Description: Preferred language style: English(U. S. ) Research and write a short paper on the Impact of Information Technology on the Quality of Healthcare. The length of the paper should be a minimum of 2 and maximum of 3, doubled spaced, pages and include a minimum of 3 scholarly references. Today is the age of information technology (IT) and its application is being implemented in all possible fields known to man. One of the fields which IT is more recently being introduced is healthcare. The initial outcome of IT in this particular field has rather been not known in general.
However, experts and gurus who have been keen in studying the impact of IT in the healthcare sector have said that IT not only is helping to improve the quality of healthcare, but is also increasing the efficiency of the healthcare organization. It was introduced in the healthcare industry following recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine to the Committee on the Quality of Health Care in America in the year 1998 so as to improve access to information and ensuring incorporation of evidence-based practices in healthcare.
However, the IOM also feels that depending on the application and use, the benefits of IT in the healthcare industry would greatly vary (Ortiz et al, 2003 & Chaudhry et al, 2006). In a study conducted by Chaudhry et al (2006), the Medline database, Cochrane database and several other databases were analyzed to determine the initial information regarding the use of IT in the healthcare sector between the periods 1995 to 2004. For a study to be included in the research program it had to meet certain criteria.
More than 250 studies were selected in the program and several aspects such as ability to support decision-making processes, EHR’s, surveillance capability, ability to reduce medical errors, etc, were assessed. The study also determined the benefits of IT in the healthcare industry. It was found that IT helped to improve the quality of healthcare and the efficiency. However, one point that was not clear was that whether the costs of healthcare could be reduced with the use of IT. IT has been instrumental in creating EHR’s for the patient.
With the incorporation of HER’s in the hospitals, the chances of causing errors are reduced and the ability to monitor the patient is improved. IT may also have a benefit in reducing the time factor and to a certain extent reducing the costs of treatment. Each day, the numbers of patients that visit the hospital are increasing, and using IT, hospitals are able to manage this extra burden very efficiently. In fact, it can be seen that the quality of several hospitals and other healthcare organizations have been improving over several years (Chaudhry et al, 2006).
The manner in which IT would improve the quality of healthcare needs to be assessed closely. IT helps to develop and maintain certain protocols and guidelnes in healthcare. An IT hospital system would also contain a useful decision-making support system that would help the heal5thcare provider to administer patient care. Such a system would also be offering prompts to the provider of any issues or precautions. Chaudhry et al (2006) suggests that there was an improvement in the processes and techniques following implementation of IT, which ultimately helps to improve quality.
The automated information that is provided to the healthcare team or the patient is more likely to be evidence-based, leading to better adherence to prescribed standards. Studies have shown that following incorporation of a health information system, the occurrence of medication errors have reduced drastically. A health information system can easily determine the chances of adverse-effect that could be occurring and in turn warn the healthcare professional of such an event. The dosage provided to the patient was more accurate with the incorporation of a health information system.
In the healthcare industry, IT can be used in various other aspects such as processing patient information, research purposes, creating flow sheets, etc. IT also helps to improve security and confidentiality of information, improving and maintaining standards, and implementing professional decision-making (Bates, 2002, Ortiz et al, 2003 & Chaudhry et al, 2006). However, IT in the healthcare industry may also have several risks:- • A virus attack on a hospital patient information system can having life-threatening consequences • The cost of healthcare would increase, making it less affordable to the patient.
• A lot of administrative problems in introducing and maintaining a patient health information system • It may be very difficult for the team to undergo training in the patient information system • Some experts suggest that in vital areas such as trauma care, it may not be ideal to introduce IT as the consequences may be disastrous (Chaudhry et al, 2006) From the findings above, I do suggest that in the healthcare industry, IT could play a vital role in delivering quality care to the patient. The risks involved can greatly be reduced by following certain measures and guidelines.
Today the healthcare organizations are considering investing less in IT compared to other areas such as banking, telecommunications, etc. Only a few of these organizations have found a profound benefit in the application of IT and have gone on to implement more advanced Information systems. It may take a while for the majority of the healthcare organizations to actually realize the benefits of implementing such a system in their workflow (Bates, 2002).
References: Bates, D. W. Et al (2002). “The quality case for information technology in healthcare.” BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 2(7). http://www. biomedcentral. com/1472-6947/2/7 Chaudhry, B. Et al (2006). “Systematic Review: Impact of Health Information Technology on Quality, Efficiency, and Costs of Medical Care. ” Annals of Int Med, 144(10). http://www. annals. org/cgi/content/full/0000605-200605160-00125v1 Ortiz, E. Et al (2003). “Use of Information Technology to Improve the Quality of Health Care in the United States. ” Health Serv Res, 38(2), 11-22. http://www. pubmedcentral. nih. gov/articlerender. fcgi? artid=1360897.