Resume, Salary, and Other Employment Information About Health Information Technicians

What is a Health Information Technician?

Health information technician is the person responsible for performing all the health related tests and maintaining all the records of these tests. They have to present the results of these tests to the doctors so that the patient can be medicated accurately. Here we discuss the importance of the clinical laboratory technician resume and the tips for writing this kind of resume. When you are writing the health information technician resume, you need to include the details of any medical certifications or short-term nursing courses you have undertaken in the past. For working as a medical technician, you need to possess the corresponding educational qualifications and the necessary skills.

Where are these technicians required?

The job of medical technician is to organize the medical records of the patient. They ensure that all the forms are filled up properly, signed, etc. These healthcare assistants generally don’t have direct contact with patients. They work in the medical laboratories and perform the various tests including blood test, urine test, etc. They are also required in the hospitals or clinics those have their own medical labs for performing these tests. When working in hospitals, health technicians perform some other responsibilities along with the tests.

Qualification Required

Today we see that many health technicians working in the healthcare industry possess the associate degree in psychology, computer sciences, anatomy, or medical terminology. You can also undertake any laboratory course for working as a medical laboratory technician. Following are some important qualifications required for this position.

BS/MS in Medical technology
Experience in Clinical Laboratory
Experience in Molecular testing

Responsibilities of the Health Information Technician:

Any health information technician has to perform number of responsibilities. They transfer the complex information into the understandable and interesting form for the ordinary public. They have to collect the data from the lab technicians and organize the diagnosis report for treating each patient. Health technicians determine the insurance reimbursement with the use of the computer programs, analyze the data and tabulate it. These technicians work under the supervision of the health information administrator. Following are major job duties that a health information technician handles:

Get the specimens for performing chemical analysis
Perform the chemical tests of the body fluids like blood, urine, spinal fluid, etc., to determine the presence of affecting components
Set up and maintain the laboratory equipments
Examine the samples of the chemical tests
Perform medical research to find the treatment for curing the disease
Record the results of the tests and present them to the doctor whenever required

Salary Offered

The pay scale of the health care technicians can be categorized in 4 types. The below figures are according to the survey made in Unites States in 2008. Figures of current pay scales may vary from what is mentioned below.

Average Pay Scale – $20,440 to $50,060
Medium Pay Scale – $32, 960
Largest Pay Scale – $27, 920 to $34, 910
Highest Pay Scale – $43, 380 to $ 56, 320

Opportunities

Army recruits the medical technicians every year. These technicians are trained in routine laboratory tests under the supervision of the experienced professionals. After completion of the training and job proficiency, these technicians supervise the laboratory and may advance to more responsible position in the lab management.

Training

The duration of training for a medical technician may vary depending on the type of specialty and the organization applied in. The training of the health information technicians includes

Study of the Medical procedures in the laboratory
Study of human parasites and different illnesses
Lab administration and maintenance of records

There are very limited jobs in this field but because of the salaries offered to these health care professionals the career as a clinical laboratory technician is blooming rapidly.

Health Information: Coping With Stomach Ulcers

Do you suffer from ulcers?

If yes, what kind is it and how do you cope?

In American society where most people depend on junk food, ulcers can become a familiar and persistent health problem.

Some of these foods contain additives and chemicals that can become toxic in our bodies and so cause various health ailments including ulcers.

It is not surprising that most people depend on junk food.

Most people must have two or more jobs in order to survive.

So, they hardly have time to cook. They have no choice but to eat fast and junk foods most of the time.

One type of ulcer that some people suffer from is peptic ulcer.

Peptic ulcers, which are in the stomach and the duodenum (the first part of the intestine leading from the stomach) can occur at any age and affect both men and women.

Untreated, sufferers can look forward to a long siege with them. But today’s peptic ulcer sufferers have a brighter prospect for relief than did those of even a single generation ago.

There is now less than 1 chance in 18 that surgery will every be necessary and new medications act faster and better and offer more relief than ever before.

The warning sign of active ulcers you will most likely experience (if you get any warning at all) is a gnawing discomfort in the middle or upper abdomen that typically comes between meals or in the middle of the night.

Food or liquids, including antacids and milk, can provide some temporary relief, but milk might not be all that good a remedy since it stimulates production of hydrochloric acid and other digestive juices which further aggravates the pain.

Antacids blended from aluminum, calcium or magnesium salts, have long been the non prescription drugs most people quickly reach for to get relief from their stomach pains.

But, because antacids interfere with absorption of some medications, be sure to go over this with your doctor and get his approval.

You should never ignore any warning signs of ulcers. Ulcer complications are serious and in some cases can be life-threatening.

If paid from ulcers persists after more than 10 to 14 days of self-treatment or comes back when treatment ends, you should see your doctor.

The passing of blood through the bowels may be caused by some other problem, but it can also be an urgent warning of a bleeding ulcer.

Bleeding ulcers can cause anemia or, if the ulcer gets larger it may expand into a major blood vessel, a leak can turn into a hemorrhage, with only minutes available for life saving emergency treatment.

Ulcers can also perforate and may erode completely through the wall of the stomach or duodenum.

If this happens and the stomach’s contents flow into the abdominal cavity, severe infection can result. A perforated ulcer is an emergency that requires immediate surgery.

It has been determined that smoking doubles a person’s risk for ulcer disease.

Physicians and researches have found that ulcers heal a lot slower for smokers, and smokers also have a higher relapse rate.

And you’re definitely at risk for ulcers if you take aspirin and any of the other products containing aspirin.

High-dose Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Maproxen and Piroxicam are in wide use today for many conditions, especially to relive pain and swelling among the millions of people who have arthritis.

These medications can irritate the stomach’s lining and cause gastrointestinal bleeding.

Ulcers have frequently been the target for humor in describing the stereotypical aggressive, pressured, goal-or-career-oriented person.

But for those who have them, ulcers are certainly no laughing matter. Peptic ulcers strike 1 out of ever 50 Americans each year.

As research continues, there is now mounting evidence that something other than smoking, drinking, spicy meals, or a possible battle with the boss may be associated with ulcers.

It is now believed that ulcers are the result of a combination of conditions, the dynamics of which researchers don’t yet fully understand.

Hopefully, these health information and insights about ulcers will help you to cope with them and enable you suffer less.

Warmly,

I-key Benney, CEO

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Implications of Health Information Systems at an Organizational and Social Level

The health information system has gained a complexity that expands to several levels. What this article intends to tackle with concerns the series of the organizational and social implications which health informatics has upon external areas. Being an evolving field, health informatics requires technological development at multiple levels of abstraction and complexity. Hence, the issues of community-based health systems, virtual communities, and globalization are to be discussed within the range of this article.

The first aspect to be dealt with regards community-based health systems. This requires the conceiving of a community health information network which establishes the connection among healthcare stakeholders within a community or region. This integrated assemble of networking means ease not only the process of communication with patients, but also the exchange of clinical and financial information among multiple providers, employers, and related healthcare entities from a specific geographical area. An interactive research and communication tool, community-based health systems revolve around the implementation of a computerized patient record system at the level of a community or region.

Virtual communities constitute the second aspect related to the social implications of the health information system. They have the function of on-line support groups for both e-patients and e-caregivers. This concept of virtual communities is promoted as part of e-disease management programs developed by e-health companies. By means of them, consumers receive general information, data about medical research on specific diseases, and information regarding available products and services associated with these diseases. Psychological support is also provided by the patients that face the same condition. Virtual communities have at their core a virtual patient records database that functions on the basis of an integrated processing engine. This engine links the collection of patient-related information and expertise elements and delivers a unitary, well-classified and organized output under the form of a set of administrative and clinical information. This result can be retrieved, exchanged and disseminated by e-health providers for e-clinical decision making, e-control, analysis, e-diagnosis, e-treatment planning and evaluation.

The third social-organizational implication of a health information system resides in globalization. Within health informatics, this phenomenon implies viewing the world as a single community so that the virtual networks and e-health information services to be subordinated to the promotion of health and well-being. Globalization of e-healthcare requires effective use of resources at the individual, group, community, organizational and societal level. Many administrative and financial processes can be streamlined by e-health purchasers and providers by implementing global call centers and Internet-enabled transactional services. This way, a global exchange of data for scheduling, billing, shipping, ordering and purchasing healthcare products and services is promoted. Another benefit of the globalization of e-health system is that under-served urban, rural or remoter areas can receive high-quality services.

Health Education – The Key to a Healthy Life

Have you ever wondered why in spite of all your efforts you cannot stay absolutely fit and healthy, the way you have always dreamt to be? The answer is simple, due to our lack of knowledge about health and the human anatomy system. The more knowledge and understanding of the human anatomy we will have the easier it would be for us to remain healthy and fit.

According to a recent study, a vast majority of the American population are health illiterate. They either do not have enough health information or they are unable to interpret the available health information to control their health and maintain optimum fitness. It also showed, lack of information to be the most important factor contributing towards the majority deaths. Moreover, it was also determined that our illness are primarily a result of stress, food, environment, attitude, emotions or beliefs that triggers certain unhealthy behavior. So, to stay fit we need to refrain from such unhealthy behaviors and that can be distinguished only when there is enough information for us to differentiate between a healthy and harmful behavior. From this, the easiest and most important conclusion that we can arrive at is that we need more information about our health and the human anatomy.

Now, the second question is, do we really try to get enough health information? Today when the entire world is connected through the information highway on the internet it is really difficult to find a good reason for this lack of knowledge. Today more than 60% of the American adult population has access to the internet which is full of websites that would educate anyone about the details of health and human anatomy. There are even sites that provide you with anatomy animation that is both interesting and easier to understand the functioning of the human anatomy system. When medical students can use resources like this why don’t we spend some time looking at these things? Animations of cardiovascular system or the animated display of how our eye works would definitely help anyone to have a better understanding of the systems and accordingly modify their behavior to remain fit and healthy.

A basic idea of cardiac physiology can be highly effective in understanding the detail of the simultaneous pressure characteristics in the heart (left atrium and left ventricle) and the blood flow through the different blood vessels during a cardiac cycle. In this rising trend of cardiac failures and increasing heart problems a basic understanding of the cardiovascular system can definitely be a major help to maintain a healthy body.

We must understand staying healthy is not difficult, all it requires is a bit of understanding of the human anatomy, how the different systems within our body work and some information on how we can make them work even better. We should make it a point to cultivate healthy habits that would help us to obtain the maximum level of fitness.

Where is Your Health Information? Not Knowing Could Kill You!

Do you have a family doctor? How long have you been his/her patient? Do even they have a complete and comprehensive picture of your medical history going all the way back to birth? Not many do these days. Family doctors are hard to find and the result is that there isn’t really anyone at the helm of your healthcare. There isn’t that consistency that existed in the days of housecalls.

Of course, the day of the housecall has long since seen sunset, but if you’re not under the care of a G.P. (general practitioner), then who is making sure you get your annual physical? Who is plotting and planning to get those middle age tests looked after? And, who has ALL of your medical records.

These days, we are all in a hurry and in a society of global mobility, our records are being scattered hither and yon! The walk-in clinic you visited last week has a record of your prescription for that nasty chest cough. And the emergency room that you took your son to after that little soccer incident has the x-ray of his sprained ankle. But does anyone, anywhere have a record of everything … every treatment that has been undertaken … every medication …

In all, one million adults and 130,000 children in Ontario alone don’t have a family doctor. The OMA says the province needs 1,000 general practitioners now. (Hamilton Spectator Nov. 26, 2007) (This number grows exponentially when you look across North America … to a whopping 9.8 million!! – US Govt. Committee on Healthcare, Statistics -June, 2007). Government has, over the past few years, introduced a number of programs to provide more medical care especially to rural settings, but is it enough?

There’s too much room for error with numbers like this staring healthcare in the face … medical error that is! And medical errors cost money and lives!! People’s lives are permanently changed or even ended unnecessarily every day across North America due to the lack of essential information needed for doctors to make informed decisions about our care. The time for change is NOW!

But who needs to make the change exactly? Governments across North America and worldwide are recognizing the need and making funds available to improve communication capabilities in the medical industry. Medical practitionners have long-since noted a gap in the flow of information between facilities, private practices and healthcare providers of all sorts. All of these groups are thoughtfully and positively working toward change, but I would suggest that it is not their sole responsibility.

In fact, I would argue that responsibility is just as much that of the individual as it is their doctors’ and governments’.

So today’s order of business … where is your personal health information right now … right this minute? Do you have it neatly organized and typed on your computer or does only your doctor or medical practitioner know for sure? Maybe there’s a trail of prescriptions dating back to 1985 somewhere in your medicine cabinet?

Here’s the rub folks … you never know when you might need to know about yours or your family’s medical information! What if you’re on vacation thousands of miles from your doctor’s office or what if they’re just not available at the time? You just never know when your health information will be needed to help you or someone you love in a crisis?

Medical information technology is forefront in the new US administration’s mandate and your information is in their sights. Canada is working hard to implement a system for health communication as well. But their systems are still years away. What are you going to do in the meantime?

It’s up to you to take control! Do it! You have both the right and the responsibility to make sure that your health information is accurate, complete and current.

Bottom line … something is always better than nothing. Even if you just take a few minutes to write down life threatening conditions, a little of your medical history and what medications you take regularly, it’s better than leaving things to chance. Emergency contact information is also important in any personal health record so that healthcare providers can get in touch with someone who knows and cares about you. Keep your notes in your wallet and give a copy to someone who cares about you.

Better yet, make it as comprehensive as you possibly can. The more information you can provide, the less likely it is that an unnecessary medical mistake will affect your life!

It’s time for all of us to take responsibility for our own information in every area of our lives. How else can we really be sure the world has an accurate picture of who we really are?

Bias in Health Information: Understanding the Agendas

Writers of medical advice–including columnists, insurance companies, governmental agencies, medical organizations, drug companies and even practitioners–are all biased. They always have agendas. They all choose to write about certain topics and not others. They make choices about what to include in their articles, what to leave out and how to state their cases. They’re all self-serving. They all have something to “sell,” even when there is not an immediate cash-return.

Does that mean you should throw up your hands, say the hell with it, and never read or listen to another medical message? I don’t think so, but in order to derive value from these messages, you sure as heck better understand the agendas of the people who created them. Or as the psychologists say, if you want to understand a behavior, you need to figure out what motivated it. Let’s examine some advice-givers and their biases.

What motivates health columnists? Well, how about their continued employment, the needs of their publisher-employers, and the needs of the companies the publishers wish to attract as advertisers? It’s not hard to imagine there are some subtle and not-so-subtle influences and incentives at play in framing the subject-matter and slant of the articles. Certainly, it’s hard to attract the business of potential advertisers when you have written devastating critiques of their products.

Yet don’t infer that you should ignore what the health columnists have to say. They provide a wonderful service in discussing health issues, the business of medicine and its practice. I personally enjoy reading the health columns of that great medical publication, The Wall Street Journal. In fact, I still distribute to my patients an excellent article about medication-overuse headaches that Tara Parker-Pope, one of their columnists, wrote years ago.

One of the odder chapters in the business of medicine is that certain insurance companies have positioned themselves as providers of health advice, particularly those companies paid by employers to manage their medication-benefit plans. I won’t waste the reader’s time in building a case that insurance companies have agendas and conflicts-of-interest in providing such advice. This should be self-evident.

Governmental agencies like the National Institutes of Health provide medical information which is generally reliable and useful, but influenced by the agency’s understandable needs for self-promotion and self-preservation. The same holds true for medical organizations like the American Academy of Neurology (to which I belong) and big group-practices like the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic. The advice tendered by these medical organizations in their publications and web-pages is backed by their reputations, which they zealously protect. So you can be sure that the medical content is subjected to rigorous quality-control. And fortunately, although their messages are motivated by commercial needs, the linkages are obvious and easy for the consumer to take into account.

How about individual health practitioners? Giving advice is what they do for a living, so what’s the issue? Well, in the U.S., at least, there is a genuine “medical marketplace” where competition reigns supreme. So when you need help with your health, each practitioner (including me!) would like to make the short-list of advisers whose opinions you trust and value.

Let’s move on to the drug companies. In my opinion there is no medical information that is both as pervasive and biased as that created by drug companies. And in many cases the connection between the message and the drug company’s name has been obscured or hidden, so the consumer doesn’t even know to be wary.

I have written elsewhere about the comical turn of events in the “advice” that drug companies have provided to people with headaches. For many years the makers of sinus medications invested heavily in convincing people with headaches that most of them were due to sinus disease. But now that effective and lucrative drugs for migraine exist, companies are sinking even larger sums of money into the message that those headaches weren’t due to sinus conditions after all. Instead, they’ve been due to migraine. This vignette illustrates the hazard in allowing marketing departments of drug companies to diagnose one’s headaches.

Another hazard is in allowing drug companies to write the information-sheets that doctors hand patients at the ends of office visits. Every doctor gets buried in pamphlets that sales reps from drug companies leave at their offices. For years I actually looked at these things, trying to select the 30% that might be worth retaining and passing along to my patients. After a while, 30% seemed too optimistic, so I searched for the 20% that was worth keeping, and then the 10%…well, you get the idea. The pamphlets kept getting more biased and less useful. At one time the sales reps passed out some real gems that were genuinely helpful to patients and their families. But those days are gone.

So when it comes to medical advice, consider the source.

Protection of Health Information – HIPAA Risk Assessment

With the implementation of HIPAA Security Assessment, efficiency was promoted in the health care industry. Standardized electronic transactions were used to protect the privacy and security of health information. Business associates and covered entities maintain and transmit a set of standard in order to protect electronic health information. These covered entities include health care providers, government agencies involved in health records, health plans such as Medicare programs and health insurance insurers. With their help, organizations of all sizes and security expertise can better protect their health information.

The institutions are able to identify areas where security safeguards are needed to protect EPHI or existing security safeguards need to be improved. The first and foremost priority of health care providers all across the country is to get meaningful use, protect patient data and adhere to HIPAA. According to the recent reports, the need for meaningful use security assessment has been underscored. In order to safeguard the health information of the patients, Department of Health and Human Services has decided to take correct actions to implement policies and procedures. Organizations can take the guidance of security experts to meet the meaningful use in order to achieve and qualify for the incentives.

The team includes some of the health care industry’s leading experts with high qualification in HIPAA privacy and security rules and data protection. Institutions ranging from large integrated network to solo doctor practice, can take the service from the company’s specialized consulting committee. The team will review security infrastructure and current process and see if there is need for improvement. It will assess current HIPAA security compliance operation which includes physical site review of all facilities, vulnerabilities and safeguarding in place. Protected health information (PHI) inventory of electronic and other forms will be developed.

Existing security policies and procedures are evaluated in order to determine if they are sufficient to be effective. Security software and protocols are interrogated. Even physical computing environment is reviewed. The security standard for HIPAA comprises of preserving and maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of electronically stored health care information. Every health institution and organization should assess its security risk and HIPAA will charge severe penalties for violation with the security standard. With the help of risk analysis report, the organization takes suitable steps to lower the degree of risk present in the institution. HIPAA risk assessment can make you tension-free and help you cater to your patients’ needs!

Bias in Health Information: Understanding the Agendas

The medical environment has changed completely with the introduction of the internet and the proliferation of web sites offering free medical and healthcare information.

In today’s world, more and more patients are using the internet to search for information about their diseases and for the latest treatment options. In fact, according to a recent Harris Interactive survey, more than 100 million adults in the U.S. are using the internet to search for health information.

Gone are the days when patients passively accepted the treatment offered by their doctors. Today, patients are partners in the decision making about their health.

So, the obvious question is – How reliable is the medical information you find on these free medical web sites?

By the way, the fact that there are incredible free medical and healthcare information web sites on the internet doesn’t necessarily make it easy to find good information.

For example, if you just enter the term Breast Cancer into Google a total of 130 million sites come up. Obviously, no one is going to look at all those sites -in fact, most people rarely look beyond the sites listed on the front page or two.

As wonderful as the internet is as a resource, you must remember that there is a potential downside as well. In the healthcare market, just like in any other market, there are commercial entities trying to sell you a product. Some products may be legitimate but some may be scam cures just trying to take advantage of a cancer patient’s desperation.

And, since the internet is largely unregulated, there is little regulation of the marketing messages.

So here are five tips as you try to determine if the medical information web site you’re visiting is reliable or not:

1. What Is The Ending Of The Website Name?

There are a number of sources of medical information on the internet which tend to be more reliable and trustworthy. These sources are more likely to be universities, hospitals, government agencies, and major public health and health advocacy organizations such as a national cancer society.

The ending of the web site can give you a clue as to the source. For example, the ending:

.gov means that the source is a government agency;
.edu means that the source is a university or another educational institution;
.com means that the source is run privately and very well may be a commercial enterprise);
.org means that the source is a non-profit organization.

2. Who Is Responsible For The Site And What Is The Mission Of The Site?

Look to see if there is any information on who is responsible for the site and what the mission of the site is. On many web sites you’ll see a link, either at the top or bottom of the page, which says something like “About US” or “Who We Are”.

Click on the link and see what information you find.

3. Is The Medical Information Presented On The Site Scientific Or Anecdotal?

If medical information is presented on the web site then you should ask yourself is the information scientific or not. To be considered reliable, medical advances must be proven in scientific studies in which many patients are involved. Anecdotal studies of one patient’s response to a treatment are not considered to be reliable despite the fact that the stories may be extremely compelling. So, check out the web site. Are the medical facts presented as the results of documented studies or are anecdotal, undocumented stories of patients presented.

Also, check to see if references are presented if the results of studies are discussed. Are the studies from respected medical journals?

4. Who Are The Authors Of The Medical Information On The Site?

Check to see who the authors are. What are the credentials of the authors? If necessary, you can even search using the author’s names to see how well known they are in their fields.

5. How Up To Date Is The Medical Information?

Medicine is a rapidly changing field and you’ll want to make sure that the health information at the site you’re searching is updated frequently. If the information isn’t updated regularly, they you may not learn about the latest developments.

The internet provides wonderful opportunities for patients to find the latest and best healthcare information. Using these tips can help you make sure the information you find is reliable and trustworthy.

ONC EHR Study – Positive Trends in Health IT But Significant Opportunities Remain

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) completed and published a study earlier this year in the journal Health Affairs that found growing evidence of the benefits of health information technology. Note how the ONC carefully crafted their study conclusion. The term “growing evidence” speaks to the gap, which continues to exist to this very day, between larger health IT “leader” organizations (early adopters of health information technology (HIT)) and the small to medium sized medical practices who have recently adopted.

One of the authors of this study and past national coordinator for HIT Dr. David Blumenthal commented on the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of adoption and use of HIT the study revealed. The study also provided a higher level of awareness and understanding of what the problem areas are with HIT adoption that need to be addressed.

There is no question that there are many positive benefits of HIT to both physicians and patients including overall quality and efficiency of health care. The key to physicians and their teams realizing these benefits can be summarized in three-points:

Building awareness of successful implementation,
Reinforcing best practices and
Applying these learnings early in the adoption process.

Understanding the importance of this third point is critical to the short and long-term success of creating a solid HIT foundation – and greatly reduces errors in implementation that may result from insufficient consulting or functional trial and error.

An example of these challenges was shared in a recent physician testimonial found on a reputable software review site, which provides EHR software consulting.

Dr. Beth in private practice in June 2011 wrote:

“The system (EHR) was implemented about 2 months ago, and has brought our productivity down to about 40% of what it was with paper-based records. The system is obviously designed for billing and data mining, but falls very short when it comes to providing care to patients. It does not give physicians the tools needed to quickly review the medical history. It is dangerous to patients.”

It should be noted that the EHR platform this physician commented on was a robust, top-rated ONC-ATCB 2011-2012 certified EHR platform.

The most effective way to reduce the risk of duplicating what Dr. Beth experienced is to engage an unbiased health IT firm that will put physician practice workflows, specific expectations, and patient care first. Only by doing this can practices and HIT providers analyze and determine the solutions that will best meet the practice’s needs.

It is more efficient, effective, less expensive, and much less painful to adopt health IT correctly on the front-end than it is to fix physician or patient workflow issues on the back-end after implementation.

The ONC study reflected that HIT adoption is moving in a positive direction and a new balance of evidence between HIT “leader” organizations and smaller medical practices was found. The opportunity to further reduce or eliminate the gap all together still remains a work in progress for all involved.

Frank J.Rosello is CEO & Co-Founder of Environmental Intelligence LLC.

Environmental Intelligence LLC is a Complete Outsourced Health IT Company providing End-to-End meaningful physician workflows consulting, integration, and implementation in (EHR) Electronic Health Records and Practice Management to private and public medical practices and facilities differentiated by our experienced, physician driven administrative staff and dedicated IT team.

Clinical Information Technology

Defining Clinical Information Technology

Clinical information technology tools encompass a rather large and diverse set of applications. The release of the 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on patient safety, titled To Err is Human, focused most healthcare providers on software products that regularly impact care delivered by physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. These systems include electronic medical records, computerized practitioner order entry, pharmacy systems, medication administrations systems, and imaging storage and retrieval systems.

To foster patient safety and reduce medical errors, organizations implement a variety of clinical information technology tools to achieve specific results. These systems include applications that address accessibility of clinical patient information, medication management, and support the of the clinical decision-making processes.

Electronic Records of Patient Medical Information

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) form the basis of the movement to a paperless healthcare delivery and management system. Multiple definitions exist for EHRs and related items such as electronic medical records (EMRs). Experts differ on definitions. The Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a nonprofit association that brings together all stakeholders in healthcare information technology issues, defines EHRs as follows:

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a longitudinal electronic record of patient health information generated by one or more encounters in any care delivery setting. Included in this information are patient demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports. The EHR automates and streamlines the clinician’s workflow. The EHR has the ability to generate a complete record of a clinical patient encounter, as well as supporting other care-related activities directly or indirectly via interface–including evidence-based decision support, quality management, and outcomes reporting.

Personal health records (PHRs) are similar to EHRs, although they are usually referenced in this manner when they are in the possession of or owned by the consumer or patient.

Additionally, the continuity of care record (CCR) is defined as an electronic document standard for the summary of personal health information. Clinicians and patients can use it to help promote continuity of care, quality, and patient safety. The standard was developed jointly by the American Society of Testing and Materials International (ASTM), the Massachusetts Medical Society, HIMSS, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Internet Portals For Clinicians To Access Patient Data

Clinicians also access clinical information via Internet portals. These portals aggregate patient information from multiple data sources generated in a variety of care venues (e.g., hospital, clinic, physician’s office) and present it in a single-viewer application. Often,single sign-on and authentication is used to facilitate use and reduce the work flow burden on clinician users.

In addition, these portals use off-the-shelf Web technology, such as Internet browsers and the multitude of available plug-ins. This offers clinicians easy-to-use interfaces that are similar to applications commonly used by the general public. Utilizing familiar technology reduces the training necessary to use these systems and allows for personalization of the working environment. Customization of interfaces by users, allowing them to be personalized to the needs of the clinician, greatly facilitates clinician adoption.