Healthcare organizations need to have a well integrated and managed information system for proper running. Adequate data and managed information is useful to the healthcare personnel in making appropriate decisions. This is required when caring for patients and when running and managing healthcare organizations.
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It is required in filing of documents, in meeting the regulatory requirements, communicating with the organizational plans, as well as in accrediting the organizations.
With proper accessible information systems, clinicians are able to easily assess the status of the patients, give proper treatment, have a proper plan for patient care and educate the family members and the patients on how some medical conditions are managed.
The quality, medical outcomes and healthcare services cost can be well evaluated by medical directors using the patients’ information. The major purpose of integrated information in the healthcare is to enable effective and efficient job performance by the health professional and practitioners through proper management of the information.
However, this has not been the case and information in the healthcare organizations has been inadequate and not integrated.
The paper gives situations in which lack of integration of information systems with clinicians’ workflow can lead to inadequate patient care, reduced physician productivity, or poor patient satisfaction with an HCO’s services. It also identifies and discusses the challenges and limitations of two methods for improving process integration.
When a patient’s medical records are not integrated in the HCOs, this can lead to inadequate patient care. During an emergency the information of a patient’s treatment records and status may not be available to the physicians.
The patient may be unconscious and in need of immediate medical attention. A patient’s treatment records and allergies history may be unavailable to the doctor administering the treatment (Waegemann et al, 2002).
This may cause complications if the patient is given medication or injections that are allergic to them compromising the physician productivity as well as the satisfaction of a patient.
Inpatients usually receive medical attention based on the availed medical report. However, a patient may be taken to a rehabilitation center or a nursing home where the medication that was administered is cut off because of lack of integrated medical information.
This jeopardizes the health of the patient as well as the ethics of the medical practitioners. Some patients require medical follow up if they have medical conditions that are complicated like cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
If the patient’s medical history is not available and the patient transfers to another state, a physician’s efforts may be compromised leading to poor productivity. According to Waegemann et al (2002), the safety of a patient can be affected adversely if there is no proper documentation of patient medical records.
For example, if two patients in the same institution share the same names, there is a high chance of giving the wrong medication to either of the patients. This occurs when there is no proper identification of the patients in question and their individual medical history.
The integration process can be improved through the adoption of information technology in the HCOs. However, there are challenges and limitations associated with the adoption of information technology. According to Bansal (n.d.), clinicians fears the risks associated with the adoption of information technology in the health care sector.
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For example, some of the fears include data anomalies, computer crashes, and vulnerability of patients’ data as well as programming errors that may occur. The failure of these systems can cause catastrophic results because of their dependence on machines (Bansal, n. d.).
These are challenges and fears that are associated with the use of healthcare information technology. Another method of improving the process integration in HCOs is by encouraging the small health care organizations to adopt electronic health care systems instead of the traditional handwriting method.
This would ensure that data is stored electronically and hence easily accessible. The challenge is that electronic health care system is expensive to install and manage thus making it unaffordable. Bansal (n.d.) notes that clinicians find the process of data entry as inadequate in terms of recording the office visits of a patient.
There is also the issue of dehumanizing the office visits thus affecting the doctor patient relationship that initially existed. Lastly there is the fear of patient’s information landing into the wrong hands thus breaking the patient’s doctor’s medical ethics of confidentiality.
In conclusion, HCOs need integration to ensure that efficiency and effectiveness is realized by the medical practitioners. The patients’ information should be availed to clinicians and other medical practitioners to ensure healthcare integration process.
Some situations like emergency, inpatients’ transfers, medical follows ups, and sharing of names in same institutions may have implications to clinicians’ workflows if not well integrated. These situations may cause inadequate patient care, reduced physician productivity, or poor patient satisfaction with an HCO’s services.
Adoption of health information technology and use of electronic health care systems are some of methods of improving the integration process. The limitation associated with the two is that they are expensive, are prone to errors and clinicians fear the dehumanization of office visits thus breaking the patient doctor relationship.
Bansal, A. (n.d). Health Information Technology and Telemedicine in the 21st Century – a Survey. Malvern, USA: Penn State Great Valley.
Waegemann, C. P. et al. (2002). Healthcare Documentation: A Report on Information Capture and Report Generation. Retrieved