Challenges in Implementing Health Informatics

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  • 0:04 Health Informatics Overview
  • 0:36 Definition of Health…
  • 1:00 Implementing…
  • 2:56 Challenges in Implementation
  • 4:01 Overcoming Barriers
  • 5:34 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Maya Shapland

Maya has worked in the clinical, education, and management sections of healthcare for over 25 years and holds bachelor's degree in Speech and associate degree in Nursing.

Implementing healthcare informatics into patient care areas comes with challenges and opportunities to grow. This lesson will describe challenges healthcare informatics can encounter and possible solutions to some of those challenges.

Health Informatics Overview

Grady is a nurse in the critical care department assisting with the implementation of new software. Following six weeks of training, Grady has been assigned as a trainer for nurses, physicians and others learning to use this new program. The new software is exciting to use as he can find everything he needs for his patients right on the screen in front of him. How? With the help of health informatics. In this lesson, we will follow Grady as he implements health informatics in his hospital. We will also see the challenges that he faces.

Definition of Health Informatics

Health informatics is a blend of information technology and clinical services designed to improve communication among those caring for patients. A team of nurses and other health professionals create a computer-based workflow for providing care that combines nursing practice, policies and procedures of the facility, physician orders, medications, and informational links for staff to find the answers needed.

Implementing Healthcare Informatics

Healthcare informatics can change the delivery of care and the evaluation of care in a way that improves the patient experience and improves the workflow of the staff. Before the implementation begins, there must be a system-wide planning initiative for success. Start by surveying the climate in the facility first. Ask, what are we doing and how do we do it? Observing these elements and getting the involvement of the staff early will make the transition much easier.

In the case of Grady, he was on the team that charted the workflow for the developers of the software he's using. Small changes have made a smoother flow for the critical care team, such as adding admission alerts for new patients in pharmacy and dietary.

How can healthcare informatics change our lives for the better?

  1. Creating a patient health record that can be accessed by many staff members that are caring for the patient.
  2. Improving patient safety by reducing errors from illegible handwriting.
  3. Preventing the staff from dispensing medications to which the patient is allergic.
  4. Granting access to needed information regarding diseases, medications, and procedures.
  5. Improving the ability to analyze data from the health records that increases staff performance.
  6. Providing documentation to support insurance collections and decrease denials of insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid claims.
  7. Requiring less paper and allowing more storage of patient and administrative information. Let's face it, buildings run out of room quickly as medical records and other paper take up large amounts of space.
  8. Improving access to reports from medical laboratories, physical therapy sessions, respiratory therapy sessions, nurses, physicians and others on the healthcare team and helping give a more complete picture of the care and condition of the patients.

Challenges in Implementation

Healthcare informatics is a rapidly evolving specialty. There have been many barriers to purchasing and implementing the new wave of software on the market today.

Healthcare organizations are partnering together to shoulder the enormous cost of the electronic medical record software, hardware and training. The cost can be $50,000.00 and up for a one physician practice. This does not cover the overtime, maintenance, and inevitable repairs and updates necessary to stay current.

Here are a few barriers to consider:

  • High cost of software and redesign of workflow to the software
  • High investment of time of physicians and staff to be trained
  • Physician orders can take more time to enter
  • Technology can be difficult to learn for some
  • Fear of technology in the staff and learning new ways of working
  • Software has not always fit the needs of the facilities and/or physicians
  • Poor communication between programs from outpatient-inpatient and inter-facility
  • Cyber security and patient confidentiality remains a concern

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