Sunday, December 9, 2012

What is Information Management Progress in Healthcare?

Progress starts with learning from previous mistakes by instituting solutions and rules which prevent the same mistakes from repeating themselves. Of course the conditions that lead up the mistakes can change so the solutions and rules must be fundamental enough to deal with them. So, where is information taking us? Where specifically in healthcare?

In Healthcare we have, medical research data, patient data, what the medical field does with the patient, regulations which produce forms for the patient to sign, codes which need to be matched to procedures for billing, analysis which checks the coding accuracy, audits, etc. There are many information systems which interact with each other.

A question to ask a Healthcare IT department is what can be done to eliminate the integration parts of your information processing? That is, why do so many software solutions need to be integrated through a service layer which is basically acting a broker between point A and point B. Why are properties of information being “tweaked” during this process? Is there such thing as information integrity?

Another question to ask is do friendships among IT folks affect professionalism? That is, when a database outage affects data integrity in applications that rely on it, was the DBA held accountable, or was it deemed unavoidable between friends.

Healthcare information will not progress to better integrity when the IT department at a facility is just at work for the day job. To really reform this information and get back its integrity anyone has to feel discomfort, everyone has to change the way they think about their jobs. Will this happen quick enough to give the best care possible to patients who need accuracy and privacy? We’ll see.

The changing of CIOs every few years at the hospital system will help, as new ideas are sorely needed in Healthcare IT. I don't have enough experience in the Healthcare field to know if there have been a series of "progress traps" in the past (I'm sure there has been), but I am ready to help push progress forward a notch in hopes of giving patients what they deserve, especially for the money that is spent on their care.