Evolution of Health Care Information Systems

The evolution of the health care information systems (HCIS) since 20 years ago had a profound impact in how health care is deliver today. In the mid-60’s health care information system began its history with President Lyndon Johnson signing of the law that provides medical coverage to the poor, the elderly, and the people with long-term disabilities through Medicare and Medicaid programs. This revolution brought along the Computer system technology to speed the billing and reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid.

The health care system notice the necessity to improve the billing process due the increase in workload in patient ratio per facility. “As medical care gets more and more complex and new information is already overwhelming physician‘s capacity to treat patients with the latest information, physicians need new technologies to help them cope. There is great need for a digital record to allow capture of patient data that can then be processed and mined for insights into better treatment for patients” (History of the Medical Record System, para. ) Comparing a contemporary health care facility with 20 years ago you can easily appreciate the advances in technology and medicine. Working within the Veteran Hospital Administration there have being numerous changes since 20 years ago. The most evident transformations is the use of the advance in electronic medical record (EMR), multiple billing computer applications, and the integrated software modules which include clinical care, financial functions, and infrastructure.

The health care industry 20 years ago was in the beginning phase of utilizing computers and the electronic medical record. Today computers are an essential part of the health care system and private organizations. “Comparing the world in 1984 and in 2004, we have to recognize that we imperceptibly, stepwise arrived at a new world. HIS have become one of the most challenging and promising fields of research, education and practice for medical informatics, with significant benefits to edicine and health care in general” (Haux, March 2006, para. 4). The advance of the information systems technology within the Veteran Hospital Administration (VHA) that I work with, would be the Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS), Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VISTA), and Barcode Medication Administration (BCMA) systems. CPRS provides a client server interface that allows health care providers to review and update a patient’s electronic medical record.

VISTA is built on a client-server architecture, which ties together workstations and personal computers with graphical user interfaces at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities, as well as software developed by local medical facility staff. BCMA is an inventory control system that uses barcodes to prevent human errors in the distribution of prescription medications at hospitals. The goal of BCMA is to make sure that patients are receiving the correct medications at the correct time by electronically validating and documenting medications. Veteran Hospital Administration improved quality of care by using the CPRS, VISTA, and BCMA.

These health information technologies decrease the cost of the health care delivery due to less medical errors, timely information, easy access to patient’s documentations, data, reports, increase efficiencies, decrease paperwork, and expand access to affordable care. “Health information systems frequently refers to the interaction between people, process and technology to support operations, management in delivering essential information in order to improve the quality of healthcare services. Similar to any other industries, the nature of healthcare industry has changed over time from a relatively stable industry to a dynamic one.

And health information systems have evolved through several different technologies” (Almunawar & Anshari, 2011, p. 1) 20 years ago these technologies did not exist in many hospitals and organizations including the Veteran Hospital Administration for that reason many hospital suffered multiple medical errors, loss of documentations, time consuming for providers and staff at the time of updating patient’s document records, more workload, unable to make reports, the collecting of data was poor, and decreasing hospital revenues.

The majority of health care documents 20 years ago including the Veteran Hospital Administration were hand-written with carbon copy to be store or send to pharmacy for prescriptions. In the Mid 60’s the Veteran Hospital Administration was using paper based documentation and medication cards making the billing process difficult and increasing the workload. In the past the roles of computers in the health care industry was marginal, and normally use just for administrative and human resources purposes.

Two major events that influenced current health care information systems was the implementation of the health information technology (HIT) and electronic medical record (EMR). These two major events improved the communication among providers, staff, and patients, improving health care delivery by having easy to access information, and sharing knowledge for communication and decision making between patient and providers. “There is a great need for information tools to be used in the delivery of health care. Preventable medical errors and treatment variations have recently gained attention.

Clinicians may not know the latest treatment options, and practices vary across clinicians and regions. Consumers want to ensure that they have choices in treatment, and when they do, they want to have the information they need to make decisions about their care. Concerns about the privacy and security of personal medical information remain high. Public health monitoring, bioterror surveillance, research, and quality monitoring require data that depends on the widespread adoption of HIT “(Brailer, July 21, 2004, p. ) The health care information technology has proved through the course of the years its benefits in the health care industry. Today’s technology demonstrates that during the past 20 years the effective patient care has reach higher levels in the health care system. “Health care has lagged far behind many other industries in harnessing the capabilities of IT to improve services, knowledge, communication, outcomes, quality, and efficiency. Given the complexity of modern medicine, it is inevitable that IT will play an ever increasing role in improving health care quality”

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