Clinical Information Systems
Inputs, Throughputs, and Outputs of the Clinical Information System in Use
When used for the administration of health services, the inputs of a clinical information system include information such as the patient’s name; contact information; clinic facilities, supplies and equipment; patient bills; and others. When used in clinical care, the inputs of a clinical information system include the patient’s vital signs, their medical history, observations regarding the patient’s condition, the diagnosis, and the treatment (Mishra et al., 2006). The throughput includes coding and decoding processes that transform data into a standardized or encrypted format (Mishra et al., 2006). Finally, the outputs include reports about a patient’s case or reports on patient statistics – for example, statistical information on a particular disease or demographic. As well, outputs can include reports on the clinic’s resources such as the availability of facilities and medical equipment and the schedules of physicians. Moreover, outputs can include patient forecasts such as “the optimal course of treatment in the short and long term” (“Data Mining,” n.d., p. 9) or the “clinical outcome trajectory for a patient” (“Data Mining,” n.d., p. 9). Still, system outputs can include alerts, an example of which would be a patient’s allergic reactions to a particular medication.
Where Data is Housed
Data in clinical information systems is stored in clinical data warehouses. Data warehouses are repositories where data is kept in a “subject oriented, integrated, time variant and non-volatile manner that facilitates decision support” (“Data Mining,” n.d., p. 8). These are capable of transforming data in a way that enables the easy and quick access of data. They also enable the user to quickly change the dimensions for filtering, sorting, or grouping data in reports. However, unlike other types of data warehouses, clinical data warehouses are much more complex to build and maintain. These data warehouses are stored in servers to which the computers within the medical facility are connected.
Who Enters the Data Used in Various Applications
For clinical information systems that are used for the administration of services, personnel such as those in charge of the facility’s supplies and equipment may enter data. The registrars and the medical facility’s management team may also enter data. When used in clinical care, nurse practitioners and physicians are usually the ones who enter data, although the laboratory technicians who perform the medical tests may also do so. When used in medical research then medical researchers or scientists enter data into the system. Finally, when used in education and training, the ones who enter data into the system include new health care professionals and current health care staff.
How the Integrity of the Data is Ensured
Data integrity can be ensured by implementing a cohesive and robust security policy. This policy defines the data and other system elements that must be protected, the degree of protection that needs to be implemented, and the users who will be allowed access to such data (Barrows & Clayton, 1996). This policy should be based on the users’ requirements for using the information system in accomplishing their tasks; on the items that need protection; and on the expected resources and motives of potential perpetrators. Moreover, the security policy should focus on user authentication; the physical security of the data center sites; the access control to system resources; the data ownership; the data protection policies; on building of security into the system; on the security of hard copy materials; on systems integrity; on user profiles; on legal and liability issues; on problem identification and resolution; on network security; on informed consent; and on the education of users (Barrows & Clayton, 1996).
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Mishra, S., Mishra, K. C. & Mishra, S. M. C. (2006). Medical informatics: An exploration.
Hyderabad, India: ICFAI Books.