Sample Nursing Paper on Featherfall Medical Center: Health Technology Recommendations

Technological development at Featherfall Medical Center has violated various regulations on technology use. One of the main issues is that the technology currently in use at the facility is out of date and is also being used inappropriately. Besides making it difficult for the facility to meet the federal regulations on health technology use, the inappropriate use of technology at Featherfall has resulted in various ethical and operational challenges, which ought to be addressed. A report and recommendation is provided for the technology use improvement at the facility, beginning from a description of the historical progress in healthcare technology use. The objective of the recommendation is to encourage the efficient use of healthcare technology and compliance with regulations at Featherfall Medical Center. Healthcare technology not only improves productivity but also plays an essential role in the achievement of healthcare quality and patient safety goals in any healthcare organization.

Preparation for Consult

Key Historical Events

The massive breakthroughs in information and communication technologies require comprehensive and detailed knowledge and application of the tools in health care. The history of health informatics reveals the vast transformations that changed data processing. The first technology allowed professionals to perform operations without human involvement. The period between 1955 and 1965 permitted practitioners to use medical informatics to make independent decisions (Masic, 2013). An example is the development of the biomedical programs software that enhanced diagnosis through computerized laboratories. The tool allowed users to store data. The second-generation computers had new features such as high processing speed and helped in technological advancements in medical practice. The period between 1965 and 1975 enabled health care facilities to gain from automated data processing due to new micro-processing technologies (Masic, 2013). The third transition involved smaller transistors and improved memory processing capabilities. The fourth and fifth computing generations also indicated the demand for large scale integration of IT functions across health care facilities. The period between 1975 and 1985 led to extensive integration of information systems across all levels of healthcare organizations (Masic, 2013). From 1995 to present, new micro-processing capabilities and communication technologies have emerged and improved critical functions in care delivery. As such, innovations in the health sector will lean towards enhanced networking abilities. Organizations have the chance to improve the flow of accurate and timely information across departments and outside the facility.

Guidelines

Effective use of health information management requires an organization to standardize policies and ensure everyone understands the best ways to apply informatics. In this case, it is essential for the firm to ensure all departments coordinate their information processing activities (IHE International, 2015). Everything should align with the interests of all parties involved with the health information systems. The guidelines also indicate the need for practitioners to enhance efficiency and improve the quality of information across departments. In this case, everyone at the facility should understand the need for a migration from the manual practices to electronic information exchanges that improve service delivery (Zeng, Reynolds, & Sharp, 2009). Moreover, the guidelines specify the need for practitioners to maintain the best practice principles that allow them to operate in an integrated manner. Thus, everyone should be proactive in their practices and help the firm to identify an area for improvement.

Standard Technologies

One technology used in health informatics is medical practice management to improve administrative and clinical functions. The purpose of the technology is to automate all tasks, including the processing of patient information in line with the needs and expectations of clients (Heier, 2020). It therefore manages patient flows and helps to keep accurate records. The other technology used is an electronic health record that enhances the storage and documentation of patients’ information. It reduces the need for manual functions, consequently eliminating errors and saving information processing time. The various technologies used in health care indicate focus on improving the quality of care by concentrating more on care quality and health outcomes. The technologies also require organizations to find better and innovative ways that allow them to improve the efficiency of administrative and clinical processes. Thus, Featherfall Medical Center has a chance to streamline its functions by integrating health information systems and improving communication between departments.

Roles

The roles fall under categories such as the electronic health records expert, a systems analyst, data quality managers, and the chief information officer. They should ensure all the technology implemented runs well in the firm. As such, the identified groups are responsible for coordinating their efforts to improve reporting and have a better understanding of the flow of information (Heier, 2020). They also ensure that the various departments maintain an accurate and efficient exchange of information. Therefore, constant collaboration is crucial for the company to enhance communication skills and ensure everyone becomes involved in problem-solving functions. Moreover, the parties are aware of the need to be adaptable and responsive to the demands in the industry.

Evaluation

One consideration in the technology evaluation process is the clarification of the problem that a specific information technology solves. It is necessary to facilitate a shared vision where departments focus on improving efficiency in line with the rules and regulations. The shared vision supports consensus across departments such that everyone is aware of their contribution to organizational success. The buy-in from managers, administrative staff, nurses, and other parties elicit commitment towards evidence-based practices that involve coordination of efforts (Cresswell, Bates & Sheikh, 2013). Equally, discussions on the effective use of informatics should be patient-centered to enhance convergence between a firm’s practices and compliance. Training of staff is also crucial at this point since it keeps everyone aware of the expectations of the company and their obligations to promoting consistent quality (Cresswell et al., 2013). In this case, the training should focus more on an integrated approach to create a functional working environment. As such, everyone will realize the need for an efficient flow of timely, accurate, and adequate information. Therefore, the solution for Featherfall Medical Center is to ensure that everyone reads from the same page through consistent training and regular evaluation of progress. Equally, the firm needs to choose systems that fit the purpose of the whole organization.

Health Regulations and Laws Ramifications

Finances

The nature of the business being run by Featherfall Medical Center requires the handling of large amounts of data of its patients. Therefore, clinical officers are obligated by law to follow set guidelines on patient information confidentiality, failure to which they are liable to face various penalties (HealthIT.gov, 2015; Snell, 2016). Notably, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides compliance regulations that each healthcare worker and institution is supposed to observe in terms of physical, technical, and administrative safeguards.

If the medical center experiences cases of system breaches due to poor management and implementation of security systems, they will violate the HIPAA Rules. Notably, the Act, on technical safeguards, calls for frequent updating of firewalls and the use of data encryption to prevent hacking (Snell, 2016; HIPAA Journal, 2018). As such, Featherfall Medical Center may be financially penalized for failing to exercise reasonable due diligence and may be fined a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $1.5million annually, depending on the extent of the infringement.

Moreover, the penalties imposed on the medical center may be hefty, forcing it to go bankrupt. Depending on the nature of the violation, the amount slapped on the organization may eat up on its profits and investments. Also, the facility may be required to pay up its investors, which would cause the institution to sink into a financial morass.

Daily Operations

Employee training is a vital component in ensuring that each worker is conversant with the type of technology in use. Therefore, Featherfall Medical Center should conduct frequent training on its staff on the medical practice management and electronic health records (EHR) systems being used in the company to ensure that they do not make any errors (HealthIT.gov., 2015). Also, the facility should ensure that these technologies are up-to-date and are working efficiently, failure to which could lead to a violation of the laws and regulations governing technology.

Notably, the medical staff at the institution may not be conversant with how the EHR systems work or how to update it, and this may lead to medical errors and a leak of sensitive patient medical information to third parties due to the use of outdated systems that easily fail. Such negligence may result in legal suits filed by the affected parties for breach of information privacy. Subsequently, prolonged battles in courts and termination of staff may interrupt the normal operations in the facility.

Security

The rise of medical technology like EHR has attracted an increased number of identity theft cases in healthcare institutions. As such, HIPAA is clear on security management and incident procedures that should be taken to ensure the protection of medical records (Snell, 2016). Therefore, failure of Featherfall Medical Center management to set up antivirus software and intrusion detection software on their electronic devices can lead to hacking, modifying, and selling of patient medical data. Notably, this information can be used to threaten and discriminate involved parties whose details are revealed to the public domain. Additionally, the maliciously adjusted records could lead to medical errors like providing the wrong treatment procedures to patients, conducting wrong surgeries, and giving the wrong prescriptions. It could take a while before the effects of the breach are realized by the facility and, if not resolved, could lead to loss of lives.

On the other hand, the security of health data may be affected in terms of the availability and integrity of information. In case of a system breach, it might be hard to distinguish which kinds of records are accurate and those that are not (Bowie, 2018). As such, the institution may end up using a lot of time and resources to help retrieve deleted or corrupted data.

Technology System Recommendations

Needs Assessment

The adoption of information systems by health organizations has played a significant role in the improvement of service delivery. Technological advancement has seen health organizations computerize most of their functions to ensure smooth communication between staff and departments in the hospitals, improve documentation, and attain data storage. A hospital management system should be easily manageable, offer scalability, guarantee data security, and conform to the ethical and governance standards. Thus, to choose between Admission Discharge and Transfer (ADT) and SOA Expressway for Healthcare (SOA) systems, a needs analysis has to be conducted for Featherfall Medical Center, including an assessment of how monitoring will be done, and the levels of training that will be required.

For Featherfall Medical Center, the system should have a patient module that processes patient information such as registering patients, maintaining health records, and providing access to the stored records  by different departments, among many others. The system should also have a different module that focuses on administration. This module is equally important as it ensures faster and efficient service delivery. It should expertly handle administration activities such as patient and operation assignment and scheduling of surgeries and rooms. It should also generate reports, coordinate appointments, manage human resources, process payment, handle inventory, and manage assets. The doctors/staff module is also equally important as it provides information such as doctor’s availability, prescriptions, and documentation of the patient health status. Thus, the administration, patients, and staff modules ensure a system guarantees faster service delivery, transparency, accurate reports, and efficient data management systems.

Technology Recommendation

The Alert (Admission Discharge and Transfer [ADT]) is the complete system recommended for Featherfall Medical Center upon consideration of the functional requirements described. ADT is superior to Intel (SOA Expressway for Healthcare) because of the notification system during patient discharge and admission. The evaluation also noted that ADT is scalable and guarantees storage of large chunks of data considering that it supports relational database management systems such as Oracle and MySQL (Byrum et al. 2020). SOA Expressway for Healthcare also lacked the automated insurance verification future, but it is customizable on the alert system. This feature could reduce service delivery time. Both systems are secure and provide an audit trail, security features, and access controls. However, the support of RDBMS by the ADT system added another layer of security considering the features offered by these database management systems in terms of security and backups. The support of the RDBMS makes the ADT system the best option when it comes to the management of health information.

Regulations and Laws

ADT has a high rating and the next release abides by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), created to streamline the flow of healthcare information and provide guidelines on how a healthcare organization should protect the information from fraud and theft. The core objective of using healthcare technology such as ADT is to ensure compliance with regulations such as HIPAA, and the technology has to be able to support the privacy requirements stipulated by the regulation. Considering the efficiency of use and relational data management capacity provided by ADT, the system will help steer the organization towards compliance with HIPAA due to deviation from the current manual and inefficient technological operations that are prone to error and characterized with various ethical concerns.

Staff

The implementation of the system can be hectic since the organization is operational. To ensure that it is implemented effectively, the firm should divide the staff into groups for purposes of training. The grouping will ensure the organization functions are not affected during setup since one faction will attend the training while others continue working. When all staff are trained and have interacted with the system, the go-live date can be decided and should be preferably at the beginning of a financial year. Proper staff training will ensure a smooth transition from the old system to the new one. The needs of different staff categories in the organization will be met by the system. ADT provides capacity for physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers to communicate seamlessly during patient transfer and discharge. Thus, it reduces the load of paperwork among all healthcare professionals, and improves the efficiency of patient handling and discharge management and planning.

Ethical Impacts

Information privacy in healthcare management is one of the major concerns in healthcare facilities. Healthcare technology therefore gives organizations the capacity to address major ethical concerns in healthcare information management. McBride et al. (2018) describe these concerns including system implementation, data inaccuracies, security breaches and privacy and confidentiality. With ADT, concerns around system implementation are eliminated before initializing the system use as it is easy to implement and train the users on how to incorporate it into day to day operations. Concerns around data inaccuracies are more common in the current manual system where the data accuracy depends on the healthcare practitioner or personnel handling a particular patient at a time. With ADT, patient data both on transfers and discharges is available to all the relevant users at all times, making it easy for any data inaccuracies and discrepancies to be noticed and rectified. Similarly, issues of security breaches and privacy are effectively addressed in the system. According to Robertson (2011), privacy and confidentiality is the main focus of HIPAA, and any system that can effectively address the issues of security and privacy complies with the act. ADT enables the achievement of security and privacy objectives as the rating has indicated its compliance with HIPAA.

Financial Resources

The organization will be better off procuring the Alert system because its overall cost is low as compared to the Intel system. The alert system also takes care of scalability, which can avoid incurring further costs when the organization’s data grows to substantial levels. The current number of clients using the system is also low, which guarantees faster support considering that the number of support calls will also be relatively low. The inbuilt notification systems will also reduce the need to add another information system to handle interdepartmental communications regarding admission and discharge, therefore, saving cost. Thus, the ADT system is ideal as it addresses financial constraints related to operational feasibility.

Monitoring

Monitoring the use of the recommended health system would not pose any challenges as it has an inbuilt audit trail and security controls. The audit trail can track usage effectively and assess security concerns in case of any breaches. The security controls and authorization guiding the data accessible to different user groups also ensure the protection of personal information from access by unauthorized users. The ability of the system to print relevant reports periodically can also be used to track usage of the system (Hochgesang et al. 2017). Thus, the recommended system has inbuilt features that will make it is for the firm to monitor most of the activities.

Time

Time allocation to the implementation of the system will be most important during staff training. It is recommended that the staff at Featherfall Medical Center be trained on the use of the system at least one month before the official go-live time for the system. This will give all the users of the system time not only to learn but also to get used to it. This training can be coupled with more optimized rotational work planning to ensure that there is no interference with the work schedules of those undergoing training. Upon implementation of the ADT system, its use will be part of the general healthcare recording and communications operations at the facility, and it is expected that having delivered the right training, the use of ADT will be time-saving for the healthcare personnel involved in the healthcare process.

Conclusion

The choice of the information system to be implemented in a hospital is heavily dependent on the way of operation and the size of the hospitals as these metrics determine the amount of data the system will be processing. It is also essential to consider if the system conforms to all the health regulations and laws. The system should also have controls, provide reports, and be user friendly to ensure the customer easily interacts with the system. If these requirements are carefully taken into consideration, the organization can save costs and improve service delivery. The ADT system recommended for Featherfall Medical Center satisfies these conditions, is up to date, and complies with the HIPAA requirements for patient safety. It is therefore a system that will help Featherfall attain cost effectiveness while also ensuring that the care quality and patient safety objectives are met.

References

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McBride, S., Tietze, M., Robichaux, C., Stokes, L., & Weber, E. (2018). Identifying and addressing ethical issues with use of electronic health records. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 23(1). https://ojin.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Vol-23-2018/No1-Jan-2018/Identifying-and-Addressing-Ethical-Issues-EHR.html

Robertson, K. (2011). Mindful use of health information technology. Virtual Mentor, 13(3), 193-196. https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/mindful-use-health-information-technology/2011-03

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