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Infomatics Needs Assessment Essay

Changes in healthcare and advancements in technology have allowed for new and exciting opportunities to intergrade in the two fields. The government has supported healthcare facilities during this transition since 2009, by providing stimulus money to assist in the transition from paper to electronic medical records (EMR). The Obama administration will start fining healthcare facilities that have not made this transitioned to EMRs by 2015. In order to take advantage of this opportunity and to avoid fines, we must heed this mandate. Many facilities are finding it difficult to find the right system for their work places. This proves the importance of a needs assessment. “A needs assessment is a systematic set of procedures that are used to determine needs, examine their nature and causes, and set priorities for future action.”

Need for Needs Assessment

A needs assessment is an integral and necessary part to implementing change. Preforming this assessment will save money by preventing facilities from spending money on needless changes. During the process it is determined if there really is a need for this change. It also can provide alternative options if the original plan was found to be suboptimal. If the assessment determines that the plan for change is appropriate, the assessment will help set priorities and determine how to allocate resources such as people, money and facilities.

Important considerations

There are a few important aspects of this assessment that must be considered such as: definition of the need, the targeted group and consequences. During a needs assessment the “need” will have to be clearly defined. “A need is a discrepancy or gap between what is and what should be.” For the purposes of healthcare the gap is between paper medical records and electronic medical records. The targeted group most also be defined to ensure that the need fits the group. The question; is this a critical change? Must be answered. Finally, the consequences for misfortune must also be addressed. In healthcare the facility must consider the consequences if implementation of the electronic medical record failed. They would be at a great finical loss.

Collection of data

Data from internal and external environment must be collected. Internal data can be collected from employees, and current technology. Employees can be interviewed for data or the facility can request surveys be filled out. External data can be collected from published literature, information from vendors, regulatory and accreditation requirements, information trending, and organizations like HIMSS or KLAS. HIMSS. Health care information and management systems, vision is to improve health care through incorporation of information technology. KLAS is an organization that collects feedback about healthcare systems and produces ratings. Both these organization can help narrow down the electronic medical record that will fit this facility.

Members involved in needs assessment

During the assessment the people affected should be consulted and directly involved in both the needs assessment and the designing of the program. In healthcare, doctors and nurses should be involved because they will be using the systems. Unit manger will be able to give a unique perspective to help with the functionality of the system and will also be able to boost morale regarding the change. Finally, the designers of the system should be included in the conferences with all other stakeholders. It is important the designers are present to help keep expectation as close to reality as possible.

Conclusion

All medical facilities are faced with the need to implement an electronic medical record in the upcoming years. It is important that this facility finds the right system the first time to avoid unnecessary finical loss. Preforming a needs assessment is the best way to aid in making the best decision.

References
(n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from http://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/compneedsassessment.pdf Why Is Assessment Important? (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/assessment-guide-importance DeSilets, Lynore D, EdD,R.N., B.C. (2006). Needs assessment. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 37(4), 148-9. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/223317102?accountid=458 Hebda, T., & Czar, P. (2013). Handbook of informatics for nurses & healthcare professionals (5th ed.). Boston: Pearson. KLAS Helps Healthcare Providers by Measuring Vendor Performance. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from http://www.klasresearch.com/ HIMSS – Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from http://www.himss.org/ Jackson, D. (2013, September 23). Most health care records now are electronic. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/07/16/obama-electronic-health-care-record-keeping/2521217/


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