Health care management and technology

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Introduction

        Clearly, there are many reasons why health care in general is a very important aspect of our daily lives. Many people don't tend to realize that healthcare just doesn't consist of just doctors, but it also consists of dieticians, nurses, physicians, dieticians, and therapists. They all tend to play a major role into making sure that all people whether American or from a foreign country are maintaining their health. "An ounce of prevention is sometimes worth more than an ounce of cure" (Brown, pg 1). Even though many people may tend to think that theses jobs are easy, I believe that these jobs are not easy and require a lot of hard work, dedication, and also time in order to make sure that everyone is well taken care of. This paper will discuss the role of health care administrators in different settings, the future of health insurance, the role of administration in health systems and the role of managed care organizations.

The role of administration in the health system

There can be many roles for health care administrators because of the wide variety of possible settings they can take part in. I currently work for Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), a Health Care Organization (HCO), St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center (SJHMC) in Phoenix, AZ as a Senior Buyer in the Materials Management Department. CHW is a Catholic non-profit public healthcare enterprise consisting of over forty networks of clinics and hospitals delivering medical services in Arizona, California, and Nevada with 60,000 providers, clinicians and non-clinical support staff. Health care administrators in CHW are employed at all levels, top, middle, and entry.

SJHMC currently has two medical management committees, Critical Care Committee and Risk Management Committee that play a major role in administration for their health care system. The critical care committee evaluates the standard of critical care practice for various intensive care and emergency units in the hospital. This committee supports the continuous improvement of patient care at SJHMC through the ongoing and focused monitoring of key quality indicators. And the Risk Management Committee directs the design and implementation of all risk avoidance and management policies, procedures, processes and improvements, related to the following risk reduction activities, risk surveillance, risk prevention, risk control, and unusual occurrences. Identifying and analyzing key risk indicators at least quarterly avoids trends in patient injury outcomes and improves provider practice. They reach conclusions and take action for quality improvement to achieve greater success. There are other methods that these medical management committees can persuade the health care policy outside of the walls of their HCO. At SJHMC they collaborate with other community HCO to bring strength in numbers so their voice is heard. They create an environment that benefits the entire state with initiatives. They are also known to seek out interested third parties in the private sector to help donate to their cause in health care reform. In addition, the administration that is involved in these committees that are outside of their additional duties lead and actively participate in interdisciplinary quality improvement activities as a key contributor to the image and care SJHMC provides to the community. These committees exist to manage the quality and safety of patient care delivery. SJHMC depends on these administrative leaders to serve on these committees to provide leadership for measuring, assessing, and improving processes.

Managed care organizations roles and the future of health insurance

Managed care organizations play a major role in health care management and technology as well as being the future for health insurance. They are the middle man between the insurance agencies and the government communicating the needs of the patient and the managed care organization. I feel that managed care organizations would be very beneficial in a way that it will be able to benefit not only myself but other people also. For example, managed care has helped to aid me whenever I am going to the hospital or getting a doctor check up. They are the ones that are talking with my doctors or physicians in order to determine the type of treatment I may need and handle all of the financial agreements that come with it I feel that this would save myself and others time and money by having a managed care plan. In the national and state levels they are involved in the legislative process to advocate for new health policies for health insurance. Inside the courthouse they litigate within advocacy campaigns from the private sector for health care reform as well. As the number of Americans without health care insurance continues to grow the need for access to health care grows as well. Expanding health insurance and creating access to health care for every American has come in the form of MCO's building public and political alliances for reform that will expand health insurance through tax credits. They also encourage insurance agencies to move in the direction of a system that will make health insurance affordable for individuals and families. The future of health care insurance is especially important to SJHMC. Being CHW is a nonprofit organization with religious sponsorship they have provided over $900 million community benefit and free health care to the poor and low income families in 2008.

The role of administration in health systems

Health care organizations use Information Technology in order to improve the quality, safety, effectiveness and efficiency of health care in different settings and in order to insure continuity of care. The use of IT in health care has been demonstrated to improve health care in various large health care delivery systems.IT investment must be aligned with the health care organization's mission and vision. In order to better understand any proposed technological investments by the different stakeholders in the organization it is important for the IT department to come up with a Strategic Master Plan to assess the IT infrastructure and services available including hardware, applications, manpower and processes in order to identify future needs.

The role of administration in health systems

In healthcare settings, IT infrastructure constitutes the physical hardware used for running medical and business applications including networked medical instruments, enterprise storage systems, servers, desktops, laptops and hand-held devices, interfaces together with wired and wireless network devices and connection media. Two years ago the IT department in the hospital I work for went through a dramatic enhancement of the service delivery and IT infrastructure, establishing compliance requirement with the Joint Commission International Accreditation and the College of American Pathologists, initiating mega projects to improve underlying infrastructure including the network, desktop computers, printers laptops, servers, enterprise data storage as well as restructuring the data center to cover the hospital expansion and increase safety and security of the IT resources.

The major two projects that were approved and implemented were:

My Care-Cerner interface, it facilitates ADT (admission, discharge and transfer) and Physician Orders between the two systems. ADT information is transferred via hospital network and stored in centralized database. The interface allows the caregiver to enter patient information into the computer where ADT reads messages in HL7 format and updates the appropriate tables in the database. Transactions such as: data added, updated, cancelled or deleted are done in real time and ADT Interface Server receives a massage and updates the database for use right away.

Some of the benefits of my-CARE-Cerner ADT Interface:

  • Saves Time: patient information in the patient master index of cerner and then transmitted automatically to my CARE without re-entry of the information in my CARE.
  • Reduction of Data Entry Errors: there is less chance of data entry errors with less data being entered manually in my-CARE.
  • Complete Patient Information: information is available without having to search in other systems.

ICIS-CERNER Phase II Project: a major code upgrade to the underlying infrastructure was made in order to prepare for phase II. Phase II Cerner which included the following modules includes PharmNet which organizes data, eliminates duplication, and increases patient safety and communication among caregivers, physicians, and nurses by placing data only once ensuring efficiency, and safety, SurginNet which offers solutions to doctors, nurses, surgery team members such as: scheduling, comprehensive reporting, complete documentation for pre, intra, post operative, case tracking, anesthesia documentation and tools necessary to automate the practice of anesthesia and Profile which provides the ability to support paper, document images and computerized records within a single application, chart completion, release of information and chart tracking. Other modules include CareNet which links patient electronic medical record to nursing activities, automatically documenting activities and simplifying communication between all members of the care team and FirstNet which was introduced for emergency services and helps track the flow of patients at emergency departments until the patient is transferred to the ward or discharged, including triaging stage.

Conclusion

In closing, the healthcare environment is not as easy as it seems. With all the new technological inventions and advancement in medicines and study, many healthcare physicians must be ready at all times to adapt to any new changes when it involves the healthcare field. "One of the major things about on-demand is that it helps a business become not just more innovative, but also much more efficient and much more responsive to change (Wladawsky-Berger, pg 1). With this being said, the importance of anyone working in a healthcare industry is marked by their adaptation to change and if they adapt to change quickly, more patients will be satisfied with the service and that those physicians will be able to limit problems that occur inside their place of work. This is why roles in healthcare are important in today's world because the future holds many changes in the healthcare field and that administrators must be ready for change and must be ready to try to obtain as much information about new medicines and cures whenever the time comes.

Resources

  1. Shi, L., & Singh, D. A. (2008) Delivering health care in America: A systems approach (4th ed.). Boston: Jones and Bartlett.
  2. Longest, Jr., B. B. (2003). Managing health services organizations and systems. Baltimore: Health Professionals Press.
  3. David Brown, "In the Balance: Some Candidates Disagree, but Studies Show It's Often Cheaper To Let People Get Sick," The Washington Post, April 8, 2008.
  4. Saward, E., & Sorensen, A. (1980). The current emphasis on preventive medicine. In S. J. Williams (Ed.), Issues in health services (pp. 17-29). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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