Technologies and Strategic Information Systems Plans Professor’s Name,

Course Title
Technologies and Strategic Information Systems Plans
Enhanced information flow within a healthcare organization, is today
considered as a quality differentiator and a competitive advantage among
the healthcare providers (Lindsay, 2000). The role information
technology plays in generating high quality healthcare is growing
rapidly. As information technology continues to penetrate into the
healthcare industry, patients as well as the healthcare providers are
experiencing the gains of free access to medical information whenever
such information is required (Health Metrics Network, 2005).
In addition, numerous outcomes have been associated with the adoption of
information technology within the healthcare sector (Lindsay, 2000).
This paper generally seeks to examine technology and healthcare
information systems. Some of the key aspects that will be discussed
include the impact of technologies on healthcare information systems,
threats to quality health care data, the basic components of a strategic
information system plan, and the current regulations, laws and standards
governing health care information.
Impact of Technologies on Healthcare Information Systems
Healthcare information systems forms the umbrella framework that
provides a description of the comprehensive management regarding health
information across computerized systems, along with its secure exchange
between providers, consumers, insurers, and government entities (Health
Metrics Network, 2005). There are various outcomes associated with the
adoption of technologies on healthcare information systems. First,
information technology helps to enhance patient adherence to doctors’
protocols and guidelines. This is often conducted through the decision
support system as computerized reminders, usually embedded in either
computerized provider order-entry systems (CPOE) or in electronic health
records (EHRs). For example, a survey indicates an increase from 12% to
33% in the number of patients with colorectal cancer adhering to fecal
occult blood test, through the use of the decision support system (Basit
et al., 2006).
Second, technology affects healthcare information by aiding large-scale
data analysis and integration. For example, combining electronic health
records could help in identifying adverse drug events and formulate
interventions to deal with such events. According to Javitt et al.,
(2005) this approach can reduce adverse drug events considerably, 7.6%
within the control group, and 2.2% within the intervention group. Health
information technology also promotes automated quality care evaluation
and the identification of tests and procedures that are ineffective.
Third, technology can help minimize medical errors. Healthcare
information technology allows aggregation of automated knowledge
updating tools and decision making tools, thus minimizing chances of
medical errors as a result of the gap between the modern standard of
care and the doctors’ knowledge (Basit et al., 2006). The use of
electronic health records was reported to minimize medical errors by
20-86% and enhance correct medication measure by 12-20% (Basit et al.,
2006).
Since children and infants are often considered to be at a higher risk
for medication errors, a study on the medication errors taking place in
pediatric units found out that computerized clinical decision support
system and provider order-entry systems would prevent about 75.8% of
detrimental errors (Basit et al., 2006). Fourth, technologies affect
healthcare information systems by lessening utilization and provider
time. The use of the decision support system during care lowers the
utilization rates from 8.5 -24%. To be precise, technology lowers
primary care visits by 11% and specialty care visits by 5% (Basit et
al., 2006). The use of technology in healthcare systems is also
associated with reduced healthcare costs. Generally, the use of
technology in healthcare information systems is seen to generate various
impacts, such as improved and quality care, efficiency and safety in
terms of health delivery (Basit et al., 2006).
Threats to the Quality of Healthcare Data and how they can be Addressed
The whole notion of a computerized electronic records system is
generally good, considering the positive impacts it generates both to
the healthcare providers and patients, but this can only remain
beneficial if the current threats to the quality of health care data are
addressed. Issues to do with security breaches continue to be
highlighted as the greatest concern to healthcare data (Rainer, 2012).
Document leaks, information theft and identity fraud are on the rise. A
recent study highlighted a 32% rise in data breaches within the
healthcare industry (Rainer, 2012). In addition, 965 of the healthcare
organizations reported experiencing a data breach in the last two years
(Rainer, 2012). Some of the major threats to the security of information
include the rise of mobile devices. According to Rainer (2012) 81% of
healthcare organizations keep sensitive data on mobile devices. However,
most of the organizations do not take any necessary steps to protect
this data.
Most of the mobile devices are prone to theft or being lost, for
instance, in October 2011, over 4 million patients’ records from
Sutter Health were exposed after a PC was stolen (Javitt et al., 2005).
Another threat to the security of data is increased collaboration and
sharing. Organizations and individuals are increasingly sharing
information across boundaries with a lot of ease. However, this comes
with a lot of risks, given that the security precautions of available to
the organization break when the information is leaked to another. There
is also the advanced persistent threat, which refers to long-term
hacking attacks directed to organizations. This often leads to
destruction of sensitive information (Rainer, 2012).
To address the issue of data breaches, there is need to deploy
technology to protect shared documents. Technology should also be
deployed to control and protect the organization’s information that is
kept in mobile devices. Users should also be advised to lock mobile
devices with strong passwords and codes. It is also important to ensure
the organization’s antivirus software is updated and systems patched.
This will enable it deal with new threats.
Current Regulations, Laws, and Standards Regarding Healthcare
Information
Just like in any other industry, a number of regulations, laws and
standards have been formulated to govern information within the
healthcare industry. These revolve around accreditation, certification
and licensure, and the legal aspects of healthcare information (Javitt
et al., 2005). For instance, the law requires that states oversee the
licensure of a healthcare facility, and a facility has to have a license
for it operate. In addition, it is required that healthcare
organizations are accredited and certified by the accreditation
organizations in order to ensure quality service delivery (Javitt et
al., 2005).
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization, a
non-profit accreditation organization, emphasizes on healthcare
information and the documentation of care, given that the hospital
standards are assessed basing on the patient medical records (Health
Metrics Network, 2005). A patient’s health record has to be viewed as
a legal document, which means the documentation of all healthcare
services provided to a patient by the healthcare organization. The laws
also call for the authentication of health care information. This refers
to the justification of the correctness of the information itself, and
for the user of the information (Javitt et al., 2005). There is also the
privacy and confidentiality policy which provides the right to restrict
access to healthcare information and the expectation that the
information will be applied to attain its intended purpose. Furthermore,
healthcare organizations are required to maintain comprehensive
procedures and policies for releasing patient information (Javitt et
al., 2005). For instance, for information required for routine use,
consent is required before it is released, whereas authorization is
required for non-routine use.
However, whereas the current practices appear legally binding and
appropriate for quality service delivery, there is a lot to be done to
protect this data from security breaches. Issues to do with data theft,
hacking and leaking is on the rise and there is need to make more
research on this and come up with laws and regulations that will ensure
the security of this information.
Basic Components of a Strategic Information System Plan
Health information system is any system that keys in, records, transmits
or manages information regarding an individual’s health or the
organizations activities for those within the health sector. This
incorporates such issues as disease surveillance systems, hospital
patient administration systems, laboratory information systems, human
resource management information systems, and routine information
systems. Generally, a well functioning health information system refers
to an integrated effort to bring together, process, use and report
health knowledge and information to influence decision making and policy
and policy, programme action, public and individual health research and
outcomes (Health Metrics Network, 2005). Proper decision making at all
levels of requires reliable health records and statistics. In their
Framework and Standards for Country Health Information Systems, the
Health Metrics Network, describe a health information system as
comprising of six basic components (Health Metrics Network, 2005). The
first component is the health information systems resources, which
include the regulatory, legislative and planning frameworks needed for a
well functioning health information system, together with the resources
needed for such a system to be operational. These resources include
personnel, information and communications technology, logistics support,
financing and coordinating system between and within the six components.
The second component is the indicators.
A set of indicators plus other related targets forms the basis of any
health information system strategy and plan. Indicators have to cover up
the determinants of health health status, outcomes and outputs, and
health system inputs. The third component is the data sources. These
can be grouped into population-based approaches, for instance population
surveys, civil registration, or census, and institution-based
approaches, such as resource records, service records, and individual
records (Health Metrics Network, 2005). The fourth component is data
management. This mainly encompasses all aspects regarding data handling
from the initial step of data collection, to data processing, analysis
and compilation. The fifth component is the information products. In
this case, data has to be converted into information that can be used as
the basis for knowledge and evidence to influence health action. The
last component is dissemination and use. According to the Health Metrics
Network, the significance of health information is improved by making it
easily accessible to decision makers, and facilitating information use
(Health Metrics Network, 2005).
Conclusion
While healthcare providers and patients have always been the core of
healthcare system, the significance of the adoption of information
technology is gaining rapid use. According to the documented evidence,
the adoption and use of information technology generates positive
impacts. However, this can only be considered significant if threats to
the quality of health care data are addressed. It is therefore
important to integrate a security solution that will guard the integrity
of sensitive and private data, and seal any vulnerability gaps within
the organization’s network.
References
Basit Chaudhry, Jerome Wang, Shinyi Wu, Margaret Maglione, Walter
Mojica, Elizabeth Roth, Sally C. Morton, and Paul G. Shekelle (2006).
Systematic Review: Impact of Health Information Technology on Quality,
Efficiency, and Costs of Medical Care Ann Intern Med 144: 742-752
Health Metrics Network (2005). Framework and Standards for Country
Health Information Systems,Available in HYPERLINK
“http://www.who.int/healthmetrics/en/”
http://www.who.int/healthmetrics/en/ Accessed on April 26, 2013
Javitt JC, Steinberg G, Locke T, Couch JB, Jacques J, Juster I, Reisman
L (2005). Using a Claims Data-Based Sentinel System to Improve
Compliance With Clinical Guidelines: Results of a Randomized Prospective
Study. Am J Manag Care. 11(2):93-102.
Lindsay, John (2000). Information Systems – Fundamentals and Issues.
New York: Kingston University, School of Information Systems
Rainer, R. Kelly Jr and Casey G. Cegielski (2012). Introduction to
Information System: Support and Transforming Business Fourth Edition.
New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2012
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