Getting Better Outcomes From Information Systems In Healthcare
In recent years, the healthcare industry has made some serious progress in using electronic information, such as sharing patient information between organizations. But the healthcare industry as a whole is still miles behind others when it comes to digitization. There is an extreme amount of pressure to standardize electronic medical records. And for good reason.
The strains of the limitation will only increase in coming years. Connected devices and wearable technologies are generating oceans of new data. Most importantly, both patients and providers are counting on data to lower costs while improving the quality of care at the same time.
Data has the potential to enhance every aspect of our healthcare system. The only problem is that the practice does not always live up to the potential. Electronic information often proves to be more of a burden than a bounty for ill-prepared healthcare organizations that are flooded with data. We will start by looking at the consequences of this problem before moving on to the solutions:
The Consequences of Bad Information Systems in Healthcare:
- Regulatory Issues – Medical records are carefully regulated, and when a provider has poor oversight of information, it’s especially easy to fall out of compliance. That leads to fines and other penalties and paints a provider as one that does not respect patient privacy.
- Lesser Outcomes – A more data driven approach to healthcare promises to improve outcomes for all patients. But if data is inaccessible, incomplete, or disorganized, it can actually compromise the quality of care.
- Bad Business – Sophisticated financial management is now mandatory in a healthcare industry that is more competitive than ever. Information systems apply as much to accounting and finance as they do to care and treatment. Organizations that can’t create strategic opportunities for themselves are at a distinct disadvantage.
- Obvious Obstructions – Information systems are fundamentally a way for healthcare organizations to gain transparency, visibility, and autonomy over their operations. When data is accessible and flexible, it reveals red flags and warning signs that would be invisible otherwise. Bad information systems ultimately expose an organization to uncertainty.
But it’s not all bad news. In fact, good information systems are something vital that no one wants to give up.
The Opportunities of Good Information Systems in Healthcare
- Empower Patients – The more quality data an organization has at its disposal, the better equipped it is to provide customized treatment options based on a range of patient wants and needs. Even though the provider has a lot to gain from effective data management, the overall quality of the patient experience is what will most obviously improve.
- Practice Preventative Healthcare – Preventative healthcare is less expensive, less complex, and a lot better for patient health. Unfortunately, it’s also very hard to practice systematically. A quality information system assists preventative care by chronicling patient data. If used in conjunction with a data analytics platform, healthcare providers could spot trends more easily and adjust their treatments accordingly. As the scope and intelligence of information systems in healthcare improves, the impact on worldwide health will be significant.
- Combat Fraud – Fraudulent activity costs the healthcare industry billions on a yearly basis. Furthermore, this activity is only exacerbated by outdated and ineffective information systems. When those systems are updated, however, they gain the ability to identify anomalies, inconsistencies, and other red flags. Fraud is revealed before it cuts into the bottom line.
- Grow Revenue – The right use of data lowers costs and maximizes revenue from existing patients. It is also the best asset for attracting new patients and identifying new strategic opportunities. The data itself could even prove to be an asset. Healthcare organizations may be able to sell selective insights to researchers or tech developers.
At this point the challenge for healthcare organization is two-fold. First, they have to set out to collect the largest volume of quality data possible. Second, they must implement tools to make that data more accessible, malleable, scalable, and manageable. Both initiatives are important, and in a short time they will be imperative.