Some of the health information technology available today are primary systems aimed at decision support, electronic health records, and computerized provider order entry. These systems are used for electronic documentation, order entry, management of results, and administrative purposes. The research team from Southern California Evidence-Based Practice Center found out that health information technology improved quality of healthcare by increasing compliance to protocol-based care, enhancing surveillance of diseases, and decreasing errors in medication. These effects encompass preventive care, treatment of different diseases, and laboratory testing. Marc Berg studied the implementation of information systems in healthcare organizations. He concluded that the information system will not by itself transform the organization. Rather, information technology and the organization should work together to make change happen and see the results that they hoped for. This view was echoed by Assistant Professors at the University of Notre Dame Sarv Devaraj and Rajiv Kohli who conducted a longitudinal study on the payoff of information technology in the healthcare industry and concluded that it was difficult to determine the benefits of information technology because technology alone would not guarantee organizational success. However, they said that information technology provided valuable support to other healthcare initiatives that would ensure quality and efficiency of performance. In another research, Richard Hillestad and his fellows at RAND Corporation examined the health benefits, savings, and costs of electronic medical record systems. Their team found out that effective implementation of this system could help healthcare companies save billions of money by improving healthcare efficiency, safety, and management of chronic diseases. They said it would also lead to improved health and other social benefits for the organization and patients. However, like what the previous studies stated, this could only be realized with corresponding support and changes in the healthcare organization. These studies imply that health information technology, along with patient-care technologies, are indeed essential in managing the organization and a diverse patient population but these technologies alone will not bring about positive changes in the quality and efficiency of healthcare service if the organization itself will not undergo transformation. Technology is a valuable pillar of support in the delivery of healthcare and nursing care.
The Ebola virus caused worldwide health scare. According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola virus disease is severe and fatal for humans with an average fatality rate of 50%. The virus originates from animals in the wild and then gets transmitted to humans and spreads through human-to-human transmissions when there is direct contact to the blood, secretions, and other bodily fluids of animals and persons affected by the disease. Because of our interconnectedness in today’s world, it is possible that a disease that started in a remote town in Africa will reach and affect people living elsewhere in the world. This is exactly what happened in the Ebola virus disease outbreak. The Ebola epidemic posed a serious threat to the health and welfare of the people not only in Liberia but the world over. This made it a global health crisis. The whole world has a stake in the fight against Ebola. Up to this moment, there is no approved vaccine to make humans immune from the virus. The Ebola outbreak in Liberia highlighted the need for improved public health not just in their country but across all countries in the world. Public health is concerned with the promotion of good health and prevention of disease worldwide. This is crucial in these times because our societies are interconnected. This makes us realize the need to protect our health care workers. They are on the front lines in our fight against epidemics such as Ebola. It also shows us the importance of public health records and data collection. These are essential in the rapid assessment of disease outbreaks. Monitoring would be easier if there is interoperability of public health records from one country to another. An integrated health information technology will allow partner organizations and countries to share their knowledge database and keep up with the health standards needed to contain and prevent the disease. To ensure the public health of Liberians is to ensure the public health of Americans and people all over the world.
One reader sent me this question: “By far the most important thing to happen to intelligence since the end of the Cold War is technological advancement.” Is this claim accurate? Why or why not? Here is The Hacking Cough’s response: Technological advancements alone do not always assure us of success. For example, there were heavy repercussions during the Gulf War when the military did not know how to use the modern systems effectively. In other words, technology is only as good as the humans taking charge of them. But this does not take away the fact that technological advancements are important in intelligence missions. Scientists devised them for the benefit of humankind. They are there to help us achieve a safer world.