Application of Information Technology in Healthcare

Senior (College 4th year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・8 Sources

Human beings have been making various advancements to increase the efficiency and productivity of various activities and processes. Information technology is among the discovery humans made to realize improvements in their lives. The application of information technology has resulted in increased productivity of many sectors of the economy. The healthcare sector is not an exception. The life of human beings is among the most valued things in the society. Therefore, healthcare services play an important role in ensuring the well-being of all members of the society. The conception of information technology prompted healthcare professionals to explore their applications in improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare. Today, several health providers have invested heavily in information technology since evidence-based date and research studies have convinced the society that IT can be optimized to health organizations and individuals to meet their goals in an efficient manner. Explorations of various aspects of information technology in healthcare are necessary as they health individuals and the management of organizations to acquire new knowledge and update existing knowledge. This paper discusses the application of IT in healthcare, its importance, how health professionals use it to guarantee quality care, and future directions of health IT.

Applications of IT in Healthcare

Clinical decision support (CDS) system involves the use of IT tools for enhancing decision-making ability of health professionals in their clinical duties. CDS provides health professionals, patients, and other stakeholders with knowledge and information about a particular individual. The information is filtered accordingly and provided at the appropriate time to improve the effectiveness of decisions made to enhance the well-being of patients. Tools used in CDS include computerized alerts, clinical guidelines focused patient data reports and summaries, and diagnostic support among others. CDS mainly provides timely information to facilitate data-driven decision-making. This kind of decision-making ensures that patients, clinicians, nurses, and interested parties make timely sound decisions.

Tracking of disease is significant in the management of chronic diseases. The computerized disease registries help health providers in tracking incidences of chronic diseases. The use of health information exchange and computerized disease registry assist health organizations to collect clinical data across the community. The tracking of diseases is possible by using tests performed on an individual by other clinicians. The registry makes it possible to access such information and enhances coordination among health professionals and providers.
Telehealth is another application of information technology used by care providers to increase the access to care services. There are disparities in the distribution of healthcare clinics geographically, making other areas to have few or no health care providers unless they travel to neighboring areas. Low population density and remoteness of place may prevent for-profit health organizations for establishing their operations in certain areas. People living in such areas have limited access to healthcare services. Through telehealth, such people can obtain health information at their homes from clinicians remotely.

The area of health record has also witnessed significant improvements as a result of the information. The adoption electronic health is one of the changes that most healthcare organizations focus on to enhance the access to patient information promptly. Lau, Price, Boyd, Partridge, Bell & Raworth (2012) argue that organizations that invest in electronic medical records system aim at improving physician practice. The use of electronic health records (EHR) facilitates data-driven decision-making. Physicians can respond to emergencies confidently knowing that they can access the patient history within a short period to minimize the adverse impacts of the health conditions on the patients. Decision-making during emergencies and normal service delivery should be supported by sufficient background information about the patient to guarantee appropriate choices are made. EHR enhances the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

The promotion of health at the individual community levels is possible through sharing information with the public. Consumer health IT applications are e-health solutions that are modified to address the health needs of consumers healthcare services. Consumer health informatics has a significant role in disseminating information to the public and thus, facilitating self-care, empowering members of the public to make informed decisions, and promoting healthy practices and lifestyle. The application of health informatics enables the analysis of consumer needs, studies, and implementation of methods for increasing the access to information by consumers. Consumers can access health information using computing devices through the internet.

The applications of information technology are unlimited and touch various aspects of healthcare delivery. The improvements in the diagnosing of diseases are results of applying information technology in the development of equipment and machines for conducting tests and diagnosing diseases. Monitoring patients at the bedside has been improved through the use of surveillance technologies. Today, some hospitals have installed patient surveillance systems that monitor patient behaviors and movements within a health facility. Patient-monitoring systems enhance the response rate of nurses to events occurring at patient rooms. Nurses can avoid the complication of health conditions since the monitoring system enables them to observation events as they happen. Improvements in the application of information technology in healthcare services can be achieved through research studies and the use of evidence-based practice.

The Importance of Health Information Technology

Information is a valuable resource that health organization can utilize to improve the quality of healthcare. The only thing left for providers to ensure optimum performance is the appropriate management of health information. The adoption of electronic health records boosted the management of health information. The traditional, paper-based, health records were difficult to manage. Locating the records for a particular patient among the files is tedious and time-consuming. Detecting errors while documenting data of patients is difficult using the traditional records. Electronic health records have applications that assist in the identification of inconsistencies and errors in the data recorded and stored. The electronic system, therefore, ensures high quality of information is available to health professionals and patients. The EHR system is preferable when better information is needed. The electronic system is better than the traditional system in maintaining the integrity of data. The system helps health organizations to eliminate the need for large spaces for keeping the files since data is stored electronically.

The use of health information technology makes service delivery faster due to the improved accessibility to data. The electronic health records provide physicians with information about patient’s medical history. Therefore, they provide accurate prescriptions to pharmacists. Medication errors which result from inaccuracies while prescribing drugs or illegible handwriting are avoided through the use of the electronic prescription system. The medical history gives physicians precautions that may help them to avoid risking the lives of patients. The storage of information helps physicians to avoid unnecessary tests or questions during physical emotional. Redundancies in procedures such as X-rays, lab tests, and paperwork can reduce significantly through the use of EHR. The electronic system enables care providers to share diagnostic information such as test results. Therefore, patients do not need to undergo a test in case they already had it in a different health organization. As a result, the physical and psychological effect of medical procedures on patients reduces.

Healthcare providers can improve the quality of the services when the cost of providing care reduces. The application of health information technology simplifies various tasks. Therefore, the number of employees needed to execute the tasks reduces significantly since one or fewer individuals are capable of handling the task with the help of the technology. Payne, Bates, Berner, Bernstam, Covvey, Frisse & Lehmann (2012) argue that the use of health information technology plays an important role in reducing the cost of providing care services. It reduces cost by optimizing work process. The use of EHR simplifies the tedious search of patient information. The use of health information technology enables providers to make optimal choices through the use of evidence-based data available through IT applications. Optimal choices are associated with an increased efficiency of executing various tasks involved in service delivery (Payne et al., 2012).

The clinical enables physicians to reduce errors associated with limited access to information. According to the study by Urbine & Schneider (2014), medication errors play a significant role in increasing the cost of healthcare. Medication errors are associated with complications of patients’ health. Therefore, health organizations and families of patients must incur extra costs to reverse the effects of errors on the patients’ health. Fortunately, the introduction of clinical decision support system is an effective strategy for reducing errors. Therefore, the organization and the family of patients would need to incur unplanned expenses resulting from preventable events such as medication errors.

Most organizations give the transformative nature of health information technology less attention. Changes in the structure of healthcare provision are important in the improvement of the performance of organizations. Urbine & Schneider (2014) argue that changes in the healthcare help organizations to manage the cost of service delivery. Through the health information technology, providers can engage patients in their care and in collecting data that provide insights into what improvements are necessary and how best to achieve them. Urbine & Schneider (2014) hold that HIT enables organizations to use to create and maintain teamwork by introducing an efficient communication system. Teams become effective when members can communicate with other. Effective communication improves workflow and the productivity of health professionals. Organizational change is possible when it has adequate support from human resources.

Professional development plays an important in enriching health organizations with necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to respond to health needs of consumers appropriately. Information technology helps providers to achieve their goal of improving the human resources through avenues such as distant sharing of expertise. Sharing of expertise is a strategy for continuous learning and benchmarking. Distant sharing of skills and knowledge enables providers to acquire new techniques and skills and improve their current capabilities. Health information technology has increased the access to information for health workers. This approach to professional development enables health workers to stay up-to-date with knowledge, skills, techniques, and practices in service delivery. The availability of health information increases the creativity of health professional and ability to employ evidence-based practice while delivering care services.

Health organizations do not realize the importance of health IT automatically. Instead, the benefits of IT in healthcare are possibilities when the management and leadership of health organizations employ the effective application of IT, skillfully planned and implemented to achieve the organizational goals and consumer demands. Furthermore, managers and leaders must prioritize the use of new knowledge and technologies for them to realize optimum benefits from health IT. The benefits of IT are longer-term. Therefore, the short-term cost-benefit analysis may fail to reveal the impacts of IT on service delivery processes and activities.

How Health IT Improves the Quality of Healthcare

Information technology has taken its roots deeper in various life sectors, and one of them is the health sector. The quality of health at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels has been improved gradually. Various forms of the use of information technology in developing healthcare exist especially in enhancing communication and through research. Different scholars have tried to explain how information technology has revolutionized discussion and analysis in improving the quality of healthcare.

 Communication in the health sector is a very vital concept, if not essential. It takes various forms, patient to physician communication and patient to patient interaction. The communication in the health sector also goes a long way to insurance policies in most cases. Information technology has improved communication in its potential capacity. Through Health information technology, databases have been created for communication. The databases are open to anyone involved in the health improvement activities (Krist, Beasley, Crosson, Kibbe, Klinkman, Lehmann & Peterson, 2014). Any person on the healthcare team can ask questions about the patient and also access data about that particular patient.

The Information technology system grants immediate access to results. Results about a patient determine the kind of treatment be administered to a particular patient and therefore well set up systems have an in-depth definition of every disease that fastens the communication process. Communication is also about retrieving old data. Information technology in healthcare ensures that users can save data for refinement or retrieval (Krist et al., 2014). The data is collected in its respective file for easy access and for sharing purposes.

A healthcare portal is also an achievement of information technology. The portal communicates to the user, especially the patient. It gives control to the patient to view his or her records (Krist et al., 2014). The portal contains vital information such as the patient’s blood pressure, the health status, payment overview or scheduled medical visitations. This makes it easy for any user to access any required information. Other than the portal, several social platforms have been developed to improve healthcare quality, thanks to information technology. A patient can utilize the Skype technology to communicate to a physician concerning his health especially when distance matters. With Skype, the communication will lead to a medical prescription and treatment.

Before the digital era, a paper was used by the nurse to document valuable information on a patient (Vats, Aggarwal, Ahuja, & Vashisth, 2017). Health information technology has led to the creation of electronic records for entering and retrieving information on patients, (Ganesan, Sterling, Ladavich & Ghoraani, 2016). The electronic records store comprehensive data on the patient, and the data is generated from various sources that include the pharmacy, laboratory or the clinic. The technology permits accuracy and faster collection of information on a patient.

The electronic record reduces all type of errors such as the keying errors. The system also automates the processes of retrieval and entry, thus an improvement in healthcare quality.
Information technology has also improved the quality of healthcare through research. Any medical practice requires intensive and comprehensive study basing on facts only. Any mistake committed in healthcare due to improper research is costly and can lead to loss of human life. Therefore, information technology has been incorporated into the study to ensure accuracy and validity. Research aids in clinical decision support (Kumar, Nilsen, Pavel, & Srivastava, 2013).

The clinical information systems have replaced the traditional sources of clinical support system. The most basic include the library and the simple data systems that display the patient’s information or health problem to the doctor without offering without offering advice based on information analysis (Kumar et al., 2013). Though, some systems have an expert or knowledge-based systems that provide advice regarding testing, diagnosis, and treatment. Its goal is to provide accurate information to aid decision making.

Information technology has initiated the development of websites for communication and disease management systems that provide information for patients with infections like asthma and their physicians (Kumar et al., 2013). The site offers the necessary information for a particular disease and thus improving the quality of healthcare. Information technology in health has led to the development of a computerized medical device that automatically collects, analyzes and transmit the data of a patient (Kumar et al., 2013). The invention also alerts patients and doctors to possible problems.

Various research networks have been developed to improve the quality of healthcare. This has been made possible by the use of information technology. One of the networks is the Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRNs). The network consists of primary care physicians who work together with experienced health service researchers to address vital health issues (Kumar et al., 2013). They also interpret the findings of a research into practice to improve the quality of life.

Research goes a long way in studying the evolution of various diseases, their causes, and treatment. For instance, if there is a break out of a new viral infection, different health practitioners will come together and carry out an in-depth research on the disease. They will require advanced technological machines and systems, especially in the laboratory. The tools will enable the collection and analysis of data and stored information on previous breakouts will be utilized. After the study, an appropriate treatment will be developed to counter the disease. All this has been made possible and more accessible by the use of information technology.

There are much more uses of information technology in improving the quality of healthcare other than in research and communication. However, these are the two primary applications that are essential in any healthcare delivery system.

How individuals, professionals, and organization use Heath IT

Today, almost all stakeholders in the healthcare sector have access to and use IT in addressing various aspects of health. Consumers of health services form a larger part of users of the IT. Most of the strategies by the government, NGOs, healthcare organizations, and individuals are directed towards the prevention of diseases at personal, family, and community levels. Various stakeholders have promoted initiatives aim at increases the awareness of strategies members of the society can use to enhance their lives. The internet has provided a platform where interested groups can publish and share health information to a target population. The use of the internet to share information is effective because the current generation spends most of their time. Information about healthy practices and lifestyle are nowadays available through the internet and consumer health IT applications.

Communication is an aspect of humans that had significant advancements due to information technology. Sharing of information and ideas is fundamental to efficient service delivery. The communication between departments, among employees, and with external partners is essential during the provision of healthcare. The application of IT in healthcare enables an organization to eliminate the need for a physical meeting to facilitate the communication among members of the staff. This strategy, therefore, enables professionals to save time while consulting their colleagues within or outside their organization. Workers use communication systems to report uncertainties during their practice. Physicians use the information and communication systems of their organizations contact their outpatient clients or patients after being discharged.

The executive of health organizations also employs IT in strategic planning. Since health IT forms an integral part of the organization, considerations of various aspects of IT and how it affects the performance should be made when making strategic plans. Strategic planning is a critical process that requires effective decision-making abilities of members of the executive. Decision support system is an application aspect of health IT that can be used to provide information, analyze factors that influence service delivery and then make the appropriate decision. The strategic plan sets the standards for health professionals. Health workers’ main duty is to implement the strategic plan. Therefore, any inconsistency in the strategic plan may result in flawed clinical processes.

Research and development is an important area in an organization or society. Scientific investigations are the source of new knowledge and innovations in healthcare. Research studies employ health IT in nearly all activities and procedures to improve the accuracy of data collected to support hypotheses. Health research depends heavily on information technology since all techniques and procedures used in data collection and analysis employs various aspects of IT. When studying trends in health care and diseases, national or hospital registries are usually used as secondary sources of data. National registries are products of health information technology. The assessment of the registries helps in the identification of health issues and provides the basis for further research to provide more information about a specific topic.

The future of information technology in Healthcare

Advancements in health IT are dependent on research and development activities. The application of information technology in service delivery should focus on how best health organization can improve access to healthcare services and address disparities in accessing care. Health IT can boost mobile healthcare initiatives to reach remote areas where individuals experience challenges when accessing healthcare service. While information brings significant developments in the healthcare sector, a number of limitations are created. Therefore, the focus on the application of health IT should be concentrated on strategies for minimizing the disadvantages of information technology in healthcare. Ethical issues associated with confidentiality, privacy and integrity of patient information arise while using IT in improving service delivery.


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Kumar, S., Nilsen, W., Pavel, M., & Srivastava, M. (2013). Mobile health: Revolutionizing healthcare through transdisciplinary research. Computer, 46(1), 28-35.

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