Healthcare facilities are continually searching for new ways to improve patient outcomes and create an efficient facility. Electronic records transform healthcare facilities’ operations by digitally storing all patient records, providing instant access for medical staff, and improving doctor-patient interactions.
At Scott-Clark Medical, we are committed to ensuring your hospital’s mobile computer carts are functional and reliable to help you satisfy all your patient needs. Our carts are equipped with the latest technology, and we can retrofit your fleet to comply with your current health information system.
A U.S. federal mandate stipulates that every healthcare facility with Medicare funding must store patient information electronically. Consequently, a sharp increase in hospital computer systems in which this information is stored and accessed has emerged.
With everything being done electronically, it is important to access that information in multiple hospital areas. One way hospitals are accessing healthcare information is by having a medical cart with a computer. This cart can travel between rooms and store the information necessary for the hospital to function properly within the law.
Characteristics of Healthcare Information Systems
A health information system (HIS) manages the data collected and stored in a healthcare facility. This includes physician practices, private and public clinics, and hospitals. These facilities collect, store, manage, and send patients’ electronic medical records.
Digital health systems improve patient treatment with the most current patient data available. Patient data is highly sensitive, so any health information system used must ensure the accuracy of data collected and patient confidentiality.
Other uses of patient data besides individual client treatment include medical research, policy-making data, revenue cycle analysis, and decision-making information. Health information systems routinely access, process, or store large volumes of sensitive patient data. As a result, computer systems’ security is crucial.
Types of Healthcare Information Systems
Health information systems are available to and accessed by healthcare professionals. These include those who deal directly with patients, clinicians, and public health officials. Healthcare professionals collect data and compile it to make health care decisions for individual patients, client groups, and the general public. The most common types of health information systems include:
Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR)
EMR and EHR systems replace paper patient records. The medical information on each patient is collected and stored electronically. These records include patient health information, test results, doctor and specialist visits, and healthcare treatments.
Many healthcare facilities use cloud-based storage for sensitive data for increased security. However, this may not be an option for Critical Access Hospitals that struggle with basic EHR systems.
Practice Management Software
Information systems assist healthcare facilities and personnel with the management of daily operations of the facility. This includes the scheduling of patients and the billing of medical services. Regardless of their size, from single practice doctors to huge multi-center hospitals, all healthcare providers utilize practice management systems.
The goal is to automate administrative tasks to streamline the facility’s workflow and increase patient-staff interactions.
Master Patient Index (MPI)
The software of this healthcare information system connects patient records to more than one database. The MPI contains records for any patient registered at a healthcare organization. MPI creates an index on all the records for that patient. MPIs reduce duplicate patient records and avoid inaccurate patient information that could result in patient claim denials.
This information system enables patients to peruse their health data. They can access appointment information, medications they may receive, and their lab results via the internet. Some patient portals also facilitate active communication with healthcare professionals, including physicians and pharmacists, regarding their prescription refill requests and scheduling of appointments.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
Also known as telehealth, RPM provides medical sensors that can transmit patient data to healthcare professionals.
RPM can monitor blood glucose levels and blood pressure. It benefits patients with chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or cardiac disease.
Data collected and transmitted via RPM can be used by a healthcare professional or a healthcare team to detect medical events such as strokes or heart attacks that require immediate and aggressive medical intervention. Data collected may be used as part of a research project or a health study.
RPM is a life-saving system for patients in remote areas who cannot easily access face-to-face, in-person health care.
Clinical Decision Support (CDS)
CDS analyzes data from clinical and administrative systems. The aim is to assist healthcare providers in making informed clinical decisions. Data available can provide information to medical professionals preparing diagnoses or predicting medical conditions like drug interactions and reactions.
CDS tools filter information to assist healthcare professionals in caring for individual clients.
Laboratory Information System (LIS)
LIS software allows doctors and lab technicians to coordinate inpatient and outpatient tests for microbiology, hematology, chemistry, and immunology to obtain clinical data. A standard information system for a lab manages patient demographics, check-in information, specimen entry and processing, and results.
Benefits of Using a Health Information System
Health information technology is designed to collect, store, manipulate, and analyze data to support decision-making in healthcare facilities. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the potential benefits of HIS, including:
Improved Quality of Care
One of the most significant advantages of HIS is that it can help improve the quality of care by providing more timely and accurate information. Healthcare providers can more efficiently plan treatments by having ready access to patient records. Similarly, providing patients with easy access to their medical records allows them to take an active role in their treatment, dramatically improving health outcomes.
HIS can also help to reduce costs by streamlining administrative processes and improving resource utilization. Consolidating administrative processes can significantly reduce labor hours and the need for extensive administrative staffing.
Reduced Reliance on Physical Records
Healthcare practices reduce their reliance on physical paperwork and records by using a HIS. This increases efficiency by improving the practice’s organization and workflow and reducing clerical errors. HIS minimizes the number of hard-copy forms patients need to complete, improving the patient’s experience.
By consolidating patient information and using HIS, healthcare facilities can significantly improve patient outcomes through enhanced coordination. Since a network of providers can access the patient’s personal health information, they can manage combined treatment more easily. This improves the patient’s experience and reduces the likelihood of potentially harmful mistakes, such as prescribing contraindicated medications.
Reduced Need for Patient Testing
Since all of a patient’s healthcare providers have access to their complete medical records, patients will not have to repeat testing or imaging. This significantly reduces patients’ healthcare costs and leads to better outcomes.
Improved Performance Analysis
Healthcare information systems allow for the simplified collection, consolidation, and analysis of data, meaning they can evaluate employee performance data more easily. Practices can also analyze the overall outcomes of any particular treatment, which can help improve future treatment planning. This allows healthcare facilities to significantly increase the practice’s average quality of care and patient outcomes.
Enhanced Population Healthcare Management
Data collected by HIS can help practices identify and manage population health trends. This allows practices to improve their preventative treatment and analyze risk factors more effectively, significantly increasing patient care outcomes.
Reduced Prescription Issues
HIS allow for the consolidation of medical records, so they reduce the likelihood of contraindicated medication prescriptions by a healthcare provider. Prescriptions can be written electronically, reducing the risk of misinterpreted hand-written prescriptions due to illegibility.
Reduced Prescription Fraud and Doctor Shopping
By allowing for easier communication between providers and consolidating patient health records into one easily-accessed location, HIS plays a crucial role in reducing prescription fraud and doctor shopping.
Digitized prescriptions eliminate the problem of forged prescriptions, while consolidated medical records and improved practitioner communication greatly reduce the likelihood of successful doctor-shopping.
Choosing the Right Health Information System for Your Practice
When choosing a health information system for your healthcare practice, there are several important considerations to weigh. Some critical aspects to consider include:
The most important consideration when choosing a HIS is the system’s overall cost, especially if you have a smaller practice or facility.
You should choose a system with the features you need, but avoid overly complicated systems for your practice, as their elevated price may outweigh any additional benefits. Get multiple price estimates and weigh your options before choosing a system.
User Interface and Ease-of-Use
Healthcare practitioners are not usually trained in using Health Information Systems, so choosing a system with an intuitive design that is user-friendly for your staff is essential. If your team cannot understand the system or use all its features effectively, the system will not improve your practice.
One way to evaluate a health information system’s ease of use is by taking advantage of a trial period or vendor demonstration.
While each HIS is different, most use cloud hosting, which is significantly more secure than on-site physical servers. Cloud hosting eliminates the need for physical hardware and servers to cut maintenance and staffing costs.
One of the critical features of HIS is its capacity to integrate with other facets of the healthcare system, such as pharmacies or laboratories. When selecting the right HIS for your practice, you should consult practices that commonly work with your practice to see if your system is compatible with theirs.
Customer Service Reputation
Before you decide on a health information system, you should audit the company’s customer service capabilities.
Confer with other practices using the system to gain information on the service provider’s customer service department. You can also speak with the provider and ask questions about their service department. The right HIS provider will provide easy access to knowledgeable, friendly, and professional customer service staff.
Implementation and Practitioner Training
The right HIS provider will offer hands-on staff training; this training is included in the system’s price. A HIS is unlikely to be properly implemented without proper training, dramatically reducing its effectiveness. If a provider does not offer training for their system, you should consider a different system and provider.
Choose Scott-Clark Medical Carts with Computers for Simpler Healthcare
Scott-Clark Medical assists medical facilities in ensuring that hospital mobile computer carts are equipped with the best information systems for making informed healthcare decisions that fit their patients’ needs.
Contact the team at Scott-Clark Medical at (512) 756-7300 to discuss the healthcare information needs of your facility. Let us help you streamline your workflow for a more effective work environment and improved patient care.