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Healthcare Information Systems Growing in HIT Infrastructure

Healthcare information systems are still growing in health IT infrastructure as more organizations are moving to cloud-based technology.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Healthcare organizations are moving to electronic health records (EHRs), causing the healthcare information systems market to grow exponentially over the next several years as entities continue to add EHRs to their health IT infrastructure. Cloud-based information systems and EHRs are also making headway in the healthcare industry.

A Transparency Market Research report predicts the global healthcare information systems market to reach $44.8 billion by 2024. The report also states that many of the top healthcare information systems will focus on increasing their presence in certain geographical areas through mergers and acquisitions of other, smaller information systems.   

The need for healthcare organizations to reduce errors and cost is a major driving factor for the growing adoption of healthcare information systems, according to the report.

Government initiatives give entities the incentive to digitize healthcare systems, which has led to the growth of adoption. Healthcare information systems help clinicians accurately analyze a patient’s health by maintaining and referencing accurate records.

Over the past several years, healthcare information systems have improved the quality of patient care, report authors state. The systems keep track of information that reduces medical error by providing up-to-date information.

The growth of healthcare information systems is also credited to the need for organizations to cut costs associated with paperwork and the maintenance of physical records.

A Journal of Medical Systems case study stated last year that, “institutions are facing challenges involving a shortage of funds and talent, inconsistent medical standards, inefficient information sharing, and difficulties in management during the adoption of health information technologies.”

In addition to adopting healthcare information systems, organizations are moving to cloud-based technology to cut costs and improve clinician workflows.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps are popular in healthcare settings for documenting patient interactions and managing information. Cloud-based information systems and EHRs are easier to manage and easier for clinicians to use with mobile devices.

Cloud-based health information management systems function as SaaS applications and are accessible through a desktop app or web browser. These cloud-based systems give users access to all infrastructure information systems from any device.

The systems provide general cloud computing benefits (e.g., high availability, reduced hardware maintenance, reduced operation expenses) and added benefits, particularly for larger organizations. On-site control and maintenance is not required, so institutions with multiple locations do not need resident IT departments to manage information apps.

Cloud-based health information management systems are scalable and can easily be modified as organizations build more applications. Adding other cloud services to the infrastructure is easier when the EHRs are already cloud compatible.

Managing applications with cloud technology eases troubleshooting and maintenance tasks for IT departments. Updates are made directly to the cloud applications, eliminating user update responsibilities and protecting the network from malware introduced by unsupported legacy updates.

IT departments can clearly view and monitor activity throughout a cloud-based health information management system, making it easier to detect abnormal activity. Cloud-based security monitoring solutions can utilize cloud-based health information management systems to prevent compromised apps from sharing information with other apps on the network and more easily detect where a hack is coming from.

Integrating individual information systems onto a cloud-based system saves time on administrative tasks, syncing data between applications and updating records and files present in multiple apps.

Sharing information between apps gives users data collected by other departments to apply to their tasks. Demographic or billing information collected by a department using a different application within the cloud-based health information management system can give users in other areas new insight.

Having all healthcare department apps consolidated onto one platform allows users that require less frequent access to applications, to access apps more easily. Users don’t have to contact the IT department for special permissions and they don’t have to download a seldom used app onto their device.

Healthcare organizations seeking information systems and EHRs will benefit from considering cloud-based solutions for a more scalable health IT infrastructure.