Digitizing Home Care Through Information Technology

Paper Info
Page count 13
Word count 2464
Read time 9 min
Topic Health
Type Report
Language 🇺🇸 US

Conway Regional Medical Center is a century old, medium-size hospital located in Conway, Arkansas. It is a154-bed facility offering a range of services, including Hospice, Obstetrics, Open Heart Surgery, and Home Care (“Conway regional Medical Center profile,” n.d.). In 2015, Conway Regional Medical Center sought to select a software package for its Home Health segment. It is the portion of health care provided in the patience’s residence, hence eliminating the need to travel to the hospital for routine procedures such as blood pressure, glucose level, and heart rate. This participatory arrangement allows patients to conduct these procedures using special devices allowing the results to be transmitted electronically to the hospital for processing (“Conway regional Medical Center profile,” n.d). The Home Care portion also has a Lifeline feature, allowing homebound patients to notify the hospital whenever they need assistance, by pressing a button. In short, the Home Care department is a true representation of a digital firm that could benefit immensely from information systems.

Problem Definition

Management information systems seek to solve a problem in an organization. It is thus unsurprising that the first stage in the Systems Life Cycle takes a definitive approach to the issue. Conway Regional Medical Center set up a subsidiary, a separate facility that would exclusively serve Home Health clients. Moreover, the organization’s nearly decade-old software was succumbing to obsolescence, hence, could not accommodate the expansion. It was unfit for the billing practices and regulatory requirements from Medicare at the time. Precisely, it could not offer the scalability needed to accommodate the hospital’s growing needs and changes within its environment. With a budgeted of $250,000 for software procurement, a robust up-to-date IT infrastructure, and an enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff and end users, Conway Regional Medical Center successfully fulfilled the economic, technical, and operational feasibility criteria.

Requirements Analysis

This stage of traditional systems life-cycle ensures that the proposed project meets the management’s specific needs. Accordingly, the project team met with stakeholders and mapped out the conditions the proposed system had to fulfill. For example, it had to be MEDITECH compatible, allow for point of care documentation, support OASIS analyzer, provide a physician portal, and support special billing and accounts receivable for Home Health.

Design and Choice

As previously hinted, Conway Regional Medical Center did not have to develop the software in-house. The design stage (coding, testing, debugging) was reserved for the venders, and the researchers’ primary task at this point was to analyze the wares to find the most suitable option. Using the outcome of the previous stage as a yardstick, the researchers waded through their options to determine their strengths, weaknesses, costs, and benefits. The team ultimately settled on MEDITECH 6.1, a vendor who easily customized a solution for Conway Regional Medical Center since they had done business before, leading to familiarity with the organization’s needs.

Implementation

Implementing a new information system poses significant challenges, requiring careful selection of a method that best suits a company’s circumstances. According to Laudon and Laudon (2020), there are four conversion strategies an organization can use: “the parallel strategy, the direct cutover strategy, the pilot study strategy, and the phased approach strategy (p. 506). Conway Regional Medical Center’s Home Care unit employed the parallel installation approach. In this strategy, both old and new systems are run concurrently until stakeholders are certain that the potential replacement is functional. At Conway Regional Medical Center’s Home Health segment, the new system was run for two months until everyone ascertained that it functioned correctly, a practice that is highly emphasized in literature. For example, to Laudon and Laudon (2020) laud the parallel installation as the safest because it makes it possible to revert to the old system as backup should the new one registers errors or processing disruptions. The staff underwent training fourteen days to the “go-live” date in two batches – the first on week one and the remaining on the last seven days.

Maintenance/Support

The vendor performs software upgrades (“code loads”) every six weeks. Conway Regional Medical Center operates in a dynamic environment and must endeavor to keep pace with changes in its environment. These upgrades play a vital role in helping the organization adapt to common changes in Medicare and billing practices. Importantly, this systems-building method provided the organization with what it needed as it appealed to the end users, hence, the organization’s solution to retain it for the foreseeable future.

Strengths and Drawbacks of Traditional Systems Life-Cycle

Traditional Systems Life-Cycle boasts the advantages that accompany age, being the oldest method for developing and acquiring software. As McMurtrey (2013) remarks, it has been tested widely and its applicability has been proven at the business, industry, and government levels. The systems life cycle is also recognized as the most effective approach to building large, complex systems – the type that requires analyzing formal and rigorous requirements (Loudon & Loudon, 2020). Essentially, it allows the builders to view the entire system through comprehensively defined, explicit steps, thus commanding a greater control. It also allows for considerable flexibility whereby system builders can go back and forth among the life cycle stages. For example, the systems researchers at Conway Regional Medical Center successfully oversaw the adoption of the right system for the Home Care unit by defining each stage and using it as a basis for the next.

Besides the pros, traditional systems life cycle can be undesirable for many reasons. Loudon and Loudon (2020) observe this approach as costly, time-consuming, and inflexible. Indeed, Conway Regional Medical Center had to set aside $250,000 is software acquisition alone, and it spent additional resources conducting the research and training the end users. Additionally, the parallel adoption strategy increased the resources the project gobbled. For instance, within the 60-day trial period, clinicians had to populate the new database by double entering patient records and admissions data in both systems. Running the old system and its potential replacement simultaneously for 60 days often demand extra staff and other resources. It should also be stressed that the traditional systems life cycle’s inherent inflexibility became apparent when the researchers had to complete each of the stages before truly moving on to the next. The costs and time demanded to comply with the demands of systems life cycle can be prohibitive to an organization with limited resources.

Telecommunications Tools

These are the tools that enable the exchange of information between patients that are based at home and the Conway Regional Medical Center electronically. This can be done either through wired or in other case unwired medium. A perfect example of a telecommunication tool in use at Conway Regional Medical Center is the lifeline unit, which comprises a button attached to the patient’s bracelet or necklace for them to push to notify the hospital that help in needed (McMurtrey 2013). The tools make it possible to communicate with the patients regardless of their location, thus suiting the Home Health section’s needs to serve home-bound patients. Since they are highly scalable, exchanges with a large or small number of clients is possible and simplified.

Telecommunication tools also offer instant communication between the patients and the medical professions in the hospital, which in turn saves a lot of time, which could be vital in saving the life of a patient located in a remote area. Information sharing is also made easier between the medical staff, allowing caregivers visiting patients to call the central station for additional help (McMurtrey 2013). Perhaps, the biggest advantage the hospital could reap from these telecommunication tools is the ability to eliminate barriers in downward, horizontal, and upward communication, thus empowering employees across different departments and organization levels to take greater control of their work.

Internet Connection

Internet of Things (IoT) has a great opportunity to transform the healthcare sector. With the increase in the rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart diseases, Internet connection is important for monitoring and integrating medical devices. Through the development of a medical portal, patients can access their medical records from Conway Regional Medical Center online. Patients can also book their appointments online, which is more convenient for both the patients and the doctors since it is time-saving. Home-based health providers can also monitor clients across their continuum of disease and compare as needed. Notably, patients and healthcare professionals can keep track of health outcomes through the use of home monitoring systems that are connected via the internet. This practice is highly beneficial to elderly people and those suffering from chronic diseases.

The benefits of internet connectivity in Conway Regional Medical Center are numerous. Since doctors can monitor the progress of the patients remotely and in real time, visits to the medical facilities are reduced. There are also fewer readmissions to the hospital as data is collected and managed efficiently. This lowers the costs incurred by the patients and the hospital. Staff members in the hospital will spend less time in keeping track of the supplies and maintaining high hygiene levels in the hospital which reduces on infections in the hospital. Doctors can also monitor on how the patients are complying with the prescriptions and treatment plans. This reduces errors and wastage of both drugs and financial resources.

Wireless Technology

A wide range of wireless technology is available for use in the healthcare environment to enhance the overall performance and efficiency. Carrying out identifications via radio frequency devices can help in tracking of various pharmaceuticals moving through the Conway Regional Medical Center’s supply chain. This reduces extra cost to the facility as it monitors whether their drugs are put into appropriate use. Staff members can also be tracked using wireless technology by making sure all the equipment’s and the personnel productivity is well accounted for and documented. It seems to be relevant to emphasize that by availing free WiFi within the facility, it is possible to motivate clients to express their concerns and make suggestions for the improvement of services.

Software Controls

These are the software that has been put in place to manage and monitor the system for the purpose of preventing access to the system by unauthorized people. They can be used in validating the data patients at Conway Regional Medical Center input into the system and managing of the database. Firewalls can be used to determine the credentials of a patient before they access the network. It identifies, on the incoming traffic, the name of the patient, their internet protocol address as well as specific characters of the patients. Firewalls prevent outsiders from accessing the system thereby protecting the integrity of the patient’s data that is stores in the hospitals database.

Hardware Controls

These checks ensure the computer’s hardware components are secured physically. The protection covers risk of fires which destroys the hardware components, high humidity and temperatures. Up-to-date backing of information should be encouraged to always ensure availability of the data in case of loss of the already existing data. Most of the sensitive data that is physically available in the computers should be wiped out from the machines completely and archived in a different physical location that that has limited access.

Computer Operation Controls

These controls are used to ensure that the procedures used in the running of the system in the hospital are accurately followed and executed. They include how jobs to be processed by the computers in the hospital are setup, how the software and the hardware components of the system are managed to ensure smooth running and the procedures that the hospital has put in place to back up data and recover in the event of data loss. These controls are in place to ensure data is processed on time and the output expected is given on time and accurately. This can be done through sequential testing of the data being fed into the system, checking of errors, correcting and resubmitting the data. This can be done manually by the users of the system and the system administrator.

Data Security Controls

These procedures ensure safety of the data that is stored in the system. There are various technologies that can be used to ensure security of data. The hospital can also use antiviruses which act as attacks protection to data stored in their databases from virus which may result in loss of important records for both the patients as well as the hospital. Intrusion software can be installed. They are used to identify and block suspicious traffic that may try to access database files. Use of security tokens and passwords is one of the ways to implement this. The credentials of users can be used in verification process to determine whether they much those that have been stored in the database. Single sign-on technology can be used by the system to make the authentication easier. Users can access multiple systems using a single security token. The hospital also can use access controls like the Discretionary access control which allows access to resources on the system based on the identity of the user. Role-based access allows access to the system in regards to the role an individual plays in the hospital.

Implementation Controls

These controls are put in place to ensure that the system is managed and controlled appropriately. The hospital can use reviews from the users to determine the performance of the system and work on the areas that need to be improved on. There are three different metrics that can be used to audit the implementation process of the information system in the hospital. Technological innovation explores the risks the new information system may be faced with in its operations after its integration.it explores the experience of the users of the new system. Innovative control systems compare the performance of the system in relation to the competitors to check on its effectiveness in offering of the services in the hospital. The technology audit follows the implementation of a new information system, and it focuses on, among other issues, end user experiences and how they can be improved.

Administrative Controls

These are both manual and automated controls that ensure the data fed to the system is accurate and is processed completely by the system. It runs through from the beginning of the process of preparing transactions to the final stages of productions and output.it focuses on how to input data to the system by checking the accuracy of the data. There are various ways of ensuring this. The administrators user interfaces options like seek bars and check boxes to authenticate the data being fed to the system. Users can toggle checkboxes where there are different options to be selected from. Push buttons can be used by the user to execute a specific command in the system. Text fields that can be edited can be used to offer suggestions for auto completion of data that is being fed to the system.

References

Conway Regional Medical Center profile. (n.d.). PracticeLink. Web.

Laudon, K. C., & Laudon, J. P. (2020). Managing information systems: Managing the digital firm (16th ed.). Pearson. Web.

McMurtrey, M. (2013). A case study of the application of the systems development life cycle (sdlc) in 21st century health care: Something old, something new?, Journal of the Southern Association for Information Systems, 1(1), 14-25.

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EssaysInCollege. (2022, July 16). Digitizing Home Care Through Information Technology. Retrieved from https://essaysincollege.com/digitizing-home-care-through-information-technology/

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EssaysInCollege. (2022, July 16). Digitizing Home Care Through Information Technology. https://essaysincollege.com/digitizing-home-care-through-information-technology/

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"Digitizing Home Care Through Information Technology." EssaysInCollege, 16 July 2022, essaysincollege.com/digitizing-home-care-through-information-technology/.

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EssaysInCollege. (2022) 'Digitizing Home Care Through Information Technology'. 16 July.

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EssaysInCollege. 2022. "Digitizing Home Care Through Information Technology." July 16, 2022. https://essaysincollege.com/digitizing-home-care-through-information-technology/.

1. EssaysInCollege. "Digitizing Home Care Through Information Technology." July 16, 2022. https://essaysincollege.com/digitizing-home-care-through-information-technology/.


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EssaysInCollege. "Digitizing Home Care Through Information Technology." July 16, 2022. https://essaysincollege.com/digitizing-home-care-through-information-technology/.