In this tech era, healthcare data is being managed by utilizing health information systems (HIS). These data management systems can effectively collect, store and transmit electronic medical records (EMR) of patients and facilitate healthcare operational management & policy decisions. Maintaining proper health systems is a complex process and requires good governance, efficient management and effective resource allocation. It involves capacity building in order to improve the standard and quality of healthcare. Instituting research to explore and establish best practices is crucial to health care systems. For sustainability, health care systems should be community based.
Benefits of such health systems can be summed up as follows:
Data analytics: Since the healthcare industry is constantly producing data, if analysed properly, it can help improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs.
Cost control: Digitally transmitted information allows efficiency and cost savings. Small scale or done on a regional level, Electronic health records have been observed to bring about enormous cost savings.
Collaborative care: A patient may need to be treatment by different facilities at the same time, hence it is important that these institutions have access to common health records.
Health management: Health information systems, by analysing aggregate patient data can help identify population trends. Similarly, clinical decision support systems can utilize big data to diagnose and treat individual patients.
Examples of health systems that can be utilized by patients to clinicians and public health officials include:
Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
These records replace paper version of a patient’s medical history, including health data, test and treatment results. These are designed to share data with other electronic health records so that other healthcare providers can access the same information easily.
Practice Management Software
With practice management software, healthcare providers can effectively manage daily operations like scheduling and billing. Hospitals with smaller operations can use these systems to automate administrative tasks.
Master Patient Index (MPI)
A master patient index connects patient records, from across databases. The index maintains a record for each patient, registered at a healthcare organization, whereby indexing all other records for that patient. This enables accurate records and eliminates duplication.
These digital portals simply allow patients to access their personal health data including appointments, medications and lab results. Some even allow patients to communicate with their physicians in order to request prescriptions and schedule appointments. Telehealth Systems are such advanced portals that are widely being used, as these allow diagnosis and treatment via digital means.
Clinical Decision Support (CDS)
Data from different clinical and administrative systems is analysed to facilitate healthcare providers make more informed decisions. These tools are designed to filter data and information so that clinicians can cater to individual patient needs in a more efficient manner.
Health information systems can be leveraged to improve healthcare and policy-making. Since these systems maintain, process and access sensitive data, security remains a primary concern. Efforts, therefore, should also be directed towards their safety.
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