Active and evolutionary transformations are occuring in the healthcare industry. The difficulties faced while meeting business goals within the healthcare delivery system and accepting twenty first century digital business practices are overwhelming. Providing care in today's multifaceted, healthcare delivery networks presents challenges formerly unseen in this industry. In particular, healthcare executives and clinical professionals are challenged to delineate and employ information systems that are efficient and successful, while meeting the needs of their company.
The days of documenting in a paper format are becoming obsolete in an industry that has provided way to exceedingly complex and sophisticated clinical functionality that is maintained by refined technologies, complex infrastructures, and constantly mounting demands for assimilation and diffusion of data for real-time analysis and proactive outcome management of the patient. Conventional paradigms and methods of paper documentation are miserably inadequate, inefficient, and futile in meeting today's incorporated healthcare business needs (Coile, 2000). Nowadays healthcare organizations, providers as well as health plans, are progressively better equipped for the information age. (Drazen, 1999).
Health Care Informatics
Health care informatics has been defined as "the integration of health sciences, computer science, information science, and cognitive science to assist in the management of health care information". Since 1984 nursing informatics has established itself into a specialized role and the American Nurses Association has provided scope and standards regarding this specialty (Guenther, 2006). As nursing informatics continues to develop in the healthcare field, technological advancements are continuously rising along with the need for leaders to guide healthcare professionals in the appropriate direction. Key roles must be played while implementing information systems so that the quality of care may be improved (McCormick, ., Delaney, C., et al). Nursing informatics' goal is to "optimize information management and communication through theuse of information technology and support nurses as they improve the health of populations, communities, families and individuals by optimizing information management and communication" (Curlin and Simpson, 2001). The role of the informatics nurse is crucial to the evolving issues and trends in nursing informatics. Roles of the Informatics Nurse Specialist include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Employing the life cycle of information systems which include analyzing data, NI (Nursing Informatics) and IS (Information Systems)
- Designing, choosing, implementing, and evaluating IS; these systems support patients, nurses, and their management of health information.
- Nursing knowledge facilitator (Curlin and Simpson, 2001).
Each role assumes its own responsibility when dealing with the new trends that arise frequently in this newly discovered component of nursing. Essential responsibilities are placed on the NIS to keep informed of changes that are made frequently, to utilize sources having information regarding these changes, and most importantly realizing what the changes/trends encompass.
Healthcare entities will have to be able to make use of technology to automate procedures for better competence. The ability to balance swiftness, expenditure, and eminence of care delivery will determine the ultimate fate of healthcare organizations. Those who dispense quality care at the best cost and do it proficiently will be rewarded with repeat customers and productive manages care contracts. Failure to act upon any one of these elements (speed, quality or cost) will be catastrophic to a healthcare organization. Linking clinicians and users to patient information, despite of where that data resides or where the user happens to be, is vital for today's healthcare organizations. Healthcare institutions are more and more turning to Web based technology as a solution to offer user-personalized vision of information, regardless of the data source, distant location, language, or user device (Adi, 1999).
New System Development
Until now most systems could be categorized as administrative systems, handling the business allied functions of a hospital. Though administrative systems will still be a vital part of the healthcare industry the new structures under development will transform the character of healthcare systems. Some of these include the following:
"Logician" is an electronic medical record (EMR) system that allows ambulatory care physicians and clinical staff to document patient encounters, rationalize clinical workflow, and securely exchange clinical data with other providers, patients, and information systems.
Logician is used by many physicians to supervise millions of patient records; making it the most widely used ambulatory care electronic medical record. Data is organized in a familiar problem oriented format with a one-screen summary of key information. Logician Ambulatory enables a care team to concurrently view and edit the same chart from different workstations, permitting information to flow efficiently and fast. Scanned and transcribed documents are also simple to include into a patient's chart.
With direct access to libraries of problem and medication reference information, clinicians can make more educated decisions, resulting in improved diagnoses, ordering patterns, disease management, and eventually offer more professional care and higher patient satisfaction. Logician Ambulatory interfaces with all key information systems, including practice management software, transcription services, labs, and hospital information systems, for easy integration and information exchange.
- Customize displays of key clinical information by individual or specialty.
- Electronic encounter forms can be customized to facilitate efficient data entry.
- Prevent detrimental drug interactions with medication checking.
Carts are getting smarter. Several manufacturers serving healthcare say they are shifting focus away from simply providing the wheels and steel that make bedside computing possible and are becoming, in effect, medical device companies. The concept of the "all-in-one" cart is not new in healthcare, but what the phrase means may be changing. Rather than just building onto their carts the space and attachments upon which providers can mount laptop PC's, keyboards and monitors; some companies have begun delving into clinical software integration and development.
As the healthcare industry progresses it is imperative that companies have a digital plan in a place to provide a roadmap for potential investments. The frontrunners in the healthcare industry will be those companies, which have a well thought-out digital business plan.
- Adi Armoni1999.. Healthcare Information Systems: Challenges of the New Millennium, Hershey, Idea Group Publishing,
- Coile, R. 2000, "E-Health: Reinventing Healthcare in the Information Age." Journal of Healthcare Management, 45(3), 206-210.
- Ida M. Androwich., Carol J. Bickford., Patricia S. Button., Kathleen M. Hunter., Judy Murphy., and Joyce Sensmeier. 2003.Clinical Information Systems: A Framework for Reaching the Vision, American Medical Informatics Association, American Nursing Association, http://prism.troy.edu/~tcaraway/Trends%20in%20Healthcare%20Technology.pdf