The existing information system is physical record which is mostly on paper and storing that record itself is a difficult task for the hospitals as well as the patient. Most of the patients have to carry their medical history by themselves, sometimes certain reports were missing which is waste of time as well as cost. If the patients are in critical condition then the situation is still worse for the doctors to make the decision due to lack of their previous history.
An effective Health care decision support system where the patient records are stored in a centralised database system, which will help in providing customised information needed by different users of the hospitals to make the effective decision and thus making the hospital perform inefficient way.
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Hospital Information System is a system which maintains and retrieves detailed clinical data for a patient. This system stores a detailed medical record of a particular patient like height, weight, blood pressure conditions, previous treatments and another medical history of the patient.
This system also gives details about their previous laboratory records, their prescribed drug usage based on the patient’s medical condition, billing and takes care of the health insurance claims. All the departments of the hospital are linked to the system like the blood bank, pharmacy, laboratories, etc so that professionals working in these particular departments may perform a query, extract the data, and upload/download details about the condition of a patient depending on the access privilege of each individual.
Existing Hospital Information System
When a patient visits the hospital, he goes through the diagnosis of a specialist doctor. If further investigation is required, the doctor sends the patient for a laboratory test. The patient, after being tested at the laboratory, has to wait for a couple of hours/days till the reports to be released. Once the reports are released, the patient has to collect the report and hand it over to the specialist doctor, who examines the reports and determines the criticality of the patient’s health condition and treats with necessary therapy.
The patient maintains a case file/folder which contains the details of the patient’s medical condition like the laboratory reports, drugs prescribed from time to time, and other remarks by the concerned doctors about his/her day to day health.
Currently, Information System is not employed in the hospital as all the records are maintained on paper. The patient’s case file, which is merely a folder with all the details of a health condition on paper, laboratory test reports, drug prescriptions are all paper-based which are all carried by the patient himself. The hospital does not maintain any such records, thus making it very tedious for the patient to carry each and every document on his hospital visit.
The Purpose of the Information System
Therefore, the need of the hour is an Information System for the hospital which will maintain these patient records which will enable the doctors to access each patient’s medical history and also relieving the patient from carrying the physical records.
Once the system is implemented, it will improve communication and collaboration amongst the hospital staff which will bring efficiency in daily routine. It will also present the doctors with up to date records in the system thus helping them in effective decision making. This will increase the efficiency of the hospital thus improving customer service to a large extent.
Lack of IS can lead to a large number of complications for the decision-makers. If the records of a particular patient is not timely available and maintained properly, it may happen that the decision taken is not up to mark or is inefficient. If some report or documentation is lost or misplaced, the decision-makers may have inadequate information about the patient’s health condition which may lead to the wrong diagnosis or go through diagnosis methods all over again with different tests as appropriate.
The level of decision support is unstructured as the treatment varies from patient to patient depending on the individual’s medical care. The decision making is based on the intuition and judgement of the decision-makers. It is also important to emphasize the fact that computerized communication and collaboration among different specialist will lead to sharing of knowledge, experience and resource amongst doctors specialising in different fields.
The basic users of the system would be the specialist doctors who are the decision-makers. It will also help nurses, Lab staff and pharmacists to improve communication between the hospital staff to make sure proper data is made available to the doctors on time. Administration staff would also be the primary users for billing and health insurance claims. Also, the top-level management to analyse the financial aspect of the progress of the hospital.
• It will help the medical professional in making quick and effective decision by analysing patient history particularly when the patient is in critical condition.
• It will minimise the paper work for administrative department.
• It will help to collaborate and share knowledge between health professionals.
• It will also improve the standard of inter department function.
• Errors in treatment and medication will be reduced to a large extent.
• Complex structure of developing the IS.
• Huge database to be developed and maintained.
• Training the different users of IS.
• Cost and time involved in developing the IS.
• Unwanted occupancy rate is reduced.
• Effective Patient relationship management will increase the occupancy.
• Ethical and legal implications involved, if the security of the data fails.
The IS for the hospital is basically a centralised database system which maintains and retrieves patient records, helping the doctors and health professionals to determine the course of treatment for a particular patient.
When the patient visits the hospital for the first time, details of the patient are recorded and a unique ID is assigned to the patient for the perusal of hospital employees. This unique ID helps professionals from various departments to retrieve and update the records. Also, whenever a doctor needs some laboratory reports of a particular patient, an alert will be sent to the head nurse as well as the Lab professional in their interconnected system.
The head nurse will collect the necessary sample material like blood, urine or stools and send it to the Lab for testing. Once the report has been generated, the Lab professional will upload the report into the client record on the system. This will create an alert at the doctor’s terminal, informing him about the completion of the task.
This will help the doctors to come up with the best possible treatment without delay. And the doctors are given the privilege to access the database from their office or home. And the details about the payment etc can be retrieved by the administration staff for billing and health insurance claims.
By analysing the whole situation we would like to suggest that, we have to develop a centralised database decision support system which is data-driven since it is targeted for internal users i.e. hospital staff, to seek specific data by different levels of users. As we know that every fraction of second is very much important in the hospital.
The quick and right decision based on the patient diagnosis important can really save life of any individual. A delay in making a judgement will cost in life of a patient. The decision support system will really help the medical professional by providing all the records needed to make a better decision. And also this system will help the different departments of the hospital to perform efficiently.
Steve Haekler, ProModel Staff, “MeritCare Health System uses simulation to optimize integration of service areas into new day unit”, 2004, viewed on 15th March 2008,at URLhttp://dssresources.com/cases/meritcare/index.html.
Turban, E., Aronson, J., Liang, T. and Sharda, R. (2007) Decision Support and Business Intelligence Systems, 8th Edition, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
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