Use of Systems to Increase Quality of Care
Information technology has in the recent past been observed to revolutionize the way the world operates. The nursing profession is not any different. Nursing is bound to enjoy the benefits of information technology through the efficiency of operations in the healthcare institution; for example, in the manner, it improves the documentation of patients’ healthcare records. However, an efficient healthcare system, supported by functional information technology systems, is often realized if there is a collaborative approach within the organization to implement the system to the end. For a community-based 100-bed hospital, the importance of a collaborative approach in embracing information technology cannot be overemphasized if efficiency is to be realized in the implementation of information technology. This study analyses the role of a nurse in adopting the best information technology system, amidst a group of doctors who are also actively involved in the process. This initiative is aimed at improving patient care and upholding efficiency in frequently tracking down patient records.
Importance of Nursing Involvement in Planning, Choice and Implementation of Systems
The role of nurses in maintaining patient records is very important in the realization of high-quality patient care because nurses are usually at the center of patient care services. Their input in the choice of the appropriate information technology tool cannot, therefore, be overlooked by any other interests. This understanding is important because nurses understand patient needs better than any other healthcare professional. Any attempt to improve the provision of healthcare services through information technology (or otherwise) should therefore involve the input of nurses because such systems will either disorganize or complement the nursing process. The major constant in any change during patient care delivery is therefore the nurses’ contribution.
Use of Handheld Devices to Improve Quality of Care
Handheld devices are only a tool for implementing information technology systems. In this regard, they should be used to complement the objective of the use of information technology by synchronizing the nurses’ roles in care delivery; and the information technology’s role in improving the former (Scheck, Schweikhart and Medow, 2010). From this understanding, handheld devices can effectively improve the roles of nurses by providing access to numerous volumes of information regarding nurses’ roles. This function is normally facilitated through innovative products found in portable handheld devices. Nonetheless, comprehensively, we can conceptualize the complementary services handheld devices offer nurses in three categories: active promotion, facilitation and support for broad-based applications and devices. Active promotion of nursing services is evidenced when information technology improves the standards of patient care services to new levels while facilitation of nursing services is evidenced when the handheld devices improve the efficiency of nurses’ roles. Finally, handheld devices provide support for broad-based applications, by comprehensively compressing all aspects of the nurses’ operations into one area of operation. Factoring in the roles of the handheld devices in upholding nurses’ roles, it becomes easy to integrate the devices into nurses’ activities.
Security Standards of Data and Patient Confidentiality and Impact of HIPAA
Security and confidentiality issues are some of the greatest downfalls of the use of information technology in the nursing practice. However, there are several measures in place to reduce the impact of security breaches and confidentiality infringement in healthcare practices. One such method is the observance of federal guidelines regarding the use of information technology in the nursing practice. For instance, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) outlines policies and procedures regarding several security and confidentiality issues regarding privacy, diagnosis, testing and similar procedures, through established code sets (Lindgrn, 2011, p. 3). The policies and outlines are especially applicable when recording medical data regarding the above-mentioned medical procedures. From this understanding, any new information technology software adopted by any healthcare institution should therefore be verified according to existing federal guidelines impacting the use of such tools.
How Systems Impact Healthcare Costs
The US has in the past suffered from poor healthcare standards regardless of the tremendous private and government spending in the healthcare sectors. As a result, healthcare costs have always been considerably high (Halamka, 2007, p. 1). However, information technology has the possibility of reversing this trend because, across several systems, information technology has been seen to reduce healthcare costs (RAND Corporation, 2005, p. 1). This observation is evidenced because information technology reduces healthcare service delivery costs, thereby increasing savings in healthcare costs. The savings realized from this process significantly outweigh the costs incurred. Information technology also increases healthcare safety, viz-a-viz the costs invested to uphold healthcare safety.
Benefits of New Systems for Patient Care and Nursing Care Delivery and Recommendations for Appropriate System
The use of information technology systems in healthcare service delivery significantly increases the safety of medical services to patients. Moreover, it increases the efficiency of healthcare services by offering better healthcare services through inexpensive investments. The roles of nurses in the provision of medical services are therefore significantly improved and interestingly, efficiency is realized at very minimal costs. However, regardless of these dynamics, healthcare institutions should not blindly adopt information technology systems; they need to consider several elements of the information system, such as costs, the size of their healthcare institutions (among other factors). In the context of this study, we are faced with two useful information technology systems: Sage Intergy EHR system (which supports notations and test results efficiently) and GE Healthcare (which provides systems that support both small and large healthcare organizations) (GEhealthcare, 2011). This study recommends the former because it has an easy flow and is guideline-driven. Furthermore, the product is easy to integrate into the healthcare system; is a good tool for advanced flow sheets, and is an effective tool for predictive order management (EMRpulse, 2011).
EMRpulse. (2011). Sage Intergy HER. Web.
GEhealthcare. (2011). Electronic Medical Records. Web.
Halamka, J. (2007). The Cost of Information Technology. Web.
Lindgrn, K. (2011). Information Technology: Advancements in Healthcare. Web.
RAND Corporation. (2005). Health Information Technology. Web.
Scheck, McAlearney, A., Schweikhart, S.B., and Medow, M.A. (2010). Handheld Computers in Clinical Practice: Implementation Strategies and Challenges. Web.