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Health Care Systems and IT

Free «Health Care Systems and IT» Essay Sample

Introduction

Technological advancement continues to be a fundamental resource in the development and success of any industry. Companies with improved technology have a more competitive edge as compared to those with none and the case is the same in the health sector. This has therefore forced health systems to adopt technologies that will not only make health services cheaper, but also better for patients. The improvement of technology has allowed offering efficient medical services to people separated by geographical factors who now have a chance to consult with their doctors, while the storage of data has been made easier through electronic filing. However, this development has faced a number of challenges, for example, the lack of sufficient resources to equip health care organizations with modern technologies. In addition, there is a constant increase in medical expenses. The purpose of this essay is to examine the roles of a chief technological officer and a chief information officer, as well as making recommendations in areas that need changes, determining health technologies that have been adopted, and discussing how they have affected the health sector, how security and privacy of patients’ information can be maintained, and what strategies could be used to train service providers in using these improved technologies. It also provides description of practices that ensure effective information technology alignment and strategic planning initiatives.

Responsibilities of Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer

Chief technology officer oversees technology of the company, while chief information officer is in charge of the strategy and computer system that deals with information technology. Therefore, a chief technology and information officer is vital as he or she carries out various activities, which include the following.

Monitor Technologies

The chief technology officer has to keep an eye on new trends, social technologies that arise in the society, and their impact on the business development. This includes accessing and investigating these new technologies in order to determine their potential in the improvement of health care services offered in the hospital (Smith, 2002). Therefore, it means that the officer has to be always informed so that they can keep up with all technological changes that may occur.

Manage Research and Development of Technologies of the Company

Increase in and emergence of diseases around the world, for example, the Zika virus that is currently affecting the South American population, have led to an increase in strategic research and development of technologies in the health sector. This means that technology officers should carry out strategic researches aimed at ensuring that they understand various causes of diseases arising and how they can be controlled or prevented. This will ensure that health care services address the most pressing issues affecting the community and find out how to deal with any diseases that may emerge. The researchers’ main goal is to find the cure to the diseases and how their spread can be prevented.

Maintain Current Information

It is also the responsibility of the chief technology and chief information officer to maintain information of the organization. This is done by protecting information of both the management and patients visiting the hospital from any hacking or misuse of information. Maintaining of information also means that the records are constantly updated to ensure that there is an efficient and effective flow of information between departments in the hospital. There should be backups readily available to ensure that in case of any threat nothing gets lost. Maintaining information might be costly to the organization due to the need for big servers and backup power, but once they are installed, the information stored can be easily recovered.

Recommendation

Chief information and technological officers should develop software programs that allow smooth integration of different health care services and that can incorporate physicians, patients, and stakeholders. However, they should still be not expensive to use or costly to install. The recent move by some hospitals to grant their patients health membership cards, which they can use to access health programs offered in the hospital, can be viewed as an effective way in which chief technology and chief information officers have performed their responsibility and made it easier for their patients to access the needed services.

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Developing Technologies in Health Care Systems

Telemedicine is a recent technological advancement that has led to the spread of medical services and allows medical interaction between patients and doctors who are separated by the geographical barrier and who lack medical attention. Telemedicine has enabled patients to access health care services through online services. Patients can be diagnosed and prescribed medications without the need of stepping into hospitals. This has improved health care services offered by doctors who can advise and communicate with their patients that live far away from them.

Recently, the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law, has led to an increase in a number of medical programs that offer medical aid to Americans despite them lacking medical insurance. This development has faced a lot of opposition as it has led to overworking of staff members. Nonetheless, it has reduced the cost of health services, therefore ensuring that everyone can get medical assistance (Blum, 2011).

A population that is healthy means that the economy of the country is not affected by an increase in days taken off or by spending of income on hospital bills. It is, therefore, important to ensure that medical care is affordable to everyone, while also ensuring that health care keeps up with the ever advancing technology so that geographical boundaries are broken and patients can access health care services despite their geographical distance.

Ways to Prevent Misuse of Information

The increase in cybercrimes targeting patients, including identity theft and fraud, has increased the importance of data, as well as of financial and personal information for patients. Thus, the management has placed administrative protection policies and procedures that protect privacy of their patients. This means that confidential information of patients is only allowed to be seen by authorized individuals and is given to those who have been approved by the patient. This includes those who have been listed in the patient’s personal file and personal doctors (SafeNet Inc, 2010). The organization protects electronic information by controlling access to this information by placing firewalls and password authorization, while also encrypting and decrypting this information (HRSA, n.d.).

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Misuse of patients’ information is also avoided and protection is enforced through using physical safeguards that protect the hardware. This is used to ensure protection of patients’ information against physical threats. The most frequently used physical techniques include protection of workstations and security by placing restrictions to protect this information. Backups of data are made in order to ensure that nothing is lost and all information is accounted for. Additionally, cameras are placed around hospital departments to record every ongoing activity and protect the properties from any unusual activities.

The importance of security of patient information cannot be understated. However, healthcare facilities lack adequate resources to protect the patients’ information and all sensitive details. Resources should be allocated for and invested into information protection and improvement of security technologies in the health care system. If this is done, the level of security of health information will be improved. Nevertheless, if an organization is found guilty of misusing their patients’ information, it should be sued and their license should be cancelled.

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Strategy Used to Train Providers

The use of simulation has become a common strategy used to incorporate technology into the health sector and train health providers on how to effectively administer medical care to their patients. Simulation is used to train them on how to respond to any challenging medical situation that they might come across. This method makes it easy for trainees to learn from their mistakes and make needed corrections since patient simulators have human feelings that can be monitored. Therefore, this gives an allowance and provides room to train practitioners without causing any risks to patients. This strategy also creates an environment where medicine administration can be practiced, while ensuring that health providers are fully trained on how to give injections or conduct operations without causing harm to patients (Burrows, 2013). This strategy has ended up being highly effective in incorporating technology in the health sector. However, for the technology to work effectively in the health care sector, the staffs are to be allowed to have adequate time to familiarize and become more comfortable with the technology, which might take quite a long time.

Different strategies should be employed in the health care systems to ensure that technology used works effectively in the organization and yields the needed results. The rained personnel ensure that the best results are achieved and that patients get the best services for their money.

The Best Practices

The department should have an advisory board that oversees all activities carried out in the Information Technology system. In most cases, the board develops policies and procedures used in the operation of the department that is aligned with technological objectives and goals of the company. In addition, it ensures that the value of the company is maintained by ensuring that the equipment works effectively and that the delivery of services is timely. This will guarantee that business objectives are accomplished. Heads of departments give a clear reason behind the strategies that they have employed, while ensuring that resources available to them are properly managed to avoid cases of mismanagement.

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The Information Technologist department should be made up of individuals who are good in public relations in order to ensure that the services delivered are of high value and that they meet the customers’ expectations (Blackmer, 2005). The department should, therefore, ensure that customers are served efficiently and in a timely manner so that cases of customers’ dissatisfaction can be avoided. This practice enables the organization to know which areas of their departments need improvement since customers are given a chance to express their grievances to a customer-friendly workforce.

In every activity that is undertaken in an organization, it is important to monitor progress. It includes measuring performance of the Information Technology department with account for the set objectives and strategic plans. This gives a clear indication of how the department has been performing, while highlighting in which areas improvement is needed. Performance measurement ensures that the organization continues growing and that such issues as resource mismanagement can be easily tackled. It is also important to analyze risks of the organization strategic plans since this practice will make it easy for risks that may arise in the department to be managed and the vulnerability of the organization can be minimized. Hence, it is essential to ensure that the health care sector is able to keep up with the technology, at the same time ensuring that privacy of the patient is upheld. Health care organizations should also make sure that they offer satisfactory services to their customers.

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Conclusion

The roles of chief technological and information officers should be clearly outlined in order to ensure that no part of the organization department lags behind. These roles include: monitoring of technology, research and development, and maintenance of current information in their institutions. The officers should, therefore, ensure that they develop relevant software to manage health data for streamlined services. However, the risk of being involved with the technology should be clearly outlined before the management engages into it. Information of the organization and patients should be protected.

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