Information Technology and Health Care
Overview of current and emerging information technology systems and devices that are commonly used by healthcare organizations
The utilization of information technology systems and devices in all areas of the work place is expanding. With the advent of the microcomputer, computer use has spread to all areas of work including healthcare organizations. Computer systems in health care facilities today may encompass a network of microcomputers in the future.
Information Technology and Health Care Essay Example
A primary use of computers in health care is for the documentation of the patient’s data. Today, computer programs that are designed to create patient records abound. These programs allow input of admission data, recording of nursing progress records, development of nursing care plans (both standardized and individualized), documentation of patient teaching completed, scheduling of patients, recording of dietary intake and documentation of medication orders and administration. Some programs are so complete that they have virtually replaced the standard patient chart.
The advent of information technology springs from the idea that information superhighway is made available to all people from all walks of life. All sorts of information are made accessible at the tip of one’s fingers and can be retrieved in a short period of time through the amazing Internet technology, computerized or electronically processed data system.
What used to be data, like records or public documents, gathered for weeks or days can now be obtained in minutes or seconds. What used to be information for selected or privileged few intellectuals are now exposed to the public regardless of state, race, ethnical culture, sex or status, not to mention a few restricted information that are confined to certain age levels, or those that are sensitive to security and privacy (Winkler 1997).
Potential risks and constraints associated with each of these technology systems
1. The Assessment Process
The Assessment process in a healthcare system is highly confidential. All patients have the right to confidentiality. Patient care information such as diagnosis, prognosis and care plans should be kept secret to those not concerned with the patient’s condition. Only authorized individuals should have access to information about a patient. Medical records must be kept in a secure place where only those authorized to have access can obtain the records.
The patient has a right to access his or her own record, and only by obtaining the patient’s permission can records or information be released to others. Agencies are required by state, federal and accrediting rules to have policies by the nurse periodically followed.
However, there are potential risks associated with these new technology systems especially in the assessment area. If a smart agent works with a patient in conducting on-line assessment through a wireless phone device, then a potential risk here would be the improper assessment due to a wrong registration of the patient’s voice even if coded repetitively (Dertouzos & Gerschenfeld as qtd in Skiba and Cohen 2003).
In the same manner, a constraint here would involve extracting information from the encounter. It is important to remember that the transaction cannot be completed without at least some exchange of intelligence between the patient and another person. These digital systems that collect, analyze and respond to client condition can assess wrongly any information initially given. Even if they are rarely down or suboptimal, still, a patient’s life cannot be entrusted to a technology system no matter how smart it may be. The
Assessment process still is an important stage in any healthcare system that needs personal analysis and evaluation. Thus, a foreseeable constraint here is the fact that people may not really use it readily since they would still prefer someone with whom they could talk to in a more relaxed manner.
Leaving the assessment part to any device is not that reliable because it can still malfunction and give a wrong assessment that can send a distressed patient in a more distressed state. The seamless voice recognition may capture the wrong data. Even if the human computer interface uses natural language structure, there is a possibility that the human computer will not know the underlying codification structure (Dertouzos & Gerschenfeld as qtd in Skiba and Cohen 2003). This is the probably constraint that may interfere with the successful implementation of each system.
2. Communications Technology Systems In the area of Communications, being primarily electronic and multidimensional will be a great leap in the future when one can easily communicate with health care professionals using both synchronous and asynchronous communication. (Skiba & Cohen, 2003). According to researches, there are more than 100 nations that are currently engaged in espionage against US companied. Distinctions between global and local are now slowly being eradicated.
Company shifts industrial boundaries from the static to the dynamic. The result is global competition of a uniquely unpredictable nature. Enterprises that previously worked hand in hand in different areas may now find themselves at odds with each other, even spying on each other.
Since millions of information is readily accessed nowadays, the possibility of disseminating mixed-up, false or misleading information is high. This can be dangerous when used and relied upon for legitimate purposes. Moreover, some information and data need to be protected and if allowed for public consumption, the parties concerned have to ensure that the information must be updated, reliable and truthful before they are released to the public.
The credibility and integrity are at stake at all times if their data are found to be scrupulous, unreliable, and erroneous. Similarly, data bank sources or data controllers must take possible measures to protect the personal data that they are held accountable in viewing such information for unlawful, harmful and questionable purposes (Skiba & Cohen, 2003).
3. Monitoring process
Future gadgets in monitoring for the healthcare system will be state-of –the-art such that smart devices will then be attached to one’s personal Bodynet. This is the term used for the personal network coordinating the devices and both transmit and receive information within the premises of the hospital. It can even be hooked up such that these monitoring devices can reach until the homes of these patients.
There will be such a thing as ubiquitous monitoring such that lifestyle factors are monitored too. Even the amount of food in a refrigerator can be monitored making all behaviors and actions available for monitoring purposes. (Skiba & Cohen 2003).
Since monitoring can extend beyond hospital walls, the likelihood of information being transferred from one data source to another is highly possible. Smart devices that automatically monitor a patient’s electronic record can provide wrong electronic records.
A possible constraint here is the refusal of parties to avail of such devices since it can be restricting. Devices may be available but only the agreeable parties will readily avail of it. Besides, it can be prohibitive in price.
The focal point of good risk management is the identification and treatment of these risks, an integral component of any organization’s strategic management. In a healthcare system set-up, the monitoring process can run awry if the devices used in attachments are improperly done. (Stoneburner, G. et al).
IT security practitioners assigned to healthcare systems are responsible for proper implementation of security requirements in their IT systems especially in the monitoring process. As changes occur in the existing IT system environment, the IT security practitioners must support or use the risk management process to identify and assess new potential risks and implement new security controls as required to safeguard their IT systems.
According to Pamela Matthews, conducting these efficient management researches for the results of patients test will prove to be very helpful in coming up with an effective and technologically advanced solutions that would be the answer to treatment.
In the final analysis, informatization streamlines troubleshooting of complex systems. Technology today is embedded in and around products in ways that facilitate a steady stream of information about medical transactions and the use to which products and services are put. It is essential that a balance be done on both technology and the health care system where most people prefer a more caring and personalized method.
Dertouzos, M. (1998). What will be: How the new world of information will change our
lives. New York: HarperEdge. (context link from Skiba & Cohen)
Gerschenfeld, N. (2000). When things start to think. New York: Henry Holt & Co.
(context link from Skiba & Cohen)
Matthews, P. (2000). Leveraging Technology for Success. Journal of Healthcare
Information Management Vol. 14 No. 2 . Retrieved Sept. 11, 2006 from