The notion of an integrated healthcare information system has attracted significant interest because of advances in digital communications and hospital information technologies. Patients are also demanding high-quality healthcare services that do not compromise their time and geographical location. The lack of real-time information regarding patients’ health conditions usually leads to delays in treatment, lack of informed decisions, and waste of resources, and medical errors that may have adverse effects on the patients’ health (Shi and Singh, 2008).
These negative results can be minimized by the implementation and utilization of advanced technologies such as electronic medical records (EMR) and diagnostic imaging systems in healthcare organizations. EMR systems provide numerous benefits to patients by improving the quality of care provided and reducing the possibilities of errors on the part of the healthcare providers. EMRs facilitate the electronic documentation of patients’ information and the sharing of such information by the multitude of specialists that are involved in the care of patients. In addition, EMRs enable providers to make decisions based on evidence (Follen et al., 2007).
On the other hand, diagnostic imaging systems enable healthcare providers to accurately diagnose patients’ illnesses. This is important given the increase in the number of people suffering from chronic (in many cases multiple) illnesses. Although the implementation and utilization of advanced technological systems in healthcare are highly beneficial, such an undertaking is very costly to the organization. The costs involved in implementing and utilizing health IT systems range from the initial cost of purchasing and installing the systems, to training and education of health personnel and meeting federal policy requirements of their use.
The sources of funding proposed by SBHS management have several weaknesses. First, the cutting down of the system’s pharmacy formulary would increase dissatisfaction among patients because they would not be in a position to obtain much-needed drugs from the hospital. Second, the dissatisfaction of patients that would result from trimming the pharmacy formulary would reduce the patient census of the SBHS and consequently its profitability.
The advantage of reducing the number of staff working in inpatient units lies in the shift of resources from less productive areas to productive areas. The amount of money that was initially used to pay the staff can be diverted to the implementation of the information technology systems. Alternative sources of funding that can be used by the organization to fund its IT initiatives include capital and operating budgets. The capital budgets can be used to finance the purchase and installation of the systems while the operating budgets can be used to cover for staff’s payment and training as well as maintenance of the systems (Follen et al., 2007).
Follen, M., Castaneda, R., Mikelson, M., Johnson, D., Wilson, A., & Higuchi, K. (2007). Implementing health information technology to improve the process of healthcare delivery: A case study. Disease Management, 10(4), 208-215.
Shi, L., & Singh, D.A. (2008). Essentials of the U.S. healthcare system. Canada: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.