From treatment formulation, to finance, population health, health information systems (HIS) reach throughout the healthcare spectrum and can offer healthcare organizations the business intelligence necessary to reshape our healthcare system, while allowing patients convenient access to their health information. Healthcare technology vendors now offer solutions that allow care providers to deliver highly customized treatment plans in convenient and understandable formats.
How Health Information Technology Impacts Healthcare
Health information technology (HIT) allows providers to securely and conveniently manage electronic health records (EHRs).  This transparency helps to ensure the completeness and accuracy of records. Many health information vendors also provide content management services, making the sharing of information a simple process. Healthcare information technology also assists providers in coordinating patient treatments with other medical disciplines, allowing specialists to diagnose conditions faster and reduce medical errors. Additionally, consumers can choose to share their electronic health information with family members and other caregivers.
Lowering Healthcare Costs With Technology
Most wasted time, resources and costs in healthcare derive from misdiagnoses, outdated recordkeeping practices, repetitive procedures, service delays and other inefficiencies.  Networked medical information systems can reduce or eliminate many of these occurrences. Modern health information systems facilitate improvements such as:
- Faster diagnoses
- Fewer malpractice claims
- Improved care coordination
- Prompt treatment
- Reduced errors
These combined benefits facilitate collaboration between providers and patients that result in effective case management, which in turn, can reduce care costs and helps care providers make meaningful use of massive amounts of information.
Using Technology to Improve Service
The Informatics Nurse Survey, from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), reveals that 60 percent of respondents believe health information technology improves quality of care.  Surveyed nurses reported improved workflow, increased patient safety and widespread consumer use of available technology.
Of nurses with some responsibility in informatics, more than half work with smart medical devices. 23 percent of respondents reported their organization employed informatics specialists as early as the year 2000, and over 61 percent stated their employers currently enlist informatics professionals in executive capacities. As healthcare organizations increase their use of technology and gather more information, the role of informatics specialists will likely expand.
Making Treatment Safer With Science
Health information technology (HIT) and patient electronic health records (EHRs) encompass the resources that nurses and care provider organizations employ to access and maintain a comprehensive overview of medical data.  While the interfaces that nurses use to access these resources might prove cumbersome, the information that is generated plays a key role in assisting health professionals in improving patient safety.
These technologies enable care providers to communicate health information quickly and evaluate large volumes of data. Health professionals can more efficiently view consumer documentation, organizational policies and prescription information as it relates to individual patients. Moreover, increased collaboration between nurses and HIT specialists is expected to continue to enhance patient safety.
Partnering With Patients
Informatics tools create a two-way learning environment between patients and care providers.  While serving as an instrument to support patients with their recoveries, the technology allows care providers to learn about consumers when they are away from the service environment. As more consumers use informatics technology, researchers and care providers might learn more about patient recovery pathways. For instance, a care provider that is reviewing cumulative patient data may notice patient groups that take longer than usual to recover. From this analysis, the care provider may formulate revised treatment plans for that service class.
Global Collaboration Using Health Information Technology
A group of researchers from various countries has formed an alliance to create an open source platform for data analysis that communicates with health information databases from around the world.  The group, called Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI, or “Odyssey”), consists of professionals from many disciplines. OHDSI plans to analyze information generated from over a billion patients to discover effective treatment methodologies.
OHDSI technology translates application data, infrastructure information, procedures and research. Together, the group plans to usher in a new age of research by creating the largest informatics database in the world.
In the future, nursing informatics specialists will work with technologies that generate information in real time. This capability will arrive just in time for care provider organizations to meet bold, new legislative mandates for improving public health.  As heath information technology grows more complex, care provider organizations will call on greater numbers of skilled nursing specialists to operate high-tech resources that have the potential to raise healthcare to exciting new levels.
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