Management of healthcare information is crucial in the provision of quality healthcare. Healthcare providers are increasingly identifying the field as a profession on its own. There are many tasks and obligations for a professional on this field. These include collecting, storing, retrieving and managing health data for the facilitation of patient care. All these procedures ought to comply with the regulations of healthcare practice and at the same time establish an effective routine for optimum operational effectiveness. This paper analyzes Sutter Health protocols and strategy in the management of healthcare information systems. The analysis will focus on the organizations’ information compliance procedures and their operational impact in the quest of providing quality patient care
Sutter Health refers to a network system of healthcare service providers based in Seattle, Washington. Having worked with the organization for a while now, I have learned a lot from its operational procedures. As a non-profit firm, Sutter Health is driven by the passion for providing excellent patient care for all. Currently, Sutter Health network operates across several states in the US. They include Colorado, Texas, California, and Washington among many others. The organization’s healthcare information management systems have been critical for its success. This is because operating as a network needs high intervention and proper coordination of information systems in order to realize the set objectives. For this reason, Sutter Health has initiated adaptive information protocols in its operations for the benefit of the society as well as the organization itself.
Sutter Health operates under strict procedures especially in the management of health information. The organization hires the most competent personnel to assure that healthcare information is well managed for real-time healthcare delivery. Critical decisions on the information system governance are also well handled in the organization’s setting and disciplines. Although there are challenges that Sutter Health has encountered, the management always take appropriate action on them. The task to act on well documented information for the benefit of Sutter Health remains a responsibility of every associated party. The organization has stipulated measures that are clear enough for all stakeholders to comply with when it comes to its operation procedures. The organization’s Healthcare Information Management and Systems (HIMS) carries the obligation to coordinate its information welfare. However, it is never the role or responsibility of a singular as everyone has a role to play (Burke & Weill, 2011).
Sutter’s (HIMS) department is headed by the chief director of information systems. Among the key responsibilities of this head as defined by the (HIMS) is to make sure that management of the organizations information resources is carried out in accordance with expectations. The chief director delegates duties to junior staff in a flexible bureaucracy that allows the effective functioning of the organization’s operations. However, there is a close supervision on every functional unit to ensure that information officers comply with the organizational stipulations. The Sutter Health (HIMS) office organizes the collection of patient information, as well as the storage and retrieval of this information through the help of technological devices. Moreover, the department deals with information procedures in relation to research, medico-legal issues, planning and evaluation of the organization healthcare practice. An observation of protocol is strict even at the lower levels of information management. Outside parties are well connected to the organization through effective and comprehensive communication mechanisms.
Sutter Health practices information compliance routine across all the states in which it operates. Even though regional regulations are somewhat uniform across the US, Sutter Health is committed to all legal requirements and every minute compliance procedures. As a member of the American Health Information Management Association – AHIMA, Sutter Health is deeply committed to its health information management systems goal. For instance, the organization's information system is coordinated to ensure that there are no disclosures of patient’s health information to the public (Ball, Weaver & Kiel, 2012). Patient health records documentation follows specific guidelines given by the organizations healthcare system. Preventive and evaluation protocols are also followed to the wire. Sutter Health staff-patient observation, instructions and actions are not disclosed to third parties unless there is a permission to do so. Apart from the primary records, secondary records management follow suit to aid an equitable and professional delivery of healthcare.
Sutter Health has been able to execute its duties with a high degree of effectiveness. This has been made possible by well-coordinated healthcare information systems that fully comply with governing regulations. Information management is measured to meet different aspects that determine their quality. The first aspect is that of accuracy. Accuracy means correct and valid values. Sutter Health data information is collected with instruments that minimize the chances for an error occurrence. Accuracy also means dealing with real-time data that has not expired. Accessibility is another aspect (Brown, Stone & Patrick, 2009). Accessibility of information items makes them easily available for legal collection. Sutter Health records are always made available through online platforms to enable healthcare authorities access them at any time and execute them at their discretion
Another key aspect of information effectiveness is healthcare records is consistency. Consistency defines the accountability of information managers in the quest to provide reliable health information. When information gaps exist in a healthcare organization, the concerned parties are placed in jeopardizing situation. It is a breach of the professional code of conduct when information gaps are created intentionally. Sutter Health has done its level best to provide and maintain consistency when it comes to the provision of information to all its stakeholders.
This has hugely influenced organization’s operational effectiveness. Comprehensiveness of healthcare information is also critical. Comprehensiveness measures the extent to which data covers the entire scope as intended. The consistency and comprehensiveness of Sutter Health information management system steers the organization into the right direction of success.
Sutter Health has also managed to actualize effectiveness in its operation routine by explicitly defining different categories of healthcare information and subsequently disseminating it into properly defined information systems. Definition of information allows future data users to read and comprehend information and use the information as per the correct intentions. Lack of definition always result into misappropriations and Sutter Health has closely taken care of this aspect. The effectiveness of Sutter Health operations has also been made possible by keeping all the relevant data information that is helpful in execution of duties. No data is considered wasteful, and all of it is kept for future use or reference. In different departmental units, information granularity is attained. Challenges associated with information systems are identified and attended to ensure that the organization functions efficiently and effectively as possible.
Current Healthcare Trends
The healthcare sector is characterized by trends that change almost on a daily basis .Most of the changes are as a result of technological advancement as well as the changing nature of health and diseases. The ever-changing human environment creates new conditions where healthcare has to adapt or otherwise fall behind in terms of effectiveness. For instance, civil education on preventive ways has recently become an alternative way of disease treatment. Health care providers have increasingly switched into educating the general public on necessary measures that they can take to protect themselves from contracting some types of diseases. Sutter Health has not lagged behind in regards to this trend (Glandon, Smaltz & Slovensky, 2014). The organization has utilized technological tools such as the internet to reach the public and educate them on health behaviors. The other current trend across healthcare providers is the issue of insurance. Sutter Health has appropriately responded to new healthcare insurance regulations to ensure that its provision of services and patient care is in accordance with the existing health insurance regulations. =
It is evident that current trends in healthcare have a recognizable impact on the functions of health care providers. For Sutter Health, the issue of civil education has had a positive impact. It has enabled the organization to disseminate relevant health education to the huge amount of population that the organization serves. Sutter Health uses technology tools such as the internet as well as other tools to teach the public on healthy eating, physical exercises among other routines that keep the human body fit and healthy. For example, the organization has ventured into mobile technology whereby smart phone users can install an application on their phones that allows them to access healthy information easily. Although such ventures are not pocket-friendly, the investment is totally worth it (Saleem et al., 2012). Health insurance has also had its share of impact. Sutter Health has incorporated healthcare insurance systems into its health care provision by collaborating with insurance providers and the federal government. This has improved the operation of the organization as patients no longer have inconveniences when it comes to meeting healthcare bills.
In conclusion, it is no doubt that adequate healthcare information system management helps to ease the operational difficulties that characterize the healthcare sector. Health care providers have effectively initiated information management systems that greatly aid in the delivery of quality service. Sutter Health is an example of an organization that has implemented an effective health care management system. The organization has exhibited great commitment towards providing quality health care through its comprehensive information management system. At Sutter Health, specific departmental units function in response to a well-coordinated information system that unites all parties and that enables them to forge forwards towards a common objective. In simple terms, effective health care information system management is the way to go if healthcare outcomes are to be improved on general scale.
Ball, M. J., Weaver, C. A., & Kiel, J. M. (2012). Healthcare information management systems: Cases, strategies, and solutions. New York: Springer.
Brown, G. D., Stone, T., & Patrick, T. B. (2009). Strategic management of information systems in healthcare. Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.
Burke, L., & Weill, B. (2011). Information technology for the health professions(3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Glandon, G. L., Smaltz, D. H., & Slovensky, D. J. (2014). Information systems for healthcare management.
Saleem, N., Jones, D. R., Tran, H. V., & Moses, B. (2012). Forming Design Teams to Develop Healthcare Information Systems. Hospital Topics, 7, 21-57. doi:10.3200/HTPS.84.1.22-31