A Hospital Information System (HIS) supports activities at the operational, tactical, and strategic levels of a hospital. The purpose of this article is to provide a step-by-step guide to assist a hospital in selecting the HIS system that best meets its institutional needs, characteristics, and objectives.
Towards healthy information
The problem of finding a hospital information system arises from the need for health centers to properly select a software tool that helps them counteract possible medical negligence, delays in care, surgeries, theft and waste, and operational inefficiencies, etc. Thus, all health professionals will have access to the complete patient file when making clinical decisions.
As in any other area, any software implementation implies a process of transformation and redefinition of a hospital’s processes, even regardless of whether the institution has had previous experiences of process automation using technological tools.
Phases of implementation of a HIS
The phases of a software implementation begin with the stage in which it is decided to implement an HIS system , and not another type of tool. This is followed by the process of deciding which HIS will be implemented and which consultancy will be assigned to implement the project. Once selected, the implementation phase begins, in which the system will be parameterized; For this phase, the consulting firm that leads the project proposes a work methodology, experience in implementations and training.
In search of the right product
To know what the HIS is, it is important to know how it is composed: by information systems used for the medical, administrative and financial management of the hospital and obviously, supported by voice and data technology that will serve to communicate internally and externally to the staff of the hospital. hospital.
There are different types of information systems within a hospital , although a HIS considers the integration of these for the automation of many kinds of transactions and processes, it is important to take into account three large groups of systems:
- Those who support the provision of health services ( front office : applications focused outside the company-institution).
- Those that support the operation of the different areas of the hospital ( back office : applications focused within the company-institution).
- Those that automatically collect clinical data from the patient (clinical systems and diagnostic and treatment auxiliaries).
The implementation of a new technological solution in a company in the health sector implies a considerable effort on the part of the entire organization, so the benefits should not be limited to technology; in reality, the most significant changes occur in the processes and culture of the institution itself.
The purchase of a system represents a great investment for the institution, not only financial but also other resources, such as the time and effort of its employees, and the migration of information from one system to another with the risks that this process implies.
A hospital management system, once implemented, is expected to last a few years and accompany the hospital in its projects, plans and business objectives. For this reason, it is very important to be able to select the system that best suits the needs of the company in various aspects, not only economic; but functional, strategic, technical and inherent to the provider and its service.
It is also important to find the balance in the selected product, so that the product does not become obsolete after a short time of implementation, but neither that it is so complex for the organization as it is not used in a minimum percentage of its functionality.
All these points suggest that this stage is a critical process, however the selection of systems is not an area of much study, rather, more study time has been devoted to the implementation methodologies since there are few methodologies that They guide the managers and members of the project team, in this complex work that is to select which tool will be used.
Buyers should keep market trends in mind when they begin researching ERP software offering for a healthcare organization. How a seller adjusts to these trends could have a big impact on their viability?
The use of software as a service on demand - Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
The trend towards ERP SaaS is affecting many industries, and healthcare is definitely one of them. Vendors are beginning to show an increasing affinity for lower start-up costs, monthly pricing model, lack of IT infrastructure, and remote access associated with web-based applications.
The providers of ERP software for an organization of health and medicine are finding themselves increasingly with mobility needs, ie access to information from different devices that are not fixed in one location.
There are already known cases of hospitals in which management is 100% integrated. From requesting a shift by phone or internet to the delivery of prescription drugs. Everything that happens to a patient is visible on a computer screen and resides in a centralized database.
Potential benefits and problems
The main benefits of any ERP software for a medical and healthcare organization are:
- increase efficiency,
- improve collection,
- improve the quality of patient care.
These benefits are created by different applications and impact organizations in different ways. Increasing the efficiency of the back-office streamlines administrative tasks associated with patient care, allowing providers to attend to the ailments of more patients without the need to increase plant personnel.
Having more rigorous documentation of care and a more organized presentation of it speeds up the billing-collection cycle. Having automatic alerts allows you to anticipate problems or detect potential risks. On the other hand, offering automatic reminders to patients is a service that increases their loyalty.
Although the investment in ERP software for a medical and health organization is a project of some size, the high costs due to inappropriate assistance or the delay in the issuance of documentation for invoicing, can justify the investment. While trends such as software as a service (SaaS) help make the decision to invest, stimulus funds available in several countries are providing the resources needed to cover the costs of implementing most systems.