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IT implementation failures - Essay Example

Information systems in healthcare are implemented with the aim of achieving several goals in accordance to available resources and work load. As clearly outlined by Glaser, Drazen and Cohen, the systems are meant to, ” reduce cost, increase the efficiency of operations as well as staff productivity, enhance the quality of care, increase service capacity, and improve the timeliness and accuracy of management information” (51). The United States trails behind other countries in implementing IT systems. Would IT systems be a cure for the healthcare system in the U. S.

The answer is argued by politicians and members of the healthcare industry. If IT systems achieve the above stated goals, then: What causes IT implementation failures to occur in the healthcare system? When hospitals implement information systems, it does not always result in the above successes. In fact, it has been a great challenge for the healthcare sector to deploy the right information technology that will enhance service delivery and ensure security of the systems among all other intended benefits. The healthcare sector is experiencing a surge in technologies that are meant to improve its overall performance.

It is important therefore for the healthcare sector to move along with technological advances in order to achieve the maximum performance of the sector. Solutions to healthcare problems and service delivery will be best achieved by use of information systems that keep up with the ever changing technology trends (Wipro Infotech). Hospitals have to however, first evaluate which of the available information systems will best meet their needs. This is because implementing a particular technology does not guarantee immediate benefits.

The key to realizing maximum benefits with information systems in healthcare institutions is to develop strategies that ensure proper implementation of the systems. The importance of such strategies cannot be over emphasized to minimize problems that arise from healthcare information systems which demean performance in the sector. Information Systems Use in Healthcare Healthcare information systems involve the gathering of information from various stakeholders in a healthcare institution such as staff, patients and sponsors of the system.

The information is then stored appropriately by use of ideal programs that are developed to allow accessibility to such information by other systems within a healthcare institution; this reduces the time wasted. Electronic records have slowly taken over paper records in hospitals. This is despite the fact that computers may often fail to identify which of all the collected information is of utmost priority (Markie and Somerville). Information systems are applied in various areas within a healthcare institution.

One of these areas is in the management of staff records; every hospital needs to have reliable records of its entire staff which would detail information such as areas of expertise and demographic records. Information systems are also used to collect, organize and store patient records. The records include details of admittance of patients, illnesses, demographic data and drug prescription. This information is in turn made accessible to various other systems within an institution as would be necessary.

Information systems enhance performance in the pharmaceutical sector; the systems are used to process information on production of medication according to the correct requirements as well as in labeling, packaging and distribution of the products. The systems are programmed to provide all the necessary information within an institution that ensures that the necessary rules and methodologies are followed in all of the above pharmaceutical processes. Similarly, healthcare information systems are used in blood banks to label blood bags in ensuring consistency in labeling.

The same case goes for information on laboratory and tissue specimen within a healthcare enterprise (NiceLabel). Healthcare Information Systems Failures Security and privacy are vital aspects of healthcare information systems; often, the systems have failed to safeguard these two important factors in the healthcare sector. Information from either clinicians or patients needs to be accorded proper security. Even so, such information should be accessible to clinicians when need arises. In addition, information systems should be usable by clinicians while also being manageable by healthcare institutions (Dartmouth).

Concerning security and privacy of information also, information systems fail to define clear paths through which stakeholders in a healthcare institution exchange and use information. Such failure often leads to the compromise of security of information when it ends up being accessed by the wrong people. Healthcare institutions are developed due to social and economical interests. With this in mind, it is possible for individuals to remain secretive just to prevent exposure of strategic aspect of business.

On the other hand, staff may not feel obliged to safeguard patients’ information, probably because they assume it would have no effect to the financial status of the health facility. If by any chance, an employee communicates this information to an outsider, the purpose of putting information systems in health institutions is breached. This is one of the disappointing failures that are faced by implementing information systems (IS); they are to some extent dependant on staff goodwill to cooperate with the information systems.

Marckie and Somerville characterize information systems failures into three simple types. The first type of failure is “failure to deliver expected service. This means that information is not availed at all and therefore any services that depended on the said information are not offered. Secondly, healthcare institutions may experience “incorrect delivery of expected service”. The information delivered may be incorrect and even when it is correct, it may not be as timely as required.

Correct information may also be delivered to the wrong destination within a healthcare institution. The third type of information systems failure according to Marckie and Somerville is the “delivery of incorrect service”. This not only leads to confusion in service delivery but also delays and lack of service provision all at the same time. Besides, the gravity of the consequences that can be caused by the use of the wrong information cannot be underestimated. This puts the safety of patients at risk when the wrong information is used in their treatment.