Thomas Jefferson University
HCA.412.81: Quality Measures and Outcome Analysis
Facilitator: Dr. Celeste Chamberlain
Investment in Information Technology has been at low levels in healthcare in relation to other service industries, which has resulted in the need for modernization. Funding the modernization can be a challenge to any healthcare organization. Upgrading existing infrastructure is important as emerging technology has offered improved processes, streamlined record keeping and an overall enhancement of healthcare services. With over 15 years experience in Information Technology and holding several technical certifications, I will share my knowledge regarding several of the concepts both in theory and in practice at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia PA.
Information Technology’s Impact on HealthCare
Funding Information Technology in HealthCare
Funding and justifying upgrading technology poses a problem for healthcare executives. Grappling with limited budgets, strict regulations and intensive oversight, executives must be able to demonstrate the expected business value of every decision. (Fisher, Shell, Troiano & PricewaterhouseCoopers 2004 p.4) Many times it is difficult to deliver return on investment (ROI) information regarding some of the technology because the technology lies in the background supporting other technologies. Health care executives need to evaluate and measure IT investments from a perspective that goes beyond financial performance to look at all the ways IT affects healthcare. (Fisher, Shell, Troiano & PricewaterhouseCoopers 2004 p.4) Beyond the costs of supporting technologies healthcare information technology (HIT) should also be measured not only in monetary terms but also in terms of benefits to the organizations and its staff. The business case for investing in HIT must consider both financial and nonmonetized consequences. Working in high quality organizations has some intangible benefits to staff, which may lead to better retention and productivity at equal levels of pay. (Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center 2006 p.12)
Many Health care organizations have been functioning for many years and may have not gone through infrastructure (network electronics, voice/data cabling) or technology upgrades in that time, therefore the systems in place are due for an overhaul. Many factors can drive this change including the requirement for new technologies, merging technologies and ongoing renovations. Renovations in particular demand a new cabling infrastructure as areas that are outfitted with old voice and data cabling will be renovated and will required new cabling to meet the new standards of voice and data communication. As renovations take place and cabling is upgraded, it is often necessary to upgrade the network electronics supporting the area as end of life cycle and technological capacities will be reached. One example of the need to upgrade both infrastructure and network electronics is the emergence of voice over IP communications (VOIP). Old cabling simply cannot support the high speed data necessary to provide reliable VOIP communications. The network electronics that drive the communications many times will need to be upgraded to the latest model to also accommodate the upgraded speed and power requirements for VOIP communications. In recent times the demand for wireless technology has significantly increased. As more devices are capable of wireless communications the existing infrastructure of wireless access points must be expanded to accommodate the growing need for access to a wireless network. In several cases renovation budgets tend to be high and in many cases the upgrades to technology can be covered with the monies budgeted for the renovation.
Enhanced Communications with Information Technology Communication in healthcare…