Day-to-day operations must remain focus as health care evolves

Health care providers have always depended heavily on technology to deliver the best possible patient outcomes while maximizing efficiency. This is perhaps most obvious in terms of health-specific tools, such as CAT scans, pacemakers and the like. However, it is important to recognize that IT changes, such as the rise of electronic health records, have proven equally important for the sector as a whole. Embracing and integrating digital solutions is a high-level priority for health care firms in both the public and private sectors. 

Yet this is easier said than done, as countless health care organizations have discovered. Clinical informatics is a complex subject with many key parts. Among the most important aspects of any successful approach to improving performance in this industry is maintaining a high-level focus on day-to-day operations.

Major challenges
The need for health care providers to upgrade their IT solutions is growing thanks to the fast-approaching deadlines for achieving Meaningful Use of EHR implementations. This is creating problems for countless health care providers, as industry expert Nolan Hennessee explained to Health IT Security.

"I think every organization is going through the growing pains, regardless of what stage they're in," said Hennessee, the news source reported. "When I think about it, the overarching mandate of the use of CPOE, Physician Documentation and for the quality measures to be populated electronically seem to be the most challenging."

"The move to digital records represents a major shift from the status quo."

There are a number of factors that pose problems for care providers in this area. For one thing, there's the simple fact that the move to digital records represents a major shift from the status quo that has existed for years. For physicians and other health practitioners, this is a difficult change to make, as it affects every aspect of their daily responsibilities. They may be resistant to new IT solutions that could disrupt their routines. 

There's also the issue of IT security. All health care organizations need to ensure that patient data remains fully protected at all times within the new formats and IT environments. Any missteps in this area can not only lead to a devastating and costly breach, but may also result in heavy fines and other sanctions for failing to comply with federal standards. 

It is also important to recognize that every health care organization will have its own unique requirements and ideal implementation of new IT infrastructure and solutions. As Hennessee told the source, this is not just a question of the care providers' sizes, but also the nature of the services they offer, their geographic location and more.

A unique approach
With all of these factors in play, it's easy to see why clinical and business informatics are so critical in the health care sector. With informatics, hospitals, research centers, nonprofits and other health care-related organizations can not only achieve compliance with Meaningful Use requirements and other IT mandates, but also maximize the value that these technologies have to offer. 

"Done correctly, an IT upgrade can have wide-ranging benefits."

The key is focusing on how the technology in question will impact personnel on a day-to-day basis. Any strategy for implementation and integration that does not take this into account will inevitably lead to inefficiencies, frustration and disappointing results. Done correctly, an IT upgrade can have wide-ranging benefits for the organization as a whole.

To achieve such an outcome, though, health care organizations, be they public or private, require the assistance of experts who fully understand health care IT and how it can and should be approached. These professionals must be able to recognize the challenges that any given deployment faces and then develop customized strategies that account for the unique aspects of both the technology and the organization.

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