- To: Chief informatics officer/ name of the organization
- Subject: Information system briefing
Medical applications such as pharmacy, radiology, and laboratory information systems have been utilized in health care institutions for decades. Despite these successes, it is worrying to note that some healthcare institutions have been reluctant in implementing electronic health record systems and computerized provider order entry (Coye & Bernstein, 2003). In the year 2009, the US government enacted an act to reinvent the way health care organizations capture, store and use health care information systems. Ever since then, approximately $30 billion has been set aside by the government to enhance the implementation and meaningful use of electronic health record systems and other types of health information systems (DeLuca & Enmark, 2010). Through the above measures, health and health care have been enhanced. This brief focuses on the process a health care organization should go through in selecting a health care information system. By doing so, ways of how the organization’s goals drive the selection of an information system and the roles each of the organization stakeholders plays in the selection and acquisition process are highlighted.
Before acquiring a new health information system, healthcare executives should appoint a project committee (Wager & Lee, 2009). The chief informatics officer should head the project committee. Notably, the chief informatics officer should possess strong management, communication, organizational skills, and an understanding of IT. The committee should be mandated to plan, organize, coordinate, and manage all aspects of the acquisition process. The chief informatics officer should identify the need for a new health care information system in the organization (Wager & Lee, 2009). Thereafter, the choice should be made on whether to purchase a new information system, before analyzing the feasibility and the scope of the process. The main aim of this preparation and analysis phase is to identify the best healthcare information system that will enable the organization to meet its goals. During this stage, the chief informatics officer should analyze current systems and note its problems to be familiar with opportunities for improvement. Thereafter, the organization’s executive together with the chief informatics officer should access the feasibility of the system proposed. The system should be technologically, financially, and operationally sound. Usually, individuals believe that implementing a new information system would solve an organization’s information problems. That is not usually the case because without proper assessment the problems would persist. More often, after a thorough analysis of the current system, the health care team might realize that the current problems are entrenched in unproductive procedures or not having sufficient training. Based on this illustration, the challenges can be rectified without the need of acquiring a new system. This implies that evaluation of the existing system and workflow process and the goals of an organization are a crucial part of the acquisition of a new healthcare system.
Once all the stakeholders have agreed that a new information system is necessary in the organization, they should then evaluate the information needs of clients and classify the functional necessities (Wager & Lee, 2009). During this stage, the following questions should be answered. Will the new information system be developed internally? Will the new information system be developed externally with the help of an outside contractor? Will the new information system be purchased from health information merchants? According to the research, hospitals purchase ready-made information systems from the merchants. However, it is advisable for the committee to be involved in the plan of the system to aid in designing a system that will address unique information challenges faced in the organization. During the design of the system, all options required to address these challenges should be considered. In general, during the process a cost-benefit study is completed, a system is selected, and merchant negotiations are completed.
Soon after the completion of the system’s contracts, the implementation should be carried out (Wager & Lee, 2009). During this stage, the hospital’s finance department should allocate adequate resources for the achievement of the chores such as carrying out workflow process examinations, mounting new system, examining the system, teaching the staff, transferring data, and putting in order the business and the personnel to go-live on the new system.
Finally, after the installation of the system the chief informatics officer is required lead the support and evaluation process to be carried out on the system (Wager & Lee, 2009). Usually, after the implementation of the system people tend to underestimate the amount of personnel, time, and resources required to support and evaluate the system. Therefore, the chief informatics officer should ensure that adequate resources are allocated for the support and evaluation of the system because the system is required to function perfectly with little or no downtime. During the support and evaluation process, records about the performance of the system should be recorded under the directives of the chief informatics officer. In the end, the healthcare executives and the board members should regularly request evaluation results from the chief informatics officer to analyze the value of their investment and the extent to which the new system has attained its purpose.
Coye, M. J., & Bernstein, W. S. (2003). Improving America’s Health Care System By Investing In Information Technology. Health Affairs, 22(4), 56-58.
DeLuca, J., & Enmark, R. (2010). The CEO’s guide to health care information systems. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Wager, K. A., & Lee, F. W. (2009). Health care information systems: a practical approach for health care management (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.