Today we have the pleasure of discussing the Evolution of Health Care Information Systems. Specifically we will review a compare and contrast of a health care facilities operations today with the operations of it 20 years ago. We will define HCIS as well as look at different health information systems today and major events and technological advantages that have influenced current Health Care Information Systems (HCIS) practices. We will learn how health care information systems have shaped the delivery of health care today so that we may be a part of the solution. Health Care Information Systems
To truly understand the benefit of Health Care Information Systems, it is critical that a clear understanding of its true definition is learned. We know that data consists of raw facts about people, places, events and other things that are of importance in any organization. When that data is processed into a more meaningful form, it is then called information and can be the basis for decision making. According to Wager, Lee & Glaser (2009), “a health care information system (HCIS) is an arrangement of information (data), processes, people, and information technology that interact to collect, process, store, and provide as output information needed to support the health care organization”. To further put things into perspective, there are two primary classes of health care information systems and they are administrative and clinical. Although they are both health care information systems, they perform totally different functions and contain different information.
An administrative information system would contain information specific to financial data or administrative that would help to support management and general operations of the health care organization. These systems might support personnel management, supply management, equipment or human resources management. Clinical information systems are very different from administrative in that they contain information that is clinical in nature or health-related that is used by health care providers when diagnosing, treating, and monitoring patients care. Wager, Lee & Glaser, (2009). Another interesting fact about clinical information systems is that these systems can be departmental such as radiology, pharmacy or laboratory systems. Wager, Lee, & Glaser, (2009). Skilled Nursing Facilities 20 years later
Skilled Nursing Facilities have made leaps and bounds in significant changes over the past 20 years. Tanner Memorial Hospital, which is now Tanner Health System is nothing like it originated 20 years back and has now transformed into a health system with all its specialties and wide range of services currently offered. It did not offer inpatient behavioral care in the same capacity as today and in fact, when the new Willowbrooke at Tanner opened in Villa Rica, GA, it was the newest facility of its kind in the last 20 years and consisted of beds for adults, elder adults, children and adolescents. Tanner Health Systems, (2012). Information technology was slow to take off 20 years ago in the health care industry. Skilled nursing facilities were doing things manually which was hand written documentation or typewritten. This is quite different from today when information technology has exploded and continues to expand and develop at a rapid pace.
According to Sheehan (2011), until recent years technology was not a subject that was often mentioned in the long term care environment. There was a perception that the “LTC industry is somewhat of a late adaptor of technological advancements”. Today all that is changing due to “provider demand, vendor interest and a growing number of tech-savvy seniors”. (Sheehan, 2011). Although 20 years ago skilled nursing facilities may have been falling behind in recognizing the vital importance of implementing information systems, today skilled nursing facilities relay heavily on technology like telemedine or tele-health. Many facilities that are in rural areas are really dependent on telemedicine and tele-health. Billing operation systems, clinical and administrative information systems are now a necessity for successful daily operations and skilled nursing relies heavily on information technology to process payroll, employee records, updating patient care and treatment plans, insurance and personal information.
During the 1980’s, health care systems were for collecting data about patient demographics, insurance information and other information for billing purposes. Today, current health care information systems offer a more flexible and sophisticated framework. There is no longer the daunting tasks of writing things manually and other administrative duties that were time consuming. We now have sophisticated systems that are capable of handling clinical decision support systems, archiving communication systems, and digitization of diagnostic images. (Hebda, Czar, & Mascara, 2009). 20 years ago, physicians were a bit reluctant to share patient information with other physician practices, today physician practices are finding creative and innovative ways to exchange patient health information in a timely, efficient and secured manner which enhances coordination of patient care. The implementation of electronic medical record systems prevents the delays attributed to traditional mail or faxing paper medical records. These health care information systems help physician practices to effectively and efficiently share information that can reduce health care costs as well as improve patient care. Two Major Event and Technological Advantages
A major event that influence health care information systems is the enactment of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This law plays a pivotal role in “regulating, and increasing the confidentiality, and securing of health care data” (HIPAA, 2003). With the ability to pay and submit claims electronically, there was a definite need for protecting data and it was apparent. Before HIPAA came along, the rules and regulations were quite different from state to state and between health care organizations. There was no consistency and the need for regulation was visible from all stakeholders involved. Another major event was in 2004 when President Bush asked health care providers to implement Electronic Health Records (EHR) by 2014.
The Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) joined the initiative and also asked health care providers to be compliant with the new legislation. Many community-based physician practices that were once reluctant to conform to the implementation of new technology are now realizing the many benefits of the health care information systems like computerized physician order entry (CPOE), electronic medical records (EMR), tele-medicine and automated billing systems. The implementation of tele-health and telemedicine brought about many advances in healthcare and continue to prove to be a needed health resource. Conclusion
The evolution of health care information systems will continue to have a positive effect and a huge significance to the health care industry. Tele-health and telemedicine are major events that have shaped todays delivery of health care and HIPAA laws will continue to protect the rights of patients and their personal information. In the Mid 1980’s and early 1990’s, physician practices would not have imagines that Health Care Information Systems would play such a vital role in shaping the delivery of health care and yet, here we are.
Czar, P., & Mascara, C. (2009). Handbook of informatics for nurses & health care professionals (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall HIPAA.org (February 12, 2003).HIPAA. Retrieved July 13, 2014 from http://www.hipaa.org/ Sheehan, P. (2011, July). Technology takes off in health care. Long-Term Living, Retrieved from http://www.ltlmagazine.com/article/technology-takes-long-term-care Hebda, T., Tanner.org (2012) Retrieved July 12, 2014 from http://www.tanner.org/Main/History.aspx Wager, K. A., Lee, F. W., & Glaser, J. P. (2009). Health care information systems: A practical approach for health care management. (2nd ed.). (pp. 87-90). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Wiley.