Implementing a New Healthcare Information System

A medical technician talking to a nurse

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There takes a great deal of time, and much planning when implementing the process of selecting, and acquiring an information system (IS) in a healthcare organization. This process may vary from organization to organization but still remains highly crucial to the success of the organization.

Medical office professionals must be informed about the details prior to beginning the process of acquiring an information system, how the organization's goals drive the selection process, and the role each of the organization's stakeholders play in the selection and acquisition process.

Outsourcing or In-House IT Technicians

One of the first decisions is whether to choose between outsourcing the IS and/or to bring in IT (Information Technology) Technicians to work within the facility.

  • First: The considering organization must ask, “What expense are we willing to spend on implementing this new process and what are the benefits of each choice, outsourcing or in-house?” The answers from these two questions will help guide the organization into the correct direction of implementing a new information system.
  • Second: Goals should be set as to what is wanted and needed out of this new information system. The list should include the goals of employees individually and as a whole, the goals of the front office, the goals of the back office, all participating physicians, and the goals needed to achieve patient satisfaction. These goals will set the tone for how the organization will drive its information system selection process.

The goals set within the organization will drive the selection process of implementing a new information system in multiple ways. Each organization functions differently from one another. This could include having more or fewer needs, having a greater or smaller number of patients, require different formats of systems and/or work off of one or multiple servers. These factors for choosing and implementing a healthcare information system will all play a role in the decision-making process of implementing a new information system.

Who Will Be Using the Information System?

The considering organization must decide who will be using each system and what requirements they will need to fulfill the duties as an employee and satisfy their patients at the same time. One can see that when choosing to implement an information system into a healthcare facility there are many factors to consider. For instance: the employees, the patients or anyone else who may be affiliated with the organization. Before making any decisions based upon a new information system ensure that goals have been set and are clearly understood by all parties involved. This will decrease any misunderstandings in the future.

Another important factor to consider when making this decision is the training of employees, the cost to train these employees and the capability of the employees to learn how to use the newly implemented information system.

HIPAA Compliance for Medical Information Systems

Last, but not least, make sure your medical office is HIPAA compliant. With the increased use of information technology in health care, your medical office must continue to find ways to maintain the security of the protected health information (PHI) of the patients they serve.

HIPAA security refers to establishing safeguards for PHI in an electronic format. This includes any information used, stored or transmitted electronically. Any facility defined by HIPAA as a covered entity has the responsibility to ensure the privacy and security of its patient’s information as well as maintaining the confidentiality of their PHI.

It is imperative that medical records remain confidential and cannot be accessed by people that do not have proper authorization. Disclosures made regarding a patient's protected health information (PHI) without their authorization is considered a violation of the Privacy Rule.

All healthcare providers have a responsibility to keep their staff trained and informed regarding HIPAA compliance. Whether intentional or accidental, unauthorized disclosure of PHI is considered a violation of HIPAA.

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