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Technologies and Strategic Information Systems Plans essay
 
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Technologies and Strategic Information Systems Plans. Custom Technologies and Strategic Information Systems Plans Essay Writing Service || Technologies and Strategic Information Systems Plans Essay samples, help

Recent advancements in technology  have led to significant improvements in virtually all aspects of health care including its  quality, extent of impact on people’s lives,  safety levels, as well as  the opinion of the general public regarding a variety of health issues. Although the implementation of information systems and technologies into health care is a relatively new topic,  it is thought to be one of the most controversial issues. Today, all parties concerned advocate  wider implementation of innovative IT practices and policies. Among those who assert that the future of health care is inseparable from incorporation of sophisticated information systems and technologies are investors. The latter are  particularly interested given the fact that the ROI (return on investment) rates can be very high. There are several  problems to overcome though. IT systems designated for implementation into health care can be quite complex and expensive to operate, while an increasing use of state-of-the-art mobile devices, emerging viruses, and increased collaboration among people   may prevent some health care providers from launching innovative IT products. That said, the majority agree that the potential of IT systems is virtually limitless, so  whoever successfully implements them, is likely to outdo his competitors in the market.

The Impact of Technologies on Health Care

Information technology advancement has enabled population to have better access to useful data, most of which may be used in a greater variety of ways than before. Specifically,  modern doctors are in a privileged position since they enjoy  a unique opportunity to treat patients more effectively due to innovative tools they use that are based on the latest technological inventions and trends. As a result, nowadays, medical scholars and physicians  can gather, store, and process data more efficiently. Under these circumstances, if one looks at all  achievements of medical science and technology, he/she will expect the treatment of a high quality, safety of his personal data, and overall efficiency of the health care.

Although IT is still a relatively new trend in health care, it is paving  its way not only into expensive and complex therapies, but also into what can be regarded as more common medical procedures. As the world gradually becomes more and more digital, health care needs to adapt, and, in fact, it has already  adapted to the requirements of the digital age. Although it is not easy to successfully implement IT into health care, with many problems constantly threatening its integrity, it should be noted that both doctors and patients welcome  the opportunities that IT brings into medical science. Among these one may find  online prescription systems and help services, image processing, etc.

One of the things that has benefited the majority of  patients in the United States is the Electronic Medical Records System (EMRS). Large-scale studies have supported the validity and reliability of its use.  To illustrate, an extensive research was conducted in the Colorado and Northwest regions of the Kaiser Permanente consortium, where a million people were engaged in  a test of the new electronic system. After two years, both regions showed a decrease in age adjusted rates of office visits, while primary care visits dropped by eleven percent. In their turn,  specialty care visits decreased by  more than five percent. The system’s estimated net benefit after five years of use was more than $85,000 per provider. That sum  was  so high because the implementation of the Electronic Medical Records System allowed to  utilize radiology studies in a more effective manner, as well as it improved the process of capturing the charges, and decreased errors in billing and drug expenditures. Another study has demonstrated that implementation of an electronic system of medical records is a way to improve the overall efficiency by six percent per year. Besides, the application of such approach is highly unlikely to result  in unwanted admissions and tests. These findings were published by the US Veterans Health Administration (Clifford, Blaya, Hall-Clifford & Fraser, 2008).

It should be noted that developed countries benefit from IT innovations in health care exceeds that found in the third world countries.  Evidently, this may be attributed to the fact that the industrialized states can afford  implementation of the latest technologies with the aim to improve their health care systems. Indeed, the innovative approach  comes at a price since  the success-and-failure development part requires extensive funding along with the  tests of the final products and its subsequent improvement based on the data received.

In this context, less developed  countries can focus on implementing already existing technologies and systems, as opposed to covering the whole cycle of product’s life. This way information technology progress can  have a positive impact on   health care systems in developing countries too. Considering  the current state of health care in some developing countries, IT advancement can  bring a whole set of benefits to healthcare.  For instance, the aforementioned EMRS could revolutionize health care in countries with weaker economies (Littlejohns, Wyatt & Garvican, 2003).

The Top Three Threats to the Quality of Health Care Data

Unfortunately, with new technologies come new threats. Among these, there are three that need to be addressed immediately: threats coming from mobile devices, viruses, and increased collaboration between people.

Nowadays, a mobile phone has become “the new social”. The number of mobile devices that people use is increasing fast. Health care workers similarly to the rest of general public take advantage of cell phones, iPhones, iPads, etc. They use these  gadgets on a daily basis , however only a fraction of these devices are used solely for professional purposes. The same applies to network access. Although  electronic devices and the Internet can be used for good, they also present a major risk. To illustrate, according to the research  conducted by the Ponemon Institute,  81% of health care organizations store sensitive information on mobile devices (Rafalin, 2011). Half of respondents in another survey stressed that companies they work for did not take necessary measures to secure sensible data (Rafalin, 2011). With so many devices being stolen or lost, mobile devices have  become the major  threat. One of the recent cases was  exposure of more than four million patients’ records after a PC was stolen from Sutter Health in October, 2011. Possible solutions to the problem involve  network access control solutions that will identify different users and connected devices, scan them and give permissions accordingly (Merrill, 2011). Some solutions can erase data remotely after a device has been reported stolen or lost. Therefore, it is highly recommended that laptops and other devices inside hospitals should be secured by passwords. Staff should be trained by a cyber security specialist.

However, mobile devices are not the only kind of threat that can be regarded  an external one. Although it can do  harm through hospital employees’ actions, viruses are a more subtle threat which  exposes the data to corroboration. Malicious software can corrupt important data. It can leak important files and lead to the global exposure. In addition, it can make crucial parts of IT systems malfunction and even physically harm people. Possible solutions: Anti-virus and anti-spyware software should be installed . Proper security configurations on computers should help too. Ideally, a team of IT specialists who know how to deal with different kinds of malicious software and configure electronic devices should be available upon request.

That said, with the increased collaboration between people, even IT professionals can be helpless. Old grudges may lead to sabotage, yet they are not as common as human errors. People may  share a wrong document or unintentionally leak  some valuable information under a post on Facebook. Or one may lose a device with  important medical data. If this is an  iPhone or its prototype, the loss seems to be quite harmful in cases when an iPhone owner is a psychiatrist and has his patients’ videos recorded on the lost tablet. Possible solutions include avoidance of  sharing sensitive data and preventing it from being leaked. Medical staff should be aware of  what they store and where they  store it. Organizations should ensure they know how to react if anything gets lost, stolen or shared (in this situation, Plan B seems insufficient) . Organizations’ managers  should also instruct their employees regularly on security issues.

The Major Developments in the Evolution of Health Care Information Systems over the Next 20 Years

Technology is not concentrated at the point of care anymore. Instead, it has moved to the hands of patients. While its uses are manifold, one of its primary benefits is it helps to replace the patient-physician dialogue, where not enough  truth (and insufficient  relevant data) is revealed, with more reliable data stream. Moreover, people are encouraged to maintain their health and participate in their own treatment, as many electronic devices provide  useful information about particular health problems. Therefore, technology enables positive environmental and social changes. For example,  Kaiser Permanente has reported  five million visits delivered by means of Skype, telephone, and email. This is how a shift from a “point-of-service model” to the “patient-provider dialogue” happened (Mah & Guenther, 2011).

Billions are being spent on electronic health care systems. The latter are becoming easier in use, process  data faster, and produce better results. Security is another aspect  that needs to be improved. . Hackers, terrorists, and criminals will predictably continue  looking for security holes in electronic  systems, so medical providers must get better equipped for  protecting sensible data. The healthcare will definitely benefit from more technologically advanced devices being manufactured and installed, which will help  monitor and calculate all kinds of relevant data. To add,  better electronic record systems will ensure the process of filling forms is more user-friendly.

That said, one thing is highly unlikely to change. According to Jim Traficant (2012), the president of Harris Healthcare Solutions,

[…] No matter how amazing it is, the technology cannot replace the doctor. So as we continue to build a better healthcare system for the 21st century (and, yes, lower costs), our attitudes toward treatment must evolve as well.

This seems to be true.

The Basic Components of a Strategic Information System Plan

When  the process of strategic information system planning starts, the needs are identified first. This is done with the aim to  specify the goals. When a system is being developed, the process takes place with the purpose of achieving  a specific objective. This part is similar to strategic planning in management. It may as well be the most important step, as poorly performed initial analysis will ruin the project. Next, priorities need to be formalized, as well as objectives, and authorization. The so-called development plan identifies priorities for each project, allocates resources, states general procedures and possible constraints, and identifies projects for the future. If a person who reads the plan can understand the nature of each application and its position in the development queue, the plan is specific enough. Otherwise, it should be made more detailed. It should be noted that the plan should be flexible enough to account for a possible change of priorities if it ever occurs during the development cycle. Ideally, the plan’s structure ought to be continuously updated and approved. After the draft of our plan has been completed, it should be  revised  once again so that it gets  finalized.

Conclusion

Modern society lives  the age of technology. Similarly to numerous other areas, health care benefits from  the technological breakthroughs that have been witnessed  lately. Given this,  it stands to reason that the expansion of information systems and technologies into medical science is going to continue. Today, the society benefits from  powerful image processing tools and electronic record systems. In the immediate future, people will possibly  find themselves consulting with doctors via Google Hangouts on the data uploaded from various electronic devices. Thus, it is highly desirable that the systems used be  high-quality, safe, fast, and reliable. In order to achieve this, medical staff and patients have to  overcome some difficulties, like viruses and security holes in software. In addition, it has to be  made explicit  how to deal with human errors and protect information from being leaked in the world where more people have a mobile phone rather than a toothbrush (Hall, 2011). IT systems can be complex and expensive, yet  their potential is hard to overestimate. They may not replace real doctors any time soon, but they can become a tool that will make many people healthier. Therefore, innovations in the sphere of information technology for health care are welcome.

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