1. Why is data standardization so important in healthcare? Provide an example of a problem that may occur when this is ignored. Data standardization involves ensuring that the data recorded in health care facilities is uniform. Data standardization in healthcare is vital for a number of reasons. Firstly, it enables data to be exchanged electronically across entities internally or externally. Internal data exchange involves exchange of information within the same organization. This can be witnessed when different departments exchange information concerning a patient. External data exchange entails exchange of information between two healthcare facilities. Proper data management is only possible if all data entries have uniform features. Uniform formats ease data management in terms of data classification, storage and retrieval. Such efficiency in data management translates to streamlined management practices on an administrative level. It is vital for healthcare facilities t have the ability to retrieve data efficiently. This is especially because most employees in the health department use old data to study new ailment cases. For this reason, keeping records where they can be retrieved when relevant is key in the industry. Standardization of data also makes it possible to assess the performance of various healthcare facilities using the same criteria (Courtney, Shabestari & Kuo, 2013).
The absence of data standardization in healthcare can result to inefficiency in treating patients. It can also result in inefficient data management practices. If information is presented in a format not understandable by any employee in the healthcare system can result in mistreatment of a patient. This especially concerns handling patient information from healthcare archives. It can also lead to wastage of time that would have otherwise, been used to treat a patient in consulting. Redundancy of data and misclassification of information can result from having incomprehensible data. 2. Chapter 3 offered several reasons for central review of hardware and software standards. How else could central review assist the organization and what are some of the related challenges? The rate of technology application in various organizations has risen as compared to the past century. The healthcare sector is also incorporating the use of technology to improve its data handling practices. A central review of the standards that the employed hardware and software should possess is critical to this sector. Testing and review of hardware and software is done at different branches. The best out of the tested ones are then compared to each other centrally. This enables this sector to use the most efficient hardware and software in data management (Glandon et al, 2008).
A central review of these standards enables the industry to take advantage of the evolving technology and the information available. The various stakeholders are incorporated in setting these standards through their representatives. This ensures that the concerns and suggestions from different departments are considered. Such an approach reinforces the implementation of the set standards in different departments without resistance. A central review of software and hardware standards ensures that the technology adapted is cost efficient. Various stakeholders will be able to present their financial abilities in such a review forum. Such a system will result in the adoption of technology that is affordable and worth the financial resources invested in it (Glandon et al, 2008).
The healthcare sector manages information that is confidential. If a security breach concerning the information occurs, dire consequences would follow. A central standards review process ensures that the hardware and software used cannot be hacked by unauthorized individuals. A central review will ensure that the software used is in line with the policies regarding patient confidentiality rights.
A central review forum can be challenging because of the involvement of other professionals whose specialty is not in the health department. This includes information technology professionals. Coordinating them to work with doctors and board members in the healthcare sector may pose a challenge. Finding hardware and software tangible with the operations in healthcare facilities may be a challenge for information technology professionals as it is still a new concept (Glandon et al, 2008).
3. What are your opinions on end-user computing? What are its’ advantages and disadvantages?
End-user computing enables users who do not have skills in the coding of technology to create their own applications. These applications are able to fulfill the users’ needs according to their needs. There are a number of responsibilities that come with end-user computing. These include; operations, security, integrity, documentation and justification by the end users. Responsibilities for the information services include; innovating future technology, training, consulting, support and evaluation. Projects end-users can be involved in include; changeable domains, non safety-critical, short development cycle and small systems. End-user computing is an advance in technology that should be applied in organizations to increase their productivity (Mahmood, 2007).
There are various advantages associated with end-user computing. End-user computing allows for innovativeness and creative use of the information systems. It also overcomes backlog. It achieves this by availing systems that information systems do not have the capacity to do. The users gain access to systems that are tailored to their needs. This makes conducting operations involving data handling easy and efficient (Mahmood, 2007).
End-user computing generates competitive advantage. This is because organizations can use this computing to come up with new ways whose efficiency is high. Such innovations can attract high revenue if they are sold to other organizations. The resulting high efficiency and revenue increase the competitive advantage of institutions (Mahmood, 2007).
The users are able to have more access to information that is relevant to their tasks. End-user computing also creates space for a variety of available applications. This computing mode increases the users’ awareness of information systems. Lastly, end-user computing empowers other people to create their own applications. This relieves IT professionals from a heavy workload (Mahmood, 2007). .
There are disadvantages associated with end-user computing. Firstly, inappropriate systems can be a product of end-user computing. Duplication is also common while using end-user computing. The users are distracted from their real jobs. The lack of attention to procedures can lead to courts disaster. Lastly, having different applications can cause problems while integrating systems in an organization (Mahmood, 2007).
What governance challenges do RHIOs present for healthcare organizations?
RHIOs work under the principal of administrative collaboration that is based on trust. In the past years, competition has been stiff between entities in the healthcare sector. It is hard for administrators in the healthcare sector to develop the required trust. This makes decisions concerning the sharing of information hard and stressful for the concerned organizations (Baldwin, 2006).
The concept of sharing information in the healthcare sector is new. This means that organizations involved should formulate policies with regard to information sharing. Formulation of policies is a long process that demands the attention of various stakeholders. This places this responsibility of coordination and management in the field of the governance structures in the organizations involved (Baldwin, 2006).
RHIOs bring extra costs to healthcare organizations. The information sharing strategy involves dealing with technology vendors. The attainment and installment of the relevant technology can be a costly venture. The operational costs for the data sharing program are also costly. This includes the costs of keeping the technology operational and recruiting staff to handle the technology in question. Existing employees may have to be trained on how to operate the technology that will be introduced in these organizations (Baldwin, 2006).
Financial benefits associated with sharing information may not be defined clearly. This will cause a problem for the involved stakeholders while carrying out a cost-benefit analysis of the program. For a program that has costs, this will pose a significant challenge for administrators (Baldwin, 2006).
Data sharing can lead to loss of work or a reduction in income in healthcare facilities. This will create management problems as budgets will have to be revised. For instance, redundant imaging and testing can be reduced because of streamlined data sharing. This can reduce costs for employers and health plans. However, specialists in healthcare facilities can experience loss of income (Baldwin, 2006).
Baldwin, F. D. (January 01, 2006). RHIOs. Healthcare Informatics : the Business Magazine for Information and Communication Systems, 23, 2.)
Courtney, K. L., Shabestari, O., & Kuo, A. (2013). Enabling Health and Healthcare through ICT. Amsterdam: IOS Press.
Glandon, G. L., Smaltz, D. H., Slovensky, D. J., Austin, C. J., Boxerman, S. B., & Association of University Programs in Health Administration. (2008). Austin and Boxerman's information systems for healthcare management. Chicago: Health Administration Press.
Mahmood, M. A. (2007). Contemporary issues in end user computing. Hershey, Pa: Idea Group Pub.