What is Healthcare Information Technology? A+ Guide

Healthcare information technology is an essential component in streamlining the productivity of medical care for various patients. Establishing an efficient healthcare information technology system allows organizations to store, retrieve, share, and manage critical patient data and utilize it to provide better care and communication for treatments and medical prescriptions. 

We at Aloa fully understand the importance of having a well-designed software system, especially when dealing with the healthtech industry. Our team conducts a full analysis of a hospital or medical facility's existing system. One such project we worked on, Pepcare compiles all patient-doctor communications in one platform. What, the final solution matches organizational needs with an outsourced software developer that can help achieve all your goals.

In this blog post, we will be discussing how to create and implement an effective healthcare information technology system. We shall also talk about the different features and challenges that need to be addressed when formulating a healthcare information system that businesses will need to be aware of before hiring a software developer. 

Let's begin.

What Is Health Information Technology?

What Is Health Information Technology

Healthcare information technology (HIT) is a combination of multiple medical software systems to help track and manage patient data with the main goal of improving the quality and speed of treatment and medical delivery to patients. With technological advancements, organizations implement additional healthcare information systems to automate specific tasks. 

Each healthcare center can have vastly different methods of applying their health information technology to their existing systems. Distinguishing which features and functionalities can help streamline data management and treatment procedures will simplify the integration process for your medical staff and personnel.  

How To Implement Healthcare Information Technology Solutions

Implementing healthcare information technology solutions involves careful planning and timing. Adding new technology at a rapid pace can cause medical professionals to struggle to adapt to the latest software solutions and have a negative impact on productivity. The main goal of integrating healthcare software solutions is to improve the patient's overall experience with the healthcare center. 

Here is how to properly implement healthcare information technology solutions:

How To Implement Healthcare Information Technology Solutions

Step 1: Consider the Type of Healthcare IT Solution Being Implemented

A hospital or medical institution's management system requires extensive monitoring and updating, making each information critical, considering that a patient's health and well-being are involved. Take into consideration the type of healthcare IT solution your organization is looking to integrate first before proceeding with the software development process. 

Each type of healthcare IT solution offers different benefits and functionalities that can range from better accessibility for patients to ensuring that doctors can effectively prescribe medications. Do note that healthcare centers can mix different features and functionalities from one type of IT solution to another. The different types of healthcare IT solution includes:

Consider the Type of Healthcare IT Solution Being Implemented
  • Medical Practice Management System: All administrative and clerical data falls under this type. The medical practice management system involves scheduling and patient documentation to insurance claims and medical billing. 
  • E-Prescribing Software: Doctors and other medical practitioners can utilize this healthcare IT solution as a simplified method of prescribing medications to their patients. They can also send the information directly to a pharmacy to help make the process easier while also gaining access to a patient's medication history.
  • Electronic Health Record Systems (EHR): Charting medical details from the materials needed for treatment to communicating with other departments if a patient needs to see a specialist. An EHR makes the process easier by removing needless paperwork and allowing each patient record to be updated automatically within their system. 
  • Remote Patient Monitoring: Monitoring the health of a patient receiving post-care can be made easier through the use of remote patient monitoring. This healthcare information technology solution allows doctors and patients to have a faster screening process on a patient's blood, glucose, or even heart condition remotely. 
  • Patient Portal: Users who are required to schedule appointments, communicate with their doctors, and search for different doctors can all do so through a well-developed patient portal system. This IT solution allows patients to find a doctor's background and availability to improve their overall experience and satisfaction.
  • Urgent Care Applications: Any patient in critical condition can immediately request medical aid through the use of urgent care applications. These systems are typically downloadable as a mobile application and are also available to use regardless of the time.
  • Master Patient Index (MPI): Larger clinics, health institutions, and hospitals can utilize a master patient index to ensure each patient has a singular profile chart already implemented into their system. Some software solutions even allow the data to be transferred to other establishments for a quicker response to a patient's existing medical records.
  • Medical Billing: One of the most time-consuming processes that both medical institutions and patients hate the most is none other than the billing process. Having a medical billing software solution allows for a faster rate of providing a full and transparent record for the final bill. It can also aid patients with health plans and insurance.

Step 2: Involve Stakeholders In Implementation 

Implementing a healthcare information technology system in any hospital or clinic involves heavy investment and management. Developing this kind of software requires financial and technical support, which means involving stakeholders is a must to ensure that the system remains viable and consistent at all times. 

Involving stakeholders in the decision and development process allows for transparent monitoring and upkeep of resource management to keep a sophisticated technology system running at all times. Any downtime or potential issues with healthcare information software could potentially cause large delays and even lawsuits if not handled efficiently.

Step 3: Combine Development and Implementation

A wise decision when choosing to utilize advanced technology to improve and streamline healthcare information is to slowly trickle each step during development. Implementing new software requires extensive onboarding for the administrators and medical personnel involved. 

It's important that all members of the organization have ample time to learn and adjust to the new healthcare information technology developments in chunks instead of implementing all new features at once. This prevents potential hazards and risks with the software failing to work at critical times, such as losing patient data or handling medical billings.

Step 4: Carefully Plan out The Launch

Once your healthcare information technology software is ready to launch, it's crucial to have a quick run-through with all members involved in the hospital or clinic. Utilization takes steps, and carefully planning each phase allows for fewer incidents when using the new system as opposed to shipping out the tools all at once. 

Introduce the launching of the new system to each department to ensure that they can all make adjustments to the changes to prevent delays. Planning should also involve the software developers who created the healthcare information software to ensure that their emergency services and maintenance are on standby during the launch period.

Step 5: Ensure Continuous Monitoring and Improvement

With every new software system, it's important to take notes on what features or functionalities would need improvement. This monitoring process should account not only for the doctor's experience but also for the feedback of patients and other users of your programs.

Ironing out bugs while drafting more updates to the system is easier the more data a medical institution receives on its system. However, make sure to plan each phase out to prevent overloading the software and cause more issues than patching up potential risks.  In that regard, you can implement a CI/CD pipeline, which allows for continuous integration and delivery of updates to the healthcare information technology software.

This pipeline ensures that any code changes or improvements can be quickly tested, integrated, and deployed, minimizing disruption to the system. By continuously monitoring and improving the software, you can address any issues that arise promptly and enhance the user experience for both doctors and patients.

Challenges that Arise When Implementing Healthcare IT Solutions

Healthcare IT solutions are a complicated process that demands extensive care and management. There is no room for errors when dealing with the medical industry, as it has a strong potential to affect the health and well-being of your patients. Make an account of the various potential challenges that can arise when implementing a new healthcare IT solution to ensure that there are minimal risks involved. 

These are some challenges to look for that can arise when implementing healthcare IT solutions: 

Challenges that Arise When Implementing Healthcare IT Solutions

Resource Management

Developing a custom healthcare information technology system from scratch requires a lot of financial investments. Public health institutions may not be able to accommodate all the necessary components if they do not have the available resources to spare. It's essential that hospitals and clinics understand the limitations of their financial status before hiring a software developer to formulate healthcare software solutions.

Stakeholders can also drastically impact the quality of your medical institution's healthcare software solutions should they not provide or agree to where the development process is heading. Data analytics and reports can mitigate this potential challenge from occurring if there is sufficient information to prove that developing the healthcare system is manageable.

Compliance

Handling sensitive patient information requires extensive data security to ensure it does not leak. However, before software development can commence, health information management also involves passing through various government and industry regulations, such as HIPAA compliance and local laws. 

Always ensure that your software developers understand the standards set by the medical industry and the laws in place to ensure that the development process is smooth to prevent potential issues, penalties, or even lawsuits from occurring. 

Clinical Decision Support

A massive change in how a healthcare industry operates can be challenging for some. Taking the time to discuss the upcoming changes in how the current healthcare information technology will transition with each department and medical personnel is essential to ensure you receive the proper clinical decision support. 

Various healthcare facilities will also have to consider the extent of onboarding and training each personnel member on how to properly utilize the new healthcare technology to their advantage. An accountability act should also be considered to ensure that doctors and other medical professionals understand that a patient's health outcomes are at stake when using this new software system.

Patient Privacy

Data breaches and patient safety should always be the top priority of any healthcare facility. Managing the healthcare data of all individual patients is personal. It should be treated as big data that cannot be leaked to others if they do not provide consent. 

The use of health solutions in software development should account for protecting the rights and privacy of a patient's medical records at all times. This component is part of both patient care and health care. Managing the security of a patient's personal information should always be treated with the utmost respect and confidentiality.

Billing Processes

The billing process is one of the longest and most challenging aspects of managing patient care. Each itemized list should be inspected and calculated to ensure the patient receives the complete information for their bill. Having a healthcare IT solution that helps streamline each product used can help speed the lengthy process into a more manageable period.

Another factor to consider with billing is the inclusion and collaboration with various health insurances. Contacting and calculating discounts and insurance can be a complex challenge that smaller health infrastructures would have to manage. Collaborating with an insurance agent on the amount covered through a thorough IT solution makes communication and approval much faster than ever. 

Key Takeaway

Healthcare information technology is an essential component in today's digital age. Large population health management demands timeliness, responsiveness, and extensive security to ensure that every electronic medical record remains tightly contained and managed.

Careful decision-making is important to ensure that the healthcare system in place can improve patient outcomes and experiences to streamline medical care and treatment. Overall, better development and implementation of healthcare information technology can reduce the risk of human errors occurring while improving the lives of both patients and personnel involved.

If you want to learn more about healthcare information technology and its impact on the industry, contact us at [email protected] to learn more.  

The views expressed in this post are the writer's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Aloa or AloaLabs, LLC.

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