What Is the Role of Technology in Healthcare Administration?

Technology touches every aspect of your life, from your mode of transportation to the entertainment you enjoy — even to the food you eat. It has played a huge role in healthcare over the years, paving the way for innovative medicines and procedures. Now, technology is revolutionizing healthcare information technology.

The transition from a paper records system to a digital one in a complex industry is not easy. After all, privacy and patient access must both be protected. However, the latest software and the newest technologies have helped hospitals and clinics streamline their offices and administrations.

Healthcare Administration

Healthcare usually conjures images of doctors and nurses working with patients. As vital as they are to the system, they rely on healthcare administrators to keep their clinics, hospitals and practices running. Healthcare administrators are the people responsible for the day-to-day operations of health organizations. They are the people who keep the lights on, create the schedules and maintain cash flows. Depending on their particular jobs, they may have in-depth knowledge of how healthcare laws are changing, which helps hospitals and practices make proper arrangements.

A bachelor’s degree will serve a healthcare administrator well, but in order to achieve a higher-level position, he or she may need an advanced degree like a Master of Business Administration in Health Care Administration. This type of degree introduces students to the specifics of healthcare accounting, leadership, human resource management and computer systems.

Traditionally, healthcare administration has involved its fair share of paperwork, and that remains true. However, new software and technology have changed how healthcare administrators keep track of everyday tasks.

In the Office

Every doctor’s office dedicates at least one computer to processing business information. These machines are for recording and storing business data rather than filing it in physical folders. Each patient’s medical history — including previous treatments, tests, diagnosis, symptoms and more — is readily available. While this information once stayed in a single folder filled with handwritten notes, health information technology makes it available in a matter of moments on more than one device. Healthcare administrators can also keep better track of the time employees spend in the hospital, their vacation time and other data pertinent to human resources.

Healthcare Management Information Systems (HMIS)

HMIS constantly evolves to keep pace with changing healthcare privacy and accessibility laws. These important systems help administrators and their organizations understand the level of care they have provided to patients, as well as how patient perception measures against hospital perception. This data can help care providers understand what needs improvement and what is working well.

Another important aspect of the HMIS is Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE), which allows physicians to directly send prescriptions to pharmacies. It also enables automatic cross-checking for drug interactions and lab results to inform healthcare providers of any potential problems. It adds a level of safety to administering medication by reducing the chance of prescribing medicines that could cause allergic reactions — or drugs that a patient’s health plan will not cover.

HIPAA Compliance in Healthcare Technology

Congress enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, more commonly known as HIPAA, in 1996. The law enables people and their families to keep their health coverage in the event that they lose or change their jobs, it reduces health care fraud and abuse, it helps keep patient information confidential, and it establishes industry-wide standards for healthcare information.

What does all of that mean? In a real-world scenario, healthcare professionals will not share your private health information with anyone other than you, your legal representative, your other healthcare providers or your insurance providers. This information includes lab results, surgical information, prescription drugs and other sensitive information.

Digitizing records and using more technology in healthcare administration simplifies HIPAA compliance. Healthcare professionals must protect your information whenever they transfer it, update it or receive it; staying up-to-date with developing technology ensures that protection.

Technology has improved healthcare in many ways, from introducing breakthrough procedures to improving patient care. Health information technology also streamlines healthcare administration, making vital patient information more readily available while preserving privacy and portability in accordance with HIPAA laws.

Learn about the online UTRGV MBA in Health Care Administration program.


Sources:

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Health Information Technology

Office for Civic Rights: The HIPAA Privacy Rule’s Right of Access and Health Information Technology

HealthIT.gov: Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) for Medication Orders

Buzzle: Uses of Computers in the Medical Field That Can’t Be Overlooked


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