catered for. According to the statistics given by W., 61% of the world healthcare systems have fully embraced the HIT in the management of their information, 31% are still in the process of computerizing their health records while a small percentage of 8% use the traditional filing system. However, the Elaine is categorical that in healthcare systems (mostly poor developing countries) where HIT is either partially or not embraced, strategic plans are underway to ensure that all their healthcare systems are computerized by the year 2018 as stipulated in their strategic development goals. Electronic Health Information Technology
All the information systems within the healthcare systems as given by healthcare providers, insurers, and the medical facilities are interconnected through the highly modernized infrastructure of the healthcare information technology. The highly centralized healthcare information system acts as a server to all component terminals within the infrastructure. All forms of data are first sent to the central database for storage after which they can be strictly accessed by authorized entities from the system. Besides the data security maintained within the Electronic Health Records, the independent Information systems are capable of storing, relaying and retrieving clients’ information from the database at any given time without any difficulty. For this reason, it greatly increases the efficiency of the healthcare systems.
The components of the Health Information Technology systems ensure that all the healthcare facilities and service providers can adequately manage their database without any possible error. Electronic Health Information Technology All information entered into the EHR is accurate and not liable to any manipulation since they system highly encrypted to lock out manipulations of stored data. Unlike in the filing system, the EHR guarantees the clients’ confidential information maximum safety against unauthorized access. This feature makes the EHR a preferred choice of keeping healthcare information. Data security is another reason why healthcare providers resort to the electronic health records. Once clinical/medical information is collected from the client (patient), it is converted into digital electronic records which is then stored into the system for future references. The e-records cannot be lost from the system as would be the case with physical paperwork kept in a file.
There are several side benefits that are associated with the HIT. Considering that the HIT tracks all the clinical history of a patient, all the medications and prescribed drugs are enlisted in the system against the exact dates when they were dispensed. Electronic Health Information Technology Most importantly, the system also contains other sensitive information about an individual patient before hand for example group of drugs the patient adversely reacts to, medical conditions such as hypertension, and asthma. In this way, any attending doctor or medical practitioners will be able to get all the relevant information on the onset of medication. As such, the electronic health record system reduces medical error by a larger margin above 78%.
Furthermore, the improvement of the heath care quality is another advantage that HIT introduces into the health care system. The introduction of the telemedicine allows the patients to directly seek the expertise services of the medical practitioners without necessarily visiting the health facilities. The Health Information Technology will then allow the medical experts to conduct elaborate diagnosis online via Electronic Health Record with precision (Gartee, 2011). This unfolding technological advancement in the health sector makes heath accessible and affordable to an increasing number of people within the society.
The existence of an elaborate Information Technology infrastructure between the healthcare service providers and healthcare facilities such as hospitals and medical care services allows for the maintenance of accurate electronic health records (Kirch, 2008). The electronic health records contain all the necessary medical information about a particular patient in a consolidated manner notwithstanding changes in the medical service providers or geographical location because all these information are integrated at the wider National Health Information Network. Electronic Health Information Technology
The architectural design of the EHR guarantees accurate and reliable transmission of data within the integrated healthcare system. The EHR has made it possible to integrate all the components of the Clinical Information Systems (information about the medications given by medical practitioners to a particular patient) and the hospital information systems (records of patients’ particulars by a particular health facility for their internal use). The introduction of health information technology has brought about much transformation in the healthcare industry. HIT increases efficiency of the healthcare services therefore many hospitals and other healthcare providers have increased their capacity to extend their services clients (Walker, Bieber & Richards, 2006). Similarly, patients are happy with the high quality services of the healthcare providers. Electronic Health Information Technology
1.2 Research Problem Statement
Over the past three decades, the healthcare systems in many countries have experienced serious problems in the management of their medical information across the world. Majority still resort to the use of physical files in keeping patients’ records. As a result, lots of medical and clinical healthcare information are liable to get damaged or lost altogether. Additionally, the much required information about the increasing numbers of patients becomes extremely difficult to retrieve- a phenomenon that contributes to the inefficiency of the healthcare systems.
For the past three decades, all the healthcare systems have experienced a serious lapse in the management of their health information records following the increasing number of patients who come to the health facilities seeking for the healthcare services. Considering that the healthcare facilities relied on the explicit use of outdated methods of file storage systems to keep their information, they are liable to lose most of their information contained in the files for various reasons. This leads into reduced profitability of the health care firms.
The method of file storage compromises the security of the healthcare information. Over a period of time as the healthcare facilities and insurance companies expand their businesses, their volumes of data increases far beyond the capacity of the existing conventional types of file storage. Electronic Health Information Technology This phenomenon compromises the security of patient files stored within file storage system. In the event of transferring files from one storage device to another, information is lost since some parts of the files could be lost, misplaced or get damaged altogether. The limitation of the available space is the major challenge of using the conventional file storage.
The use of outdated methods of file storage presents the problem of accessibility. Due to the increased demand for the health care services, the required data could not be accessed with speed as desired. The administrators will spend more time and energy trying to locate where a particular file is placed. This manner of inconveniences will reduce the efficiency of the health care facilities since their rate of working is slowed down especially if the patient volume is high. Similarly, this system of data storage does not readily allow for the regulatory that ensures that data are verified within the system. Electronic Health Information Technology
Finally, the compromised data safety within the conventional file storage system renders it obsolete in the management of data since the files could easily to a number of factors. The number enemy to the filing system of keeping health records is fire. In case of any fire break out, the papers files normally stored within the metallic cabins are most likely to catch fire. Over a period of time, the paperwork can also be lost to oxidation and yellowing of the record papers.
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