Technology has become part of life and is being integrated everywhere. Computerizing some duties makes them easier to carry out and increases the accuracy of the same. By making duties easier to carry out and upholding accuracy a computerized system becomes efficient. The medical field is one area that has very well tapped into the field of technology to uphold integrity in its operations. Computerized management systems in hospitals increase efficiency by keeping the records and interlinking various departments, facilitating planning, coordination, and budgeting. This paper examines the role played by technology in creating efficiency in the medical field.
Computerized Management Systems
Hospitals handle many records which will be very hard to handle manually. Computerized recording in hospitals is by far more efficient than manual recording due to many records created in the hospital operations: inpatients and ambulatory patients and their history, case studies, blood transfusion unit records, session doctors, nurses, pharmacy, subordinate staff, etc. Manual recording compared to computerized recording is quite inefficient. Manual recording is cumbersome, the records can be lost or mixed up, is difficult to update, can have many errors; it takes a lot of time and needs more employees. Unlike manual recording, computerized management systems can have a database, where information from all departments in the clinic is stored. This eliminates the storage of data more than once and the data can be accessed by the hospital staff. Softwares like DBMS saves the time used to retrieve data from the database; one cannot compare retrieving data from a manual database to retrieving data from a computerized database (Yacano, 2009).
Apart from being fast and efficient, computerized recording is quite safe as compared to manual recording. The server is the central computer to which all the other computers in various departments (the clients) are connected. The DBMS is the one that allows or blocks access to the database by the users depending on security, the confidentiality of the data, and the identity of the client. Computerized management systems must have password protection. They should also be easy to use, embrace the latest technology, have a manual for operation, efficient search software, connected to the internet for help, easy to install, and an effective DBMS. All these show that computerized management systems increase the efficiency of the hospital personnel and reduce costs so more patients are served, with minimal errors, increasing the quality of care (Yacano, 2009).
Types of Hospital Management
There are two types of hospital management systems; comprehensive and polyclinic. In a comprehensive hospital management system, all operations from admission to charging to discharge are stored in the database. Sophisticated systems can use smartcards and offer teleconsultation. Polyclinic hospital management system involves the recording of various operations and manually writing reports.
Nurses should be involved in planning, choice, and maintenance of computerized management systems primarily because this will improve their performance by choosing the system that they find easy to deal with. Use of these systems by nurses decreases error rates, increases efficiency, saves time to attend to more patients, is fast, decreases the amount of manpower required. Arguing from a management point of view, including nurses in the implementation of computerized systems will make them own the system and be at ease with it. Owning a system will motivate them and make them work towards making the hospital services better (Prakashan, n.d.).
Handheld devices, when incorporated into the computerized management increase efficiency. Machines used in hospitals like CT scan machines, ECG, nasopharyngeal tubes, and other instruments can be connected to the patient’s records in the database automatically. This eliminates human error seen in manual entry of the records (Yacano, 2009).
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
Title II of The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) also known as Administrative Simplification (AS) provisions require that hospitals meet the specific standards in electronic transactions. The privacy rule of this act states when, how and to whom the Protected health information (PHI) is released. This information includes payments, health status, and type of hospitalization given. When this information is released, only relevant information should be given. It gives patients the right to request the data and that it must be released in thirty days upon request and it should be confidential. The transactions and codes set rules of this act sets rules for payments.
It has various sets like the EDI Health Care Claim Transaction set (837) which is used to release payment information to the patient or other payment firms. The security rule of this act works with the privacy rule. It protects Electronic Protected Health Information (EPHI) by its three security safeguards. The administrative safeguards on how the management systems should comply with the HIPAA. Physical safeguards protect access of unauthorized personnel from accessing the protected data. Technical safeguards protect data being sent electronically through open networks from being opened or used by unintended recipients. The Unique Identifiers rule of this act requires that all entities using electronic communications use The National Provider Identifier (NPI) to meet quality standards. The enforcement rule of this act enforces the HIPAA by setting penalties for its violation. The computerized management systems should observe the rules of this act by setting passwords, limiting access to the information, and using robust and up-to-date software (Prakashan, n.d.).
Effect on Health Care Cost
Computerized management systems decrease the amount of manpower required for entry of the data. Since the data is stored in a single database, double entry of records is avoided. It is easier to search for past data through search options. The data is entered immediately hence up to date, eliminating the need to update the data in various departments manually. A computerized management system has the effect of decreasing the costs involved in record keeping.
Benefit to Patient
These systems have many benefits to the patient. They eliminate or decrease human errors, done in recording thus ensuring proper treatment is given. They save time hence the patients are attended to quickly. They also make it possible to attend to many patients at any given time. They reduce health care costs and thus reduce charges on the patient. The chances of making errors are greatly reduced and this thus ensures that the health of the patients is upheld and not compromised.
I recommend that the team should purchase a comprehensive hospital management system. This system is easy to use, does not involve the writing of reports, and is easier to meet the requirements of the HIPAA.
Computerized management systems are efficient and should be adopted in hospitals. They have many advantages over the manual management system. They uphold the principle of the good medical practice of upholding the health of patients by making the hospital operations to be quite efficient.
Prakashan, N. (n.d.). Computer for Nursing. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Yacano, F. (2009). Handheld Computers Improve Service Delivery in Hospital. Windows Mobile Development. Web.