Failure of Health Information Systems

Subject: Health Care
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 7
Word count: 1796
Topics: Medicine, Management

Health care information system supports the informational and communication needs of a health care. They provide a high level and comprehensive support for the delivery of care for the patients, external and internal communication, research, and educational needs of the healthcare practitioners.  The information system also creates a conducive informational environment that is rewarding, positive, and productive due to the availability of information (Hayrinen et al. 2008). The success of this systems in the medical field has been in question. Some of these information systems do succeed, but the majority of medical information system fail. 

Key factor contributing to failure

The failure of this is due to the reality gaps in the systems because of the higher the change in the current trends, the archetypal design that is; assumptions and requirements of the new information system, the higher that risk that it will fail (Gordon et al. 2013). The key factors contributing to the failure include; rationality gaps, these are reality gaps that arise from the analytical method in which the health care information systems are conceived, where the system does not match with the behavioral reality of an individual healthcare system. Another factor is the public-private gap that arises due to the use of a health care information system designed for the public sector in the industry.

A country gap is another key element where a health care in one country uses a medical information system devised in another country. The system will not cover the needs of the health care because the requirements in that other country are different from the needs of the healthcare informational needs. The lack of using a participative approach to determine the needs of a health information system is another key factor contributing to the failure. Lack of proper planning for the system and resistance from the users has led to a failure of the information systems in health care.

Health care information systems (HCIS) can have a total failure where a new regime is implemented and abandoned immediately, a partial failure where a particular initiative in which the primary objectives are not attained, a sustainability failure where the system succeeds and fails after some time. Lastly, the replication failure, where the prototype design of the scheme succeeds but the real system fails. Apparently, the failure of the system can be attributed to the gaps in the implementation and lack of a good plan when coming up with the informational needs of the system.

Impacts of failure on organizations

The lack of implementing security measures when implementing a health care information system is precarious. In the fact that once it fails or there is a breach patient are left exposed to economic threats, social stigma, and mental anguish (Nayeri & Aghajani, 2010). Confidential information is accessed which might expose the health status of many people bringing about more harm. Most patients are against the implementation of new system due to the threat of exposure of privacy and breach of information given that the web is expanding and systems can be hacked. 

Organizations make great losses once a system fails because the whole process of design and implementation costs a lot. On the other hand, the healthcare might lose the trust and confidence due to the breach of the privacy of the patients. Failure of a system can cause the practitioners in health care field be unable to attend to health care services such as emergencies. It can cause chaos due to lack of critical information that is needed to serve specific clients which might even lead to patients losing their lives.

Leadership reaction to the failure

Some leaders see the failure and mostly do nothing about they do not act fast to counter the failure. Some take long, inappropriate procedures to combat the failure. Most organizations were this failure happen to lack a transparent management system that can help in doing a review to establish the quality of the scheme, incident reporting, and an administration of the performance of the system. There is a little collaboration between the clinicians and management hence, lack of clinical leadership that is coherent.

Significant failures become hard to investigate and expose. And only those that are severe are the ones that leaders and the organizations handle. Some leaders are quick to act where once they get to know that a person was involved in a breach of information they are brought forward and a disciplinary action taken against them. The leaders try to take care of the problem before it gets out of hand. For the patients that are affected the management ensures they get counseling session and others are awarded damages. Strict measures are then put in place so as to ensure there is no more breach of privacy.

Should a health care develop a custom application or a propriety system? 

For a health care to run well, there is need to have the right software.  A health care can decide to use proprietary software which trademarked and requires one to obtain a license. The system is already designed to be utilized by all, and in case of challenges, one can contact customer service agents of the firm that designed it (Fraser et al. 2005). Or they can decide to have one that is custom made which will be developed by their particular need. The custom made software aims to fit precisely the needs of the healthcare, and in case of any challenges, one has to depend solely on the developer to come and fix the problem.

A health care should get a custom application that will focus on informational needs. The design will focus on specifically what the health care needs. As much as it is more expensive than a proprietary system, the system will cater to the needs of the hospital better. The system is also adaptable to the changing trends in technology and also the evolving requirements of the users. It is well designed to ensure that measures are taken to ensure there are no security breaches and there is privacy of the information provided by a patient. The management is, and the staff is involved in the development of the system making it more tailored to the needs of the hospital better. Therefore, it is likely not to fail.

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Collaboration and Coordination

For there to be a success in the operations of an information system, there is need for different units of an organization to collaborate and communicate their views on whether the system complies fully with the needs of the organization. During implementation, one should consider the integration of the compliance measures with the requirements of different departments. The integration will eliminate the incidence of systems that are redundant.  The information systems can use reporting systems that are the same to cater for various compliance needs. A vast coordinated strategy is more efficient that a strategy that is separate with different responses.

Evaluation of security measures

The organization should encourage individuals from various departments to creative thinking sessions about ways in which patient’s information would be breached. It would ensure that effective measures would be taken to ensure security is not compromised. If their flaws in an information system then it puts an organization at risk, hence the risks are more probable to the staff than other individuals. Therefore, it is essential to ensure the information is adequately protected. Documentation of the security policies and reevaluate them continually. The firm should also implement a means that authenticates anyone who has accessed any file. It will enable the management monitor safety issues.

Automation of compliance measures

The management should strive to identify internal controls that are weak leading to security compromise. They can enhance this control measure by automating the processes. Automation eliminates the risk of human error and loss of valuable information. It also leaves a trail of evidence of each step used during the process. After implementation, testing and verification of the authenticity of the controls, one can determine which processes should be automated. The automated systems should have the ability to retain or destroy document; hence it should ensure that the processes that are integral to the business are safeguarded, and the nonessential are destroyed.

Using Portfolio management to improve organizations efficiency

For a firm to enhance its effectiveness and value, they can use portfolio management techniques and project metrics to assess they type of information system to invest in. If the PPM meets its required duties, the systems analyze and coordinates the portfolio for efficient business results. Projects are either included or excluded from the systems based on the positioning of the systems and portfolio business objectives desired .the systems aid in review and assessment of projects to ensure the meet their intended goals. The systems have a broad approach thus the portfolio’s ability is affected by the performance of this systems. It makes decisions that lead to the success even if they disagree with the interests of a particular project, which leads to the overall success of the projects and improving the efficiency of the firm.

The portfolio project management combines; a management focus that is business oriented, to ensure that all programs and projects align with the strategy. It also has a general focus on management which manages a firm’s risks and resources (Martinsuo & Lehtonen, 2007). The strategies also a management focus on the project that reviews and assess the project to ensure they in align with the planned contribution. The approach recognizes that the health of the portfolio is affected they way all projects in the portfolio perform. It is directly independent on the available resources. Therefore the management should make judgments that lead to the success of the portfolio because it will affect the performance of the organization.

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Government Intervention

The government has come up with initiatives that envision an adoption of electronic health record system that is universal. Given that health information is one of the important factors in ensuring the health of individuals is improved there is need to protect it because it will reduce costs associated with coming up with new systems every time there is a breach. The government has also come up with laws that ensure there are confidentiality and measures that ensure there is the privacy of information and no violation of valuable information because those who link such information there will be a disciplinary action against them.

In conclusion, the initiative taken by the government is a safe one because they can safeguard the information of the patients and ensure there are high standards of security. However, on the other side, a universal system will not cater to the specific needs of some health care units; therefore, this is a huge limitation.

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  1. Fraser, H., Biondich, P., Moodley, D., Choi, S., Mamlin, B., & Szolovits, P. (2005). Implementing electronic medical record systems in developing countries. Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics, 13(2), 83-95.
  2. Gordon, S. R., Blake, R. H., & Shankaranarayanan, G. (2013). Case-based research in information systems: Gaps and trends.
  3. Häyrinen, K., Saranto, K., & Nykänen, P. (2008). Definition, structure, content, use and impacts of electronic health records: a review of the research literature. International journal of medical informatics, 77(5), 291-304.
  4. Martinsuo, M., & Lehtonen, P. (2007). Role of single-project management in achieving portfolio management efficiency. International journal of project management, 25(1), 56-65.
  5. Nayeri, N. D., & Aghajani, M. (2010). Patients’ privacy and satisfaction in the emergency department: a descriptive analytical study. Nursing ethics, 17(2), 167-177.
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