Healthcare information is a valuable asset, and it must be managed like other assets. To manage information effectively, healthcare executives should understand the sources and uses of healthcare data and information, because without healthcare data and information there would be no need for healthcare information systems. Data and information that are unique to healthcare include clinical information created during patients’ healthcare encounters, the administrative information related to those encounters, and the external information used to improve the clinical care and administrative functions associated with those encounters.
Healthcare executives must have the knowledge, skills, and abilities, to effectively manage both clinical and administrative information within their organizations and across the healthcare sector. Information systems (IS) constitute the source of many of the problems in the healthcare industry. The healthcare industry is one of the most information intensive and technologically advanced in our society. Health Care is one of the most transaction-intensive industries (estimated at thirty billion transactions annually), given all the encounters between patients and providers, providers and other providers, providers and insurers, suppliers and providers, and so on. The transactions between parties in health care take place not so much electronically as through a mixture of telephone, paper, fax, etc. the result is that much information is never captured, is captured incorrectly, is captured inefficiently, or is difficult to retrieve and use. In the past medical information, an exchange was to a large degree hindered by a lack of standards for healthcare data and transactions. This problem is now being resolved. Health care is often accused of being “behind” other industries in applying IT. Health care providers can be hesitant to invest in IT that has care quality improvement as its goal. For them, the IT investment reduces their income with no corresponding financial upside. Currently, several payers are experimenting with providing financial rewards for quality of care. In some of these experiments, providers are being given extra money when they use clinical systems. If these experiments do not lead to reimbursement approaches that offer payment for quality or if the payment is too small, the problem of incentive misalignment will continue. And providers’ rate of IT adoption will remain slow. Statistics, such as a percentage of revenue spent on IT, are often used to indict health care for underinvesting in IT. The healthcare industry spends an average of 2.7 percent of its revenue on IT. Although this percentage is the same as the average percentage across all industries, it is low for an industry that is information intense.
The complexity of the medical process places unique and tough demands on the design of clinical information systems, the ability to support provider and patient decision making, and the ability to measure the quality of the care that providers deliver.
Many healthcare information system applications have the potential to improve the quality of care, computerized provider order entry (CPOE) can reduce adverse drug events, reminder systems in the electronic medical record can improve the management of the chronically ill patients. Within the next decade or two the predominant model for maintaining health care information will shift from the current, largely paper-based medical record system, in which information is often incomplete, illegible, or unavailable where and when it is needed, as a system in which the patient’s clinical information is integrated, complete, stored electronically, and available to the patient and authorized persons anywhere, anytime-regardless of the setting in which services are provided or the health insurance or coverage the patient carries.
Although a patient’s health status and medical condition are difficult to describe using comprehensive, coded data, patients and other consumers of health care services will also have a much greater role in the content of and access to their personal health information. Comparative data will be publicly available to consumers on the quality and cost of healthcare services available within the community. Providers involved in patient care will have immediate access to electronic decision-support tools, the latest relevant research findings on a given topic, and patient-specific reminders and alerts.
This article describes some of the Basic Concepts of Healthcare Management Information Systems such as, introduction to healthcare information systems, types of healthcare information systems, health care quality data, healthcare regulations, laws, standards, current and emerging use of clinical information systems, healthcare information systems standards, organizing information technology services, management’s role in major initiatives, assessing and achieving value in healthcare information systems, .….etc.