Information Exchange in Healthcare Systems

Information Exchange

Right information presented in a proper way to the people in need of the information makes a difference in the quality of decisions in any healthcare setting. Healthcare information exchange implies the mobilization of healthcare information by using electronic means across organization within a region. Information exchange provides the movement of clinical information among the disparate healthcare systems. It is vitally important that during the information exchange the meaning of the information be maintained intact. The objective of healthcare information exchange is to facilitate the access to the information swiftly and efficiently.

There must be the provision for the retrieval of the needed clinical data so that patients can be provided with safer and timely care. The information exchange is also considered important from the point of view of gathering and analyzing the health of the population. “The emergence of a networked electronic health information environment will transform patient care and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health system” (Connecting for Health, 2006). The use of data collected must be limited to the amount that is necessary for accomplishing the specified purpose. It is also important that the health data should be accurate, complete, relevant, and up to date, to ensure that the data collected is useful and aids in the provision of quality patient care.

Input, Process and Output

Information system can be divided into subject-based systems and task-based systems. A subject-based system relates to a particular thing in any healthcare organization like physician or patient. A task-based information system on the other hand is one that supports a particular task. Examples of task-based information systems include standalone operating theatres or patients admission systems (Beaumont, 2008).

Depending on whether the information system is subject-based or task-based there will be inputs, processes and outputs that constitute the essential elements of the information system. In the healthcare communications system, there are inputs, processes and outputs that determine the quality and effectiveness of the communication. While the inputs constitute the data or information being fed into the communication system, the process involves the production of some type of output.

The processing consists of memory and monitoring functions. Because of the various uses of the output of the communication system, output-based specifications have acquired prominence during the recent periods. For instance in the patient admission system all the demographic information and the information on the nature of disease constitutes the input, which are later processed to get the output in the form of required treatment.

Potential Barriers

There are some potential barriers for an efficient information exchange and effective communication in any healthcare setting. The barriers may take the form of technical or administrative barriers and in both form the barriers are prohibitive of the benefits of an effective communication in rendering quality patient care. The foremost barrier identified is the language barrier between the patient and the physician as it affects the provision of effective healthcare. Technological advancements need a number of barriers to be overcome before they can be effectively employed in any organization. Ethical crises and cultural differences also pose some barriers to effective communication among different parties involved.

The effect of physician behavior on the collection of data is of critical importance in assessing the barriers to effective communication. Training of the people involved in information exchange and communication is one of the effective methods to improve the communication among people. The language barrier in communication can be overcome by using simple and most common words. Establishing more than one communication channels may sometimes help in improving the effectiveness of communication (Hahn, 2005).


Beaumont, R. (2008). Types of Health Information Systems. Web.

ConnectingforHealth. (2006). Model Privacy Policies and Procedures for Health Information Exchange. Web.

Hahn, M. (2005). Overcoming Communication Barriers Between People. Web.

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