Over the history of the healthcare industry, there has been a great deal of evolution in the manner in which information regarding the operations is handled. Initially manual ways of handling the data that was collected were employed. The data of individual patients or populations was collected in the most basic ways and processed in the simplest form and the retrieval was also basic. Concepts have been coming up that seek to enable a more effective and efficient manner of data handling and processing of the data that is collected.
Such concepts include electronic healthcare systems (E H S) that has features which included digital format that enables information to be read across the board by any interested parties. The system also makes it possible for sharing of the information by the hospitals regarding common patients and populations in order to make appropriate decisions. Such information may include medical history of patients, their personal data and their general information (Westbrook, 2007). The modernization of the information systems has had a positive impact on the flow of information the ease of retrieval of information from their databases for reference by the medical personnel or the individual patients. Basically, the advent of information technology and the related software have had a positive effect on the healthcare industry and for sure have raised the standards that exist.
Health informatics is a concept of collection storage synthesis processing and communicating of clinical information that is of need. It encompasses communication computer knowledge and information technology in its operations (Reid et al, 2005). It also has an approach of having a database of information that all the physicians or the nurses have a bank of information regarding their patients on personal, medical and all other relevant information on their healthcare matters. This helps in decision making to be easy and acceptable to both the clinicians and the patients that are being treated. Reid et al. (2005) also assets that this assists in making the strategies that are long-term for future usage application and their implementation. There are various sub domains of the informatics as a wide field namely, clinical informatics, nursing informatics, dental informatics bio and other forms of informatics that are worth mentioning. A detailed overview of the data research, the impact of the information technologies and the relevant information software is going to be the focus of the essay here.
Data research and collection is the most important step in any medical practice in any time because it forms the basis of the course of action to be taken on any patients. With the rise of the technology ways have been brought forward that have an ease of collecting information before embarking on the actual treatment of the patient. The concept of informatics provides for information such as immunization status of the patients, the medical history and present symptoms of the patients, medication allergies, laboratory results and radiology images in a digitalized format that goes to the systems automatically.
Graphs and charts form the avenues where the processed data or statistics is channeled and stored for future reference. The methods are digitalized in nature meaning it would be easy to retrieve or get back the data in a more easy way. The electronic patient record is one that is maintained by individual institutions that focuses on each patient and provides for his or her data whenever possible. According to Horwitt (2010) such record provides for evidence based decision support for patients by the physicians, better management of the patients affairs and a safe way of keeping the information.
According to Westbrook (2007) this approach can be termed as the secondary data use whereby, data collected once is analyzed and stored to be re used later. A good example is the usage in monitoring patient with terminal illnesses whereby their improvement or deterioration is closely monitored by their practitioners. Its easier to understand what medications work well for them and what quantities of those medications they ought to take. Also the financial effectiveness of the patient an also be accounted for.
This intelligent way of data research and collection plays an important role in the flow of information and time saving in the due process of decision making. The data research includes ease to handle the logistics, collaboration and sharing of the information available by the parties involved and the integration of the data. Data research can be a tedious activity especially with the increasing population and hence need for a more effective way of doing it. There are various studies currently being carried out in the information sector that seek to establish an integrated system where it’s easier to collect, analyze and store information.
The information technology as a sector is multifaceted and has integrated many fields to its self and the healthcare sector has not been left behind. For instance in march 2001 the Quality Committee of the United States or America gave out a report that showed that the healthcare system is ineffective and needs to be repaired. The report further showed that the there was inconsistent provision of information generally; there was also evidence of poor decisions that were usually taken that resulted from a poor reference of information regarding the patients that were being admitted on the American hospitals.
It then recommended the information technology sector to carry out various researches that were to highlight such shortcomings. One such result was the ‘computer based preference assessment programs’. They were programs that seek to know how the patients prefer to be treated and how they rate their treatment process. The method operates on scales and percentages that the patients rate their physicians. This technology that is today done on the internet has helped to understand the patients better and in a more insightful way. The informatics system in relations to the information technology doesn’t deal only with computers but also guidelines, formal medical terminologies, information systems and communications systems.
Lately all these aspects have been incorporated into the systems and have seen it move to a higher level. Dating back to 1998, a systematic review showed that a systemized work by a doctor had advantage to both the patient and the physicians. There was evidence of lower medical error by the doctors as well as ease of monitoring his patients Also the patients have had a more open and easy records that are with their doctors. However with the successes that are reported, fewer implementations are seen regarding the advancements that have been made even in the US, this is due to general laxity by the authority to do the same or the patients themselves rarely cooperating to give out their information. Most of the time it takes time to understand the trend that the patient is taking medically. This may result to doctors taking unprecedented actions in making medical decisions.
Other technologies that are worth mentioning include those that have been developed lately that aim at provision of safety to the patients. They include automated medical dispensers which help in giving out medical information like allergies or pending blood clots and give signals for the patients to be administered with therapeutics that have to be administered. The advancement of social networks and the increased usage of the internet have enabled the transfer and share of information from one place to another. It is possible that the information regarding the medical practice can be transferred over these sites. It’s evident that they haven’t been fully utilized.