- Health Administration Informatics
Unlike biomedical informatics which is focused on acquisition and application of medical data about patients and nursing informatics which deals with the support of nursing by information systems in delivery, documentation, administration and evaluation of patient care and prevention of diseases; health administration informatics deals with evaluation, acquisition, implementation and day to day operation of information technology systems in support of all administration and clinical functions within the health care industry.
The field of health administration informatics is emerging as attention continues to focus on the costly mistakes that have been made as some health care organizations have implemented electronic medical records ( [http://www.healthcareitnews.com/story.cms?id=9413] ).
The market demand for a specialized advanced degree that integrates Health Care Administration and Informatics is growing as the concept has gained support from the academic and professional communities. Recent articles in Health Management Technology cite the importance of integrating information technology with health care administration to meet the unique needs of the health care industry. The health care industry may be at a tipping point, about 10 years behind in the application of technology and at least 10 to 15 years behind in leadership capability from the technology and perhaps the business perspective (Seliger, 2005; Thibault, 2005). This means there is quantifiable demand in the work force for health care administrators who are also prepared to lead in the field of health care administration informatics.
In addition, the increasing costs and difficulties involved in evaluating the projected benefits from IT investments are requiring health care administrators to learn more about IT and how it affects business processes. The health care Chief Information Officer (CIO) must be able to build enterprise wide systems that will help reduce the administrative cost and streamline automation of administrative processes and patient record keeping. Increasingly, the CIO is relied upon for specialized analytical and collaborative skills that will enable him/her to build systems that health care clinicians will use. A recent well-publicized debacle (shelving of a $34 million computer system after three months) at a top U. S. hospital underlines the need for leaders who understand the health care industry information technology requirements (Connolly, 2005).
In a recent survey of health care CIOs and Information System (IS) directors, increasing patient safety/reducing medical errors was reported as among the top business issues. Two other key findings were that: • two-thirds of respondents indicated that the number of FTEs in their IT department will increase in the next 12 months;• and three-quarters of respondents indicated that their IT budgets would be increasing. The most likely staffing needs reported by the health care executives are network and architecture support (HIMMS, 2005).
Several professional organizations have also addressed the need for academic preparation that integrates the two specializations addressed by UMUC’s MSHCAI degree. In the collaborative response to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT) request for information regarding future IT needs, thirteen major health and technology organizations endorsed a “Common Framework” to support health information exchange in the United States, while protecting patient privacy. The response cited the need for continuing education of health information management professionals as a significant barrier to implementation of a National Health Information Network (NHIN) (The Collaborative Response, 2005).
“The government and private insurers are beginning to pay hospitals more for higher quality care – and the only way to measure quality, and then improve it, is with more information technology. Hospital spending on such gear is expected to climb to $30.5 billion next year , from $25.8 billion in 2004, according to researcher Dorenfest Group” (Mullaney and Weintraub, 2005).
This fundamental change in health care (pay for performance) means that hospitals and other health care providers will need to develop, adapt and maintain all of the technology necessary to measure and improve on quality. Physicians have traditionally lagged behind in their use of technology (i.e., electronic patient records). Only 7 % of physicians work for hospitals, and so the task of “wooing them is an extremely delicate task” (Mullaney and Weintraub, 2005).
Connolly, C. (2005, March 21) Cedars-Sinai doctors cling to Pen and paper. The Washington Post.Health Informatics World Wide (2005, March). Health informatics index site. Retrieved March 30, 2005 from [http://www.hiww.org/us.html] .
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) (2005, February). 16th annual HIMSS leadership survey sponsored by Superior Consultant Company. Retrieved 3/30/2005 from [http://www.himss.org/2005survey/docs/Healthcare_CIO_finalreport.pdf] .
Mullaney, T. J., & Weintraub, A. (2005 March 28). The digital hospital. Business Week 3926, 76.
Seliger, R. (2005). Healthcare IT tipping point. Health Management Technology 26(3), 48-49.
The Collaborative Response to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Request for Information (2005, January). Retrieved March 30, 2005 from [http://world.std.com/~goldberg/collaborativeresponsenhin.pdf] .
Thibault, B. (2005). Making beautiful music together. Behavioral Health 26(3), 28-29.
* [http://umuc.edu/programs/grad/mshai/ University of Maryland University College]
* [http://main.uab.edu/shrp/default.aspx?pid=77369 University of Alabama - Birmingham]
* [http://healthinformatics.uic.edu/ University of Illinois at Chicago]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_health_informatics Consumer health informatics]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_informatics Medical informatics]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nursing_informatics Nursing informatics]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.