By Adrian Johansen, freelance writer; @AdrianJohanse18.
Information systems play key roles in healthcare data collection and management. And healthcare providers are increasingly using these systems to connect patient care plans like never before.
For healthcare professionals, a clear understanding of information systems is paramount. Healthcare professionals must understand how to use these systems for patient care plans. That way, these professionals can leverage patient data and insights to deliver exceptional care.
The True Value of Information Systems for Healthcare
Healthcare information systems simplify patient data collection and management. Every day, healthcare professionals generate massive volumes of patient data. Meanwhile, tracking and organizing this information can be challenging for several reasons.
First, healthcare organizations may use disparate systems to store patient data. The systems may provide limited access to this information. They may make it virtually impossible for healthcare professionals to seamlessly retrieve and review patient data at a moment’s notice, too.
Along with using disparate data storage systems, security and compliance issues are present. Healthcare organizations must secure patient data and ensure only authorized personnel can access their information storage systems. At the same time, they must comply with the HIPAA Security Rule. If healthcare organizations fail to do so, they risk exposing patient data to cybercriminals. They can also face compliance penalties.
Information systems represent the future of information technology in healthcare since they address a wide range of data collection and management issues. When used correctly, information systems ensure healthcare professionals can securely and seamlessly access patient data as needed.
Information Systems Bridge the Gap
Healthcare information systems can help a patient keep their doctor up to date regarding their health and wellbeing. To understand why, let’s consider an example. An individual may require immediate medical attention. At this point, the individual may contact an urgent care facility. He or she can then receive appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Thanks to healthcare information systems, a doctor can review patient data provided during an urgent care visit or other appointments. In the aforementioned example, a doctor can view information from their patient’s urgent care visit. He or she can use this information to follow up with the patient about any health issues reported during the visit. The doctor can also use the data to help guide their treatment of a patient going forward.
Reaping the Benefits of Information Systems
There can be instances in which a patient works with doctors across several fields. In these cases, it can be tough for multiple doctors to coordinate patient care. Fortunately, healthcare information systems address this issue.
For instance, a patient coping with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can initially consult with their primary care physician. Next, the PCP can perform myriad tests to determine the severity of their patient’s symptoms and explore treatment options. He or she may prescribe antacids or other medications to help the patient alleviate their GERD symptoms. In addition, the PCP may request regular follow-up appointments to validate the success of their treatment.
If the GERD patient experiences no symptomatic improvement, additional treatment may be required. With healthcare information systems, the PCP can upload details about the patient’s treatment to date. And if the patient ultimately requires advanced treatment from a gastroenterologist, this professional can leverage healthcare information systems to quickly and securely access the patient’s prior treatment details. The gastroenterologist can then work with the patient and their PCP to determine what treatment can deliver long-lasting relief of GERD symptoms.
Plan Ahead for Healthcare Information Systems
Expect healthcare professionals to increasingly embrace information systems in the years to come. The systems empower healthcare professionals to stay on the same page as one another and their patients. As a result, the systems can empower healthcare professionals to provide patients with the care they deserve.
To realize the full value of information systems, healthcare professionals must plan accordingly. They must account for data quality and consistency as they implement their systems.
An information system should allow healthcare professionals to exchange patient data electronically. The system should not force these professionals to compromise security, speed, or efficiency. Rather, it should help healthcare professionals keep the lines of communication open with one another, to the point where they can work together to achieve common goals.
When it comes to healthcare information systems, it is beneficial to develop a framework in advance. From here, healthcare professionals can verify that data can be properly shared, stored, and maintained.
Once a framework is in place, healthcare professionals can get started with information systems. Implement an information system over time and evaluate its performance regularly. If any issues are identified, find out why they are happening. Then, take steps to prevent such issues from recurring.
Use Healthcare Information Systems to Optimize Patient Care
Information systems will continue to evolve. Healthcare professionals can capitalize on these systems today and seek out ongoing improvements. By doing so, they can get the most value out of their healthcare information system investments. And they can verify that these systems can be used to optimize patient care.