The healthcare information technology has continued to develop each day with objectives to make the delivery of healthcare to patients easier, affordable and efficient. Researchers in this area have been coming up with interesting projects which have continued to revolutionize the delivery of healthcare in the United States. Similarly, the government through the ministry of Health has been issuing recommendations to healthcare providers and all other stakeholders to ensure effective and affordable healthcare is available is to all the citizens. Consumers who include patients have been able to make more informed choices in healthcare as well effective communication with other stakeholders.
Healing Hands Hospital among other healthcare facilities has had changes in their delivery of healthcare to patients as a result of changes in healthcare information technology. Electronic Health Records (EHR), remote healthcare delivery, and reimbursement models are some of the many issues that have been impacted by the healthcare information technology development (Eldestine, 2017). This report gives a comprehensive coverage of the impacts of health information technology and how it will impact the service delivery and financial issues at Healing Hands Hospital and other healthcare centers in the United States.
1) Electronic Health Records and Clinical Decisions Support
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) help physicians to track down the medical records of an individual within a short time. The technology which has been adopted in almost all medical centers including Healing Hands hospital enable correct diagnosis and treatment of patients. The EHRs is one of the major milestones in the healthcare industry which has helped to make service delivery in healthcare facilities effective (Eldestine, 2017). The interconnection of the data systems throughout healthcare institutions allows safe storage of data and quick retrieval which has is a step ahead of the paper file records and the electronic medical records which could not be accessed remotely and at the right time.
Clinical decisions support tools are used together with EHR to provide physicians with significant information regarding a patient that may not be available. The CDS provide facts of the patient’s clinical conditions that may not be hidden in electronic medical records or other systems that are not compatible (Sinha, 2010). The CDS also deliver suggestions based on the best practices that are evidence-based and which the clinician is deviating as recorded in the medical entries. Accurate alerts and delivered in the proper time is vital in the medical delivery services. EHR and CDS have the great impact on the reimbursement issues, and the growth of this technology will continue bringing changes in the health sectors. There following are some of the reimbursement advantages that have largely been affected by the growth of health information technology and will continue to influence the reimbursement issues in future.
- a) Reduction in Medical Errors
The presence integrated records, and clinical decisions support tools enable physicians to administer diagnosis and treatments correctly. This reduces the chances dangerous medications and misdiagnoses that can be catastrophic in nature. CDS are also valuable in detecting conditions that are deteriorating silently without the note of clinicians and provides alerts which can lead to earlier intervention (Ofri, 2016). These advantages have advantages on a reduction of costs in the hospitals. Managed care organizations, therefore, benefit a lot from the health information technology systems through effective use of resources. Healing Hands hospital and other healthcare institutions need to invest in this technology.
- b) Reducing duplicate and unnecessary testing
The other way the EHR and CDS are impacting and will impact the amount of money reimbursed to clients involves the reduction of tests done since the medical records already give enough details of the test already done and the clinical condition of the patient comprehensively. The use of CDS reduces costs and also has safety implications, and CMS has been working to ensure that Medicaid claims involving advanced diagnostic imaging to include a proof of involving CDS for reimbursement (Ofri, 2016). With these developments, the health information technology will become one of the major factors in the compensation claims, and health care centers like Healing Hands should invest in them.
- c) Reduction in Hospital Stay Length and Hospital-Acquired Conditions
Health insurance agencies are also recommending healthcare institutions to invest in health information technology to reduce the time patients stay in the hospital. Timely treatment reduces the medical costs with a wide margin (Ofri, 2016). Additionally, the incidences of hospital acquired diseases are reduced as the CDS reduce chances of medical errors that may lead to such conditions.
2) Big Data Analytics
Health information technology is receiving a major boost in the development of big data analytics technology. The technique on application allows free flow of data that is structured across health information exchange networks and healthcare systems. Some of the advantages at the department level include identifying the standards of workflow issues and how they can be corrected. It also identifies and quantifies workflow improvements old versus new equipment such MRI, angiography, and CT among others to justify on return-on-investments on capital replacements (Eldestine, 2017). Additionally, this analytics can regulate and create alerts on various medical procedures such as exam protocols, radiation dosages, and procedural times among others.
Data analytics today has become a major point of focus by Medicare and other health insurance agencies and likely get more intense in future. This technology offers a method of comparison on how one health center does a service or procures in the health system compared to another one to determine the most efficient one (Eldestine, 2017). This is largely contributed by the recent moves by Medicare to value-based payment from fee-for-service. Therefore, health insurances will tend to focus on the best strategies to diagnose an ailment or conduct a procedure in a manner that will save costs (Groves, 2016).
3) Interoperability and Scalability
Interoperability in the healthcare information technology refers to a free flow of information regarding a patient through a vendor, organizational, geographic and technology boundaries. That is, information flows across personal records, public and private health agencies and clinical research organizations (Daskalakis & Mantas, 2008). Over the past years, interoperability has been difficult to achieve due to many issues that surround the initiative such as technology and logistics among others. However, the information technology has developed eliminating most technological barriers that hinder most technological barriers that hinder interoperability in healthcare. Though the adoption of this technology has been slow, the proposals by Medicaid to introduce incentives to promote interoperability may set the stage for the future use of interoperability in many hospitals including Healing Hands. Regulations and requirements for reimbursement are also likely to be introduced by Medicare to ensure all healthcare agencies have interoperable systems for clinical efficiencies and effectiveness.
Scalability, on the other hand, involves the use of information technology in the health sector to improve the quality of services offered. The use of data analytics and EHR enables clinical agencies to offer to compete for services at lower costs efficiently. Medicare started reducing its IPPS base reimbursements to hospitals on issues that stem from poor scalability such as preventable readmissions (Sinha, 2010). This trend of cutting preventable readmissions will continue to improve, and hospitals such as Healing Hands hospital may be forced to pay for readmission costs in future. Healthcare facilities, therefore, need to invest more in information technology that will raise their levels of scalability.
4) Telemedicine and Tracking devices
Telemedicine is one of the health information technology innovations that is currently changing the delivery of healthcare services. Patients with difficulty in mobility can access medical services th0rough live videos with a physician (Eldestine, 2017). Healthcare agencies like Healing Hands should invest on this technology to ensure they eliminate some of the barriers patients face to get medical help. Telemedicine has continued to grow in popularity as Medicare is offering reimbursement models on the service. The future of telemedicine is likely to keep growing as technology keeps on advancing, and healthcare facilities with the technology will be at a vantage point in attracting more clients.
Tracking devices are other innovations in the health information technology. Elder people or kinds suffering from autism and Alzheimer’s disease are provided with real-time GPS tracking devices to help in their safety. Since 2010, Medicare has been covering this program which is major boost to the development of information technology in medicine. The initiative by the Medicare to cover reimbursements relating to IT health devices is powerful incentive for healthcare facilities to consider investing on technology.
The report has analyzed several trends in the healthcare information technology that are shaping service delivery and low costs. The new trends are also expected to impact reimbursement methods in future. Therefore, healthcare facilities like Healing Hands needs to invest more on the technology to enable delivery of quality services and widen the scope of the care to patients.