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Why do you think a CIO survey is important for the HMIS industry?
Surveys of CIOs are important because the results promote an understanding and increased awareness of the HMIS industry. In a study conducted by IBM, CIOs spend about 55 percent of their time steering innovative activities such as implementing new technologies and business initiatives (Levein, 2009). Responsive to the challenges faced in planning, implementation and updated maintenance of systems in the current economic environment, these surveys promote insight to budget cuts, delayed spending, and increased demand for services with reduced resources faced by health organizations. Results of these studies provide a flavor for how CIO and HMIS executives pursue change management solutions that enable them to create lean strategic growth models as they anticipate aspects of future HMIS growth for the upcoming years. Results also indicate what CIOs perceive to be the main obstacles faced as well as areas of opportunity. As the economy transitions from recession to recovery and as health organizations revise their strategies from cost-cutting efficiency to value-added productivity, the surveys provide insight for future growth. Survey results help identify industry trends and provide insight from information technology (IT) product and service purchasers.
2. Predict what type of hardware investments would be considered key to HMIS future. Then check out the full survey results, and compare your prediction to the actual results.
There are several hardware investments I believe will be considered key to HMIS future. The federal stimulus bill has promised billions of dollars in incentive payments to physicians and medical facilities that buy and use the electronic system so the first hardware investment that comes to my mind is an electronic medical record system. To promote its acceptance and utilization, the computers need to be reasonably powerful to run all the applications necessary to maintain clinical practice efficiency. Storage capacity of a centralized or distributed database is needed to archive large amounts of data. Central servers need to be powerful, and network or Internet connections fast and reliable. Updates to the solution architecture need to occur at the central server location with updates immediately available to all users. Compatibility or interoperability is also a necessity to link with other electronic clinical systems both within and outside the medical facility. Security mechanisms are required to protect client-specific information in an electronic environment. An extensive auditing system is required to monitor activity within the HMIS. I also believe there will be other electronic systems that place emphasis on quality care such as a clinical decision support system which assists clinicians apply new information to patient care and provides suggestions for how to manage a patientââ‚¬â„¢s condition.
The results from this survey are consistent with my belief that an electronic medical record will be considered key to HMIS future. While I incorrectly assumed that a computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system was a standard component of the electronic medical record, the survey indicated that installing this type of system can, and is often considered a separate focus. Upon review of the alignment of organizational and IT strategic plans, I was quite surprised to see that almost half of the IT plans are not considered a component of the organizational plan. From my perspective, one cannot function effectively without the other.
3. Why do you think the results showed investment of EHR to be a top priority for CIOs in the coming year?
I believe the reason why the results showed investment of EHR to be a top priority for CIOs in the coming year is because the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) intends to give health care organizations incentives to access federal funds to plan, design, and implement the infrastructure to promote the adoption and use of electronic health record systems and support health information exchange (HIE). This push will promote the implementation of interoperable health information technology over the next several years. In addition to financial incentives, it will also help to improve the overall quality and value of health care in the U.S. This will dramatically improve the continuity of care and informed medical decision-making.
Why do you think those who work in a clinic/group practice are less concerned about Backup/Disaster Recovery than are those who work in a hospital/integrated delivery system? Do you think this is prudent? Why or why not?
It is likely that those who work in a clinic/group practice may be less concerned about backup/disaster recovery than those who work in a hospital/integrated delivery system for a few reasons. What really drives the details of a recovery plan are the functions the medical practice needs to recover and how soon these functions must be available. Sadly, for some organizations, having a disaster recovery plan for remote and branch offices may not even exist. A clinic/group practice tends to deal with ambulatory out patients and may need minimal patient information along with the name and location of an alternate practice to refer patients. Another clinic/group may refer patients who require specialized care to another practice and continue handling routine appointments at an alternate site. Many medical practices continue to utilize a paper-based appointment scheduling system and/or a paper-based billing system. It is not uncommon for each personââ‚¬â„¢s medical records to be scattered among all the medical facilities where care has been given.
In comparison, hospital/integrated delivery systems may have a higher acuity of patients which places the institution at greater risk. Lives depend on the information in these records and losing access to them, even temporarily increases the potential for many patient safety issues that could be encountered. Many hospitals are already using electronic clinical systems that are critical to providing quality patient care. Many of these electronic systems are interfaced with each other. When considering disaster recovery, it is important to think beyond system failure and recovery; more importantly, the entire hospital needs to be considered. New advances in technology that exist in these types of practices generate more electronic data than in the past. Access to secure and reliable patient information is managed by IT personnel who are on staff to prevent most technical problems and support user needs. Hospitals and other health care facilities accredited by the Joint Commission are required to comply with published guidelines by having a business continuity/disaster recovery plan for all information systems (Owens & Ahlstrom, 2008)
When a disaster strikes, it is my belief that any medical practice must be able to retrieve valuable information through pre-established methods of disaster recovery. Disaster recovery depends on the complexity of the system however, all medical records, paper or electronic, need to be kept protected and secured in any type of disaster. Medical practices must get back up and running as quickly as possible to ensure patient safety and business continuity.
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