Health Information technology (HIT) is perceived as the most promising tool that can be used to cause drastic changes in the health care systems of the country. It basically describes the framework that incorporates proper management of health care information in such a way that the exchange of the information to insurers, health providers, consumers, government and other entities is sustainable and is consistently precise.
The scope of health information technology incorporates important terms that may need to be elaborated. The terms include for example the word technology which is a broad concept by definition but in this case represents communications, computers, and other attributes which can be networked to yield systems that will move health information. Informatics is also another term in HIT that is critical and it refers to the information processing practice.
Health informatics is a term therefore that is used to describe the use and dissemination of information in the health industry mostly with the assistance of psychological, mathematical and computer science systems.
The challenges in the systems necessitating a HIT department
Generally our health care system has been applauded for its consistent efforts to embrace innovation. However the discoveries that include for example efficient diagnostic tools, innovative treatment among others have not been able to sort out the challenges that the American care system has been persistently encountering.
Additionally the government expenditure on the health care systems is huge and runs to amounts that exceed one trillion dollars but unfortunately the funds have still done nothing to alleviate the problems in the health care system.
Among the chronic challenges that face this system are the issues of uneven quality care, preventable errors and miscommunication among hospitals, doctors and other providers of health care. In fact it has been previously stated that more than 44,000 Americans die as a consequence of medical errors yearly.
Even more citizens are said to experience permanent disability or death because of mistreatments, missed treatment in ambulances and generally treatments that are inappropriate. More data indicates that more than 300 billion is expended on care that does little to improve the conditions of a patient probably due to the fact that prescription offered was ineffective, inappropriate, inefficient, or simply unnecessary.
All the challenges manifested in the paper based systems that come in the form of medical errors, high cost, poor coordination and administrative inefficiencies are all attributed to the fact that a health information department was missing in the care system. The implication here is that Information Technology is as important in medical care the same way it is in the air travel industry for instance.
Many industries realized that fact long ago and went ahead to harness the benefits that come with information technology by initiating such systems in their structures (Pentecost, 2007).
Purpose of Health Information Technology department.
The HIT department majorly provides the basis and structure that will be able to generally facilitate the objectives of health information technology in health care systems. It is its responsibility to provide the appropriate guidelines and ensure that the necessary steps are taken to achieve the health care system vision in line with President Bush’s dream of an efficient system of health care that puts value and gives priority to the needs of patients.
The department is meant to ensure that doctors and nurses’ previous struggles associated with the use 19th century tools and technologies to manage this century’s complex medical data and merge it with this century’s medical technology are long forgotten.
The basic objectives of the department include ensuring that medical errors are prevented; the cost of health care is reduced, increased administrative efficiencies, and ensuring the accessibility of affordable health care and the overall quality of health care (Medpac, 2004).
Additionally the purpose of the department is also to majorly enhance individual patient care. The benefits of this will include for example efficient chronic disease management as a result of improved tracking, infectious disease early detection which will act to prevent major outbreaks in the country and generally assure value health care that is equivalent to what patients pays for.
It is the responsibility of this particular department to moreover ensure that all health organizations in the country are using electronic prescribing systems that will therefore guarantee electronic storage of patient’s data and records.
If the department realizes its objectives the country can expect to save billions of dollars annually roughly approximated at 81 billion dollars (Hamblen, 2009). Apart from the financial savings adverse health care events will be reduced and therefore lead to a healthcare system that undoubtedly offers quality care and services to the patients. Better health care may not be the only advantage, as patients may enjoy lower costs.
However the major obstacle and challenge the department faces in its efforts to make the technological systems diffuse throughout the country is particularly costs. Additionally the health care providing systems such as hospitals might have to shoulder extra burdens than the patient as the implementation costs of the systems are high
In conclusion the adoption of patient records that are electronic based, systems to support and assist providers when making clinical decisions and electronic medication ordering is beneficial to the health care system and that objective should be pursued. However the department should be aware of the possibility of errors occurring and therefore come up with strategies that will ensure that additional medical errors do not occur as a consequence of these complex electronic systems.