Via Guest writer: Michelle Riley of MedicalStudentBlog.co.uk
Information systems will change the fundamental structure of the healthcare organization. Information systems are strategically designed to give an organization a competitive edge by supporting and shaping the structure and strategy of the organization (BNET, 2010). Advancements in information technology have increased the efficiency of healthcare services and staff as available technology reduces paper and recordkeeping errors (BLS, 2009). These technological changes allow information to be delivered and stored in unprecedented ways, allowing data to be tracked, analyzed and utilized in ways that help to deliver more efficient care (Young, n.d.). Because of the nature of the information that is accessible through healthcare information systems, the fundamental structure of the healthcare organization will adapt in accordance to the applicable data streams. These systems will impact not only direct-care services such as physicians and nursing departments, but will also have structural changes in non direct-care departments such as research and development, billing, medical records, and others (Fottler, Ford, & Heaton, 2010).
Structural changes in response to information systems are inevitable due to the changes in the way information is collected, stored and retrieved. The purpose of information systems is to answer questions (Young, n.d.). Nursing staff may use advanced decision systems to monitor patients’ life signs; in turn changing the way that the care is delivered and the efficiency of response to declining health in hospitalized patients (Fottler, et al., 2010). Likewise, other expert information systems can be designed to safeguard against medication errors, interactions and allergies by utilizing rule-based software that identifies potential issues based on existing patient information and expert guidelines (Fottler, et al., 2010). In both examples of applied information systems, the structure of the healthcare organization would be altered in response to the increased use of technology, thereby decreasing the possibility of human error, increasing medical efficacy and furthermore increasing patient satisfaction and positive outcomes.
BNET. (2010). Strategic information systems. Retrieved online 30 January 2010 from http://dictionary.bnet.com/definition/strategic+information+systems.html.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). (2009). Career guide to industries, 2010-11 edition. Retrieved 30 January 2010 from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos280.htm.
Fottler, M., Ford, R., & Heaton, C. (2010). Achieving service excellence: strategies for healthcare (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.
Young, R. (n.d.) Healthcare reform: the implications for health data systems. Retrieved 30 January 2010 from http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/17136/1/ar930147.pdf.