Living in the era of technology highly affects the medical sphere. Nonetheless, despite the benefits of technological advantages, some medical institutions remain reluctant to using electronic health records (EHR). There are several reasons for this decision. One of the causes is the fact that using electronic system might increase the percentage of medical errors and be a threat to patient’s safety (Bowman, 2013; Raposo, 2015). This aspect occurs due to the possible decrease “in the integrity of information in EHR” (Bowman, 2013, p. 1).
At the same time, using EHR might be one of the primary reasons for fraud (Bowman, 2013). For instance, the automatic fill-in forms might increase the expenditure of the patients’ on medical services while charging them for all listed procedures (Bowman, 2013). This aspect questions the hospital’s loyalty and transparency and upsurges the percentage of juridical issues.
Based on the drawbacks of EHR, reduced quality of healthcare is one of the primary consequences. It remains apparent that the increased bills and possibility of medical mistakes affect clients’ loyalty and trust to medical services (Bowman, 2013; Raposo, 2015). At the same time, the patients are the critical source of the income of the medical facility. In this case, not implementing EHR has a positive impact on the overall stability and prosperity of the medical facility.
Thus, it could be said that the primary goal of the paper is to highlight various factors, which affect the implementation and modifications of an IT system in healthcare institutions. In this case, it is critical to evaluate the effect of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), drawbacks and benefits of HITECH, the workflow processes, and key federal agents and their standards. In the end, the conclusions are drawn to determine the future of IT systems in medical organizations.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Medical Records
Another critical aspect, which affects the patient’s medical records, is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). One of the aims of healthcare act is to oblige the medical institutions to conduct audits, document all the necessary data, and have the required information technology to store and analyze the functioning of the healthcare system (Ozair, Jamshed, Sharma, & Aggawarl, 2015). Controlling these areas has a beneficial impact on the patient’s safety and confidentiality of the information. Simultaneously, they affect the quality of healthcare in a positive way.
In the first place, HIPAA has a direct impact on the privacy of the healthcare records (Ozair et al., 2015). Designing this standard ensures the secrecy of the stored information (Ozair et al., 2015). This fact limits the retrieval of the personal health records by third parties and corresponds to the principles of human rights and freedoms. Simultaneously, this aspect implies that the transactions have to be secure. In turn, following this rule contributes to the sufficient storage and analysis of the electronic health records.
Another matter, which is highly controlled by HIPAA, is the elimination of fraud (Ozair et al., 2015). The act pays vehement attention to the unlawful practices and defines the accepted actions by legislation. Based on the aspects described above, one can say HIPAA’s pivotal role cannot be underestimated, as it determines the standards that the procedures have to follow. It could be stated that HIPAA assures the privacy of retrieval, storage, and analysis of electronic health records.
Pros and Cons of HITECH
Alternatively, in the context of the presented discussion, it is vital to understand the benefits and drawbacks of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH). One of the pros of HITECH is the fact that its increases the accessibility of the medical information about the patients (Menachemi & Collum, 2011). This attribute contributes to the improvement of the effectiveness of decision-making and the optimized cost-efficiency of the medical entity while focusing on patient-centered approach (Menachemi & Collum, 2011). In turn, the connection of the medical records with advance the evidence-based practice and improve the associated outcomes. For example, the HITECH upsurges the percentages of using “influenza and pneumococcal vaccines from 0 to 35% and 50% respectively (Menachemi & Collum, 2011, p. 48). It could be said that taking advantage of HITECH enhances cost-efficiency, the accuracy of diagnosis, and the overall quality of the healthcare.
Speaking of cons, as it was mentioned earlier, the crucial drawbacks are the increased possibility of the information leakage, surcharge due to automatically filled-in forms, and legal problems. A combination of these aspects questions the patient’s safety and confidentiality of the collected information. In this case, it is critical to design a rational resolution to minimize the effect of these matters on the patient-centered practice.
Thus, a strategy can be proposed to eliminate the consequences of these issues. In this case, one of the resolutions is constant monitoring and auditing of the information. Using this approach will help minimize the percentage of incidents of the surcharge. At the same time, it will ensure the accuracy of diagnosis and relevance of the prescribed treatment and/or intervention.
Typical Workflow Processes and Their Improvement
Simultaneously, it is necessary to determine the nature of the workflow processes, which take place within the medical organization. Initially, the medical office consists out of front desk and back office activities. The duties of the front desk such as organizing the storage of information, registering patients, verification of the insurance, and billing are usually performed by the same person (Ramaiah, Subrahmanian, Sriram, & Lide, 2012). Based on the description provided above, it could be said that the primary goal of the front desk is to organize the workflow in the organization, supply the required documentations, and reduce waiting time. This part of the hospital is critical, as it systematizes its work.
As for the back office, there are different levels of participants. For example, nurse focuses on documentation, analysis of the histories, and adjustments of some front desk activities (Ramaiah et al., 2012). Thus, physician devotes his/her time to the examinations, modifying billing information, and consulting fellow professionals (Ramaiah et al., 2012). These specialists define the quality of the provided services since they are in a direct contact with the patients.
Based on the study conducted above, it remains apparent that some processes can be eliminated to optimize the efficiency of the institution. Focusing on the actual duties, physician and nurse can devote more of their working time to the patient. This approach can improve the overall quality of healthcare and focus on the patient-centered tactic. Consequently, a physician has to be freed from the front desk duties such as entering billing information. Thus, a nurse, who works together with the doctor, can fill in the required documentation based on the observations and comments of the physician.
The Key Federal Initiatives and Their Impact on Standards
Currently, the government highly invests into the implementation of electronic health records (Schilling, 2011). Contributing to the patients’ safety, privacy, and confidentiality is one of the important duties of the federal authorities. Focusing on these aspects is vital to reach the desired quality of the interventions and treatments.
Nowadays, the governmental entities propose various standards and certification rules, which one must follow to comply with the set expectations of safety, privacy, and confidentiality (Blumenthal, 2014). At the same time, federal authorities add modifications to HIPAA, as it regulates the nature of transactions and the essentiality of security. It could be said that these means of control ensure that the patient’s records are stored in accordance with the regulations. Following this matter assures that the information remains confidential and minimizes the possibility of data leakage.
In turn, the government pays critical attention to the fact that the individual rights associated with the data safety, privacy, and confidentiality are not violated (Blumenthal, 2014). Emphasizing this aspect requires continuous monitoring of the existent standards and proposing new regulations to avoid the potential threats. In this case, the federal authorities tend to introduce the system, which will monitor the compliance of every interaction with medical records with the law.
As it was mentioned earlier, living in the era of technological development has its drawbacks and benefits. One of the cons, which is currently reflected in the legislation, is the shift in cybercrimes (Fairtlough, 2015). The federal authorities highly pay attention to this aspect and propose the standards, which can maintain the security at the same level as before.
Conclusion: IT systems in Healthcare Organizations
In the end, despite various controversies associated with using IT systems in healthcare, there is a plethora of benefits of taking the advantage of technology. Overall, the technology reduces waiting time and minimizes the percentage of medical errors. At the same time, it is cost-efficient and has a positive impact on the relevant distribution of financial and medical resources. A combination of these factors determines that the beneficial nature of IT on the overall quality of healthcare cannot be underestimated. In this case, the medical institutions have to take advantage of employing IT principles and make it one of the essential parts of the medical practice.
It is evident that the innovation novelties will have a critical impact on the development of various spheres of life. For instance, nowadays, one cannot imagine his/her living without the social media (Ventola, 2014). In the recent future, the virtual reality will gain a stronger control of healthcare, as more and more modes of interactions will be available (Ventola, 2014). This innovation will minimize the waiting time and contribute to building a strong bond between medical personnel and patients.
Another prospect of the evolution of technology in the medical sphere is the automation of decision-making and other critical processes (Flow Health, 2016). The development of artificial intelligence is relatively new in the modern world. Thus, these novelties become an essential part of the healthcare in the recent future. It could be said that the projections and forecasts of the new trends depicted above highlight that the medical sphere will continue to evolve. Taking advantage of this development will help federal authorities and staff of medical institutions maximize the quality of healthcare delivered to the patients.
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