Health care information systems have been evolving since their inception in the 1950s with advances in the use of computers. Beginning in the 1950s with the computation of dental projects by the National Bureau of standards, and the use deployment of MEDLINE some 25 years afterwards the use of Health care information systems has grown tremendously over the years. Today, health information system has a wide range of applications in the health care industry.
Today, we talk about electronic health record which is used to electronically manage the health record of patients, to computerized provider order entry which is an electronic medication ordering and fulfilling system. Moreover, Clinical decision support system is also another area that provides real-time diagnostic and treatment recommendations. Also, Picture archiving and communications system is used to manage diagnostic and radiological images with a view to both storage, and dissemination of such pictures to appropriate departments. Electronic materials management is used to track and manage the inventory of materials, including medical supplies and drugs.
According to the 2011 Health technology outlook survey, top priorities of Health Information system include automated patient follow-up application, communication and workflow integration into Healthcare Information systems and automated patient appointment application. Others include multimodal (including voice, video and text) collaboration and Effective use of social media to communicate better and market services.
Communication and workflow integration into healthcare information systems is one of the important priority areas in health information management today. One of the applications of this is the computerized physician order entry. Traditionally, physicians have had to verbally dictate instructions for the care of patients to other ancillary staff. This may lead to errors as a result of bad handwriting or transcription errors. This may have dire consequences on in the care of patient. This problem is set to be eradicated by the implementation of computerized order entry by the physician. The physician electronically enters the instructions on the computer system and such is communicated over the computer network to other medical staff and other departments responsible for carrying out the order.
Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (2004). Information Technology in Health Care. Report to The Congress: New Approaches In Medicare.
Avaya (2011). Healthcare Technology Outlook Survey HIMSS 2011 – Onsite for Avaya. Exhibit Surveys, Inc.