Evolution of Health Care Information Systems

Abstract

The intensive development of information and communication technologies influenced the progress within the health care industry. The information systems development within the industry today differs significantly from the situation during the early part of the 1990s. While comparing and contrasting the used information systems, it is important to focus on changes in working with the data, using administrative and clinical applications. Electronic medical records to improve the quality of patients’ care and treatment within the organization and systems integration are the main advantages of the current progress of information and communication technologies.

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Introduction

During the recent decades, the rapid and intensive development of information and communication technologies led to optimization and improvement of the processes which can be effectively regulated with the help of computers and operating systems. This tendency also influenced the development of the health care industry and the associated usage of information systems to work with administrative and clinical data. The evolution of information and communication technologies along with the global computerization of different spheres influenced the progress in the health care industry because the usage of innovative technologies contributed to the intensified and improved collection, store, and analysis of the important health information and data used in health care organizations. Thus, the purpose of the paper is to analyze the evolution of health care information systems while comparing the contemporary technologies with those ones used twenty years ago.

Contemporary Health Care Technologies and Information Systems in the Workplace

The contemporary information systems operated within the health care industry and in certain local health care organizations can be divided into several groups in relation to the purposes. The administration staff of health care organizations relies on the work of administrative information systems which are necessary to manage the work of the personnel, to provide the schedules for the staff, and analyze different types of administrative and financial data (Chalga & Dixit, 2011, p. 2184). The clinical information is stored and processed with the help of the specific clinical information systems developed to collect the data on the patients’ diagnoses, treatment and care, and other issues related to the aspects of health care.

Thus, the local health care organization can effectively use administrative applications in order to manage the work of the staff and the administrative data and definite clinical applications to communicate with the larger health care institutions. It is possible to speak about the observed improvement in administrative applications in comparison with the period of the 1990s because many processes associated with the data collection and analysis are automated, but the level of clinical applications development is not enough to speak about the effective usage of electronic medical records and associated resources.

The Comparison of Using the Data Today and Twenty Years Ago

The contemporary health care facility and information systems used in health organizations are the products of the gradual progress in the field of technologies that is why the information systems used twenty years ago can be described as out-of-date today. Twenty years ago, the usage of computers to process data and work with different types of information was characteristic for different organizations and industries. However, the possibilities of using the computer-based patient records were only discussed as desirable changes. The perspectives of using the Internet to manage and influence the work of health care organizations were only examined with references to the development of technologies during the early part of the 1990s (Rivers & Bae, 1999, p. 282). Even though health care information systems and products were developed and implemented within the industry, a lot of systems used today were not designed and available to improve the approach to using information systems in the health care industry.

Nevertheless, during the period of the 1990s, the discussed automation and computerization in the industry contributed to the improvement of the provided patient care because the use of the first information systems in the industries guaranteed the increase in the quality of care and administration performance based on collecting and processing the data. During the 1990s, the development of integrated systems software became the significant step toward system integration within the industry in order to use the potential possibilities of the Internet and other technological resources (Rivers & Bae, 1999, p. 281). However, it is possible to speak about the system integration in the health care industry only today.

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The main difference in approaches to improving the work of health care organizations several decades ago and today is in contribution to the progress of administrative or clinical applications because the technological development in the 1990s could not provide hospitals with the effective information systems to facilitate the work with data related to patients and data (Mahmud et al., 2013, p. 3). However, nowadays clinical applications are developed more intensively because they can improve the quality of health care directly.

The Major Events Influencing Current HCIS Practices

The two technological advantages which affected the usage of information systems in the industry are the integrated systems and the electronic health records. Today, the system integration in the form of integrated databases to provide the connection between health care organizations is the reality because of the developed software and information and communication technologies, and it is one of the main events in the sphere of the developed information and communication technologies (Burns, 2009, p. 119). The integrated databases are developed to contribute to making the work of hospitals and other health care organizations more flexible and oriented to patients because of contributing to effective treatment.

The next important achievement within the industry is the electronic health records and developed clinical applications and to collect and store the information about patients in order to improve the work with the data and have the opportunity to exchange the data between the health care organizations (Burns, 2009, p. 119). Much attention is paid to working out and implementing the specific standards for electronic medical records in order to facilitate the associated integration of systems within the industry. According to Christensen and Remler, electronic medical records can also “reduce diagnostic test replication and ensure that all physicians and other health care providers have up-to-date information for every patient encountered in clinical practice” (Christensen & Remler, 2009, p. 1012). The current tendencies in the health care industry are also connected with orienting to providing the remote diagnoses based on the test results and images and on the recorded data about patients exchanged with the help of the information and communication technologies.

Conclusion

Thus, while comparing and contrasting the development of information systems in the health care industry during the 1990s and today, it is important to pay attention to such significant changes in approaches to working with the data as the focus on the system integration and the use of electronic medical records as the effective clinical application to improve the quality of care and treatment within the organization. If two decades ago the personnel of hospitals and other health care organizations concentrated on using administrative applications as significant improvements associated with the progress of information and communication technologies, today the focus is on clinical applications and software to contribute to the patient-centered strategy and work of health care organizations.

References

Burns, R. (2009). Introduction of health care system. USA: The Wharton School.

Chalga, M., & Dixit, A. (2011). Development of an ICT based support system for improving health care. International Journal on Computer Science & Engineering, 3(5), 2183-2190.

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Christensen, M., & Remler, D. (2009). Information and communications technology in U.S. health care: Why is adoption so slow and is slower better? Journal of Health Politics, Policy & Law, 34(6), 1011-1034.

Mahmud, A., Olander, E., Eriksén, S., & Haglund, B. (2013). Health communication in primary health care – A case study of ICT development for health promotion. BMC Medical Informatics & Decision Making, 13(1), 1-15.

Rivers, P., & Bae, S. (1999). Aligning information systems for effective total quality management implementation in health care organizations. Total Quality Management, 10(2), 281-289.

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