|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Information technologies Healthcare|
What is meaningful use when it comes to health information technology?
Health information technology is the application and the integration of information technology to various departments in the healthcare sector. Currently, the term meaningful use has been incorporated in health information technology. According to Chin and Sakuda (2012), meaningful use can be described as the process by which a particular health care facility adopts the method of electronic health records in its operations. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was formulated and included various provisions such as the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), which monitors the health situation of all organizations to improve health care quality, safety, and efficiency (Henricks, 2011). The ARRA has three definitions for meaningful use. The first definition describes meaningful use as the application of certified electronic health records in a meaningful manner such as e-prescribing. Secondly, meaningful use is defined as the use of approved electronic health record technology for the exchange of health information electronically to improve the quality of healthcare. Lastly, the ARRA defines meaningful use as the application of certified electronic health record technology to deliver clinical quality reporting and other measures available in a health organization (Chin & Sakuda, 2012).
The United States government has established three stages to help meet the definition of meaningful use. The first phase aims to obtain information electronically. The second stage expounds on the goals of the first phase, reports health information, and tracks critical conditions. The third stage aims at improving quality, health performance and outcomes, efficiency, and safety. Therefore, meaningful use is a set of rules and objectives that enable eligible professionals to incorporate electronic health record technology in the daily operation of the hospitals.
How and why is meaningful use vital in healthcare and health information technology?
Meaningful use is essential to laboratories, patients, and physicians in some ways. The utilization of an accredited electronic health technology in a clinical setting is significant in clinical patient care. In this case, electronic health record performs clinical functions such as results management, health information and data, decision supports, and order entry and support (Odekunle, 2016). Meaningful use enables medical information and record keeping of patient's data in the organization to be conducted in an orderly manner. Electronic health record allows patients to access various clinical information such as laboratory results and radiology results. The simple access to this information reduces incidences of redundancies and improves health care service quality. Moreover, the first stage of meaningful use protects from dangerous drug interactions and other medical errors. Clinical decisions such as those that focus on drug order entry help in the reduction of adverse drug effects and medical errors (Odekunle, 2016). Meaningful use of electronic health records has boosted healthcare financing through the development of healthcare cost accounting systems that enable proper monitoring of cash flow and other bills. The use of CDS tools has allowed an increase in adherence to clinical guidelines and adequate care. Researchers have tried to focus on how CDS tools can be utilized in various preventive services such as vaccine administration. Scholars have determined that the use of computerized physician reminders for hospitalized patients increased the application of pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations from zero to 50 percent (Menachemi & Collum, 2011). Form a societal perspective, adherence to the medical guidelines has enabled the public to maintain their health and reduce instances of disease outbreaks in the communities. The availability of the clinical decision tools (CDS) in an EHR system enables cross-referencing a patient allergy to a medication, provides the relevant information about a drug, and indicates alerts for drug interactions (Menachemi & Collum, 2011). Additionally, the computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems assist physicians to enter orders for drugs, laboratory tests, and physical therapy, among others. Poor penmanship of physicians that results in medical errors is minimized significantly by the computerization of the ordering system. For instance, studies from researchers on the effectiveness of CPOE and CDS indicate that 55 percent of medication errors can be reduced when using CPOE alone and 83 percent when both CDS and CPOE are combined (Menachemi & Collum, 2011). Meaningful use focuses on obtaining data electronically. The query system that is used to record patient's information and store in the digital stores can be used to identify patients who require unique clinical trials. For instance, the surveillance facility can help track patients via their visits to the health center. Moreover, the information saved in the digital stores can be used for clinical research by extracting the information directly from the electronic health record. For this case, meaningful use utilizing, obtaining, and saving data electronically eliminates the manual task of data extraction from paper medical records (Odekunle, 2016). The ability to record data online enables electronic health record systems to provide relevant information of underrepresented individuals in small and large surveys. Patient records also assist in reporting. A significant number of public and private health organizations have many reporting requirements to make in the local, state, and national level to boost patient quality, safety, and educate the public on critical matters (Odekunle, 2016). Combining electronic health record data and geographic information system can help to unravel patterns of disease illness and delivery of health care resources both on a community and on the regional level (Tomines, Readhead, Adam & Teutsch, 2013). In the administrative department of health care organization, meaningful use with the help of accredited electronic health record technology can be utilized to schedule hospital admissions and visits. Other roles include coordination of inpatient and outpatient procedures. Equally important, the availability of patient records in the facility's online system fastens the validation of patients insurance eligibility, reduced paperwork, and more timely payments (Odekunle, 2016).
Equally important, the meaningful use of electronic health records result in positive organizational performance. Electronic health record in inpatient and outpatient environments have led to increased revenue, cost averting, legal and regulatory compliance, and career satisfaction among health professionals (Menachemi & Collum, 2011). An increase in income mainly culminates from the ability of the EHR system to capture patient charges and reduce billing errors. Patient reminders regarding regular health visits also increase revenue. The ability to store patient information online and make it secure and available have helped health organizations to avert costs such as chart pull costs, buying of new paper files, increased utilization of tests, employee reduction, and decreased transcription costs (Menachemi & Collum, 2011). Meaningful use of electronic health records also reduces test redundancies and the need for printing hardcopy results to different providers. Costs related to chart pulls are also reduced due to the readily available patient information. Additionally, the existence of point-of-care documentation also minimizes transcription costs. Meaningful use of electronic health records can help coordinate patient care. The Patient's suffering from multiple chronic illnesses requires appropriate health care where doctors can communicate with each other regarding their patients without any challenges. Individuals with various conditions are likely to visit the clinician several times, receive home visits by health workers, and take a variety of prescriptions (Burton, Anderson, & Kues, 2004). The existence of web portals has enabled patients to communicate with their clinicians and request various services such as x-rays and laboratory test results, prescription refills, and scheduling of appointments (Snyder, Wu, Miller, Jensen, Bantug, & Wolff, 2011). The poor coordination of care can result in duplicate tests, unnecessary hospitalization, adverse drug reactions, and differing medical advice. Problems in poor health coordination have arisen due to the use of the paper-based system. Individuals who attended the joint IOM-Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy conference concurred that the use of paper materials to record and collect patient information among other activities was no favorable for quality care especially for patients with multiple chronic conditions. They argued that the system has high rates of retrieval and illegibility failures (Burton, Anderson, & Kues, 2004). For this case, the adoption and incorporation of meaningful use enable clinicians to treat people using various approaches and exchange patient information among themselves swiftly. The existence of such an integrated system allows the medical professionals to access all details regarding the health of the patient ranging from patient visits, clinical decisions, patient history, and among others.
How does the myriad of health information system support each other? Or do they?
The electronic health record is a broad concept that entails other systems embedded in it that enable the efficient delivery and coordination of healthcare systems. The programs such as CPOE, CDS, e prescribing, and reporting support each other to assist the clinicians to enter relevant data as well as execute decisions that are critical for the health of the patient. For instance, clinical decision support (CDS) enables a clinician to make relevant decisions regarding the health of the patient. Besides, the CDS provides the latest information about a drug, alerts for drug interactions, and cross-referencing a condition of a patient to a medication (Menachemi & Collum, 2011). The CDS can produce positive outcomes on its own; however, when combined with a CPOE the results are optimized to higher levels. The computerized order entry (CPOE) makes orders on the computer such as drug orders among others. For this case, the CDS depends on the results of the CPOE. What is entered by the CPOE enables the CDS to make the right choices and deliver optimum results. Therefore, these two systems are dependent and support each other. Telemedicine and telehealth are also two initiatives that assist each other to run efficiently. Telemedicine involves the utilization of electronic communications to offer clinical services to patients in different locations (The American Telemedicine Association, 2006). Telemedicine is closely associated with telehealth, which encompasses broader activities and technologies. Telemedicine and telehealth rely on electronic health records to obtain the relevant information about clients. Telemedicine further relies on telehealth to accomplish its goals. Interoperability between health systems enables the goals of health information technology to be achieved. Both private and public sectors are working hard to improve healthcare by creating interoperable systems. Interoperable systems work together to ensure the set goals is met in an orderly manner. Interoperability between these systems is only achieved through the setting of particular data standards (Brooks, 2010). These rules enable computers to understand information from one end; hence, enhance the sharing process that allows systems to rely on each o...
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