Friday, October 18, 2013

Understanding Hospital Information Systems

At its core, the concept of Hospital Information Systems (HIS), also sometimes referred to as Hospital Management Information Systems (HMIS) is self-explanatory. It can be referred to as the hub in which all information in a healthcare setting is located and managed. It is a system, accessing which authorized staff working in the hospital has vital information at their fingertips.

Why is centralization of data necessary?
Why is it necessary to centralize and integrate information? Quite simply, to make tasks easier and streamlined. A hospital has innumerable records that pertain to every of its functions. It has to have records about admissions. It has to have patient records, a very vital component of the patient's treatment. It also has to have information about the patient's insurance. This way, it should have data of virtually every kind. An HIS stores this information on its database, and using its software, enables processing and easy retrieval of any aspect of these data.

If a patient is to be admitted to a hospital; at the time of the entry, the hospital staff will have information about all these, once the data entry is made. This is made possible by HIS. The aim of an HIS is to facilitate smooth running of the hospital's information systems.

A huge repository of records
A well-designed HIS should have every detail right. It should be backed by robust software which should ensure that there are no glitches. It should have the resilience to sort information from hundreds of thousands of values and present what a particular staff member is looking for at a point of time. An efficient HIS should be able to give all information that is being sought by just the name or the patient record. It could be about whether it is a first-time or an old patient that is being admitted. Or it could be about whether the patient is a veteran who has some healthcare privileges. In other words, a sound HIS should be able to help the hospital carry out its functions more smoothly. This is integration of patient records.

Integration with all departments
Integration of another kind is also essential for a good HIS. The HIS should have total integration with all other functions of the hospital, such as the laboratory, finance and nursing records. It should also have another very important element -integration with other departments. A patient may have undergone examinations and investigations by the orthopedic, the consultant physician and the nephrologist. The HIS should have spot-on records of all these. The purpose of centralizing all this is that any authorized hospital staff should be able to access and retrieve data at any point of time.

Backend has to be efficient
HIS is made possible only with the help of strong software that carries out the backend in a smooth and coordinated fashion. When choosing software; the hospital has to be very specific in its requirements and expectations. It can get the best out of an HIS only when its goals are clearly stated and executed.

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