Data has become a critical tool for decision-making and improvement of care provided to patients in healthcare settings. Therefore, health care organizations should develop the competency to collect, analyze, and use data to support decision-making when interactive with stakeholders, including patients, their families, and health care providers in a health care organization. Health care analytics support information management and use in health care organizations when managers and informatics experts understand analytic discovery instead of focusing on straight facts. Besides, they should learn how to gather data and process it to generate information useful in decision-making and to improve patient care and outcomes. The beginning place to develop information systems that can support decision-making in health care is to understand data needs in the setting. The knowledge helps to design effective strategies to meet the needs and improve decision-making through adequate and quality information.
Types of Internal Data
The current analysis focuses on the data needs at Vila Health’s main hospital, St. Anthony Medical Center, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Various types of internal data are available within a health care system, which can be used to support decision-making. One type of the data is patient records, which are collected from the moment the patient enters the hospital to the final treatment and discharge in case of admission. The data is collected, processed, and stored in health information systems for ease of retrieval whenever necessary to support decision-making. The second type of internal data for decision-making is administrative data, which is collected in the course of providing and paying for health services. Administrative data is collected from claims, enrollment encounter, and provider systems. Patient surveys form another important type of internal data in health care settings, and include patient’s self-reported information relation to their care experience and satisfaction level. Data from health care providers, such as their interactions with patient and staff satisfaction can also form an important part of internal data.
Regarding internal data available at the hospital, Vila Health has various data needs of decision makers, such as unit managers, department heads, and hospital administrators. Decision-makers at the hospital affirmed that they need adequate internal data to make critical decisions related to patient care and the experience of the facility’s medical staff. The hospital needs an up-to-date information system to collect, analyze and store patient data to use for decision-making to improve health care services. From the interview with the hospital staff, the hospital has a health information system, but it does not capture all data necessary, such as patient surveys to understand their satisfaction level and self-report on experience. Therefore, the management affirms the need for a better health information system to improve information collection, processing, and reporting for better decision-making and improved patient care. Besides the improved system, the hospital requires skilled informatics experts to support information collection and management. According to Crawford, informatics play a key role in ensuring that managers in health care settings have readily-available to support decision-making. While the hospital has information management experts, it needs superior training for informatics experts to improve decision-making.
Types of Eternal Data
Apart from the data available within the hospital, it also relies in external data from various sources to make critical decisions to improve services and the quality of care. Within the healthcare system, various sources of external data are identified. The government at the local, state, and federal levels provide critical information, such as health care funding and policy data that is useful at the healthcare organization to support decision-making. Besides, national and international organizations, such as the World Health Organization and CDC provide important data, such as disease surveillance that managers require to make critical decisions. Insurance information from private and public providers also provide critical data, such as reimbursement, which managers use in decision-making, such as whether to provide patient care based on health cover status. The facility can also use information from other medical facilities, such as their payment systems and types of services provided, when making their internal decisions. Thus, the facility should have an effective system for collecting such external data.
The interview at Vila Health, it emerged that the facility lacks an effective information management system and experts to collect external data, regardless of their acknowledgement that such kind of data is necessary. For example, the facility lacks an effective system to collect data from national and international organizations, such as on disease surveillance. Interviewed individuals affirmed that they would need to have up-to-date data on various diseases, such as COVID-19, but they can only get the information from the Internet since the hospital lacks an in-house information system for such purpose. Besides, the hospital needs a better system to track insurance information since the current one is not as effective as it is considering an increase in the traffic of patients in the facility. For example, the management suggested that in some cases, they have to call the insurance provider to verify information that should be available in real-time. Therefore, the hospital needs an effective system to collect the different types of external data useful in decision-making.
Strategies for Accessing and Analyzing Available Data
Vila Health can use recommended strategies and standards to improve data mining, analytics and reporting to improve decision-making. The most effective strategy for managers and care providers to access and analyze data is to implement and improve the various information systems to collect internal and external data, which can be collected and analyzed quantitatively or qualitatively. Therefore, the first strategic option for the facility is to create an integrated information system to collect and manage internal data to support decision-making in hospitals. The advantage of such a system is making information readily available for managers to make decisions to improve patient care. However, the strategic option has a drawback in that it will have a huge capital investment for the facility to acquire software and hardware to design the information system. Therefore, a cost-benefit analysis if the hospital will implement the information system to support data collection and management in the facility.
High-Level Summary of the Data Needs
While the Vila Health system is effective in providing health care services, it has numerous data needs that makes it limited in collecting, analyzing, and managing internal and external data to support decisions. The most important needs for the facility are the need for systems to improve collection and analysis of internal data since it is the most critical in decision-making processes. Besides, within the hospital, collection of patient data is the most important data need at the hospital. The hospital needs a system to collect patient data and corroborate it with other types of data, such as insurance information and patient survey to improve collaboration and decision-making. External data needs are important but not as important as the internal ones. They should be addressed after the internal data needs.
Strategies for Meeting the Data Needs
The recommendation for the company is the recruitment and training of informatics experts in the hospital to improve information collection and analysis to address the data needs at the facility. The option is necessary and beneficial as Chen, Lukyanenko, and Tremblay it will address information quality issues and support data management to improve decision-making and relationship between patients and care providers. Competence informatics is necessary to improve effective management and use of big data generated internally and externally. However, the option will create the challenge of corporate culture and the cost of recruiting and training new employees for the facility. The last recommendation for the facility is improving collaboration within the hospital to make data collection more effective. Collaboration in data collection, analysis, and decision-making will help the hospital to become better at data mining, analysis, management, and retrieval for decision-making purpose. While the option will improve decision-making, it might create complexity and difficult relationships when every person become a member of the data analytics team. Besides, the decision-making process might become complicated and become a lengthy process.
Communication is critical to ensure that all stakeholders support the strategic decision, which is to create an integrated information system and train informatics experts to meet the data needs of the hospital. The management will create an internal memo and send it via email to all stakeholders within the organization. Besides, they will have a meeting with relevant stakeholders to communicate the intended change to create the information system and train informatics experts to collect, analyze and manage data.
The proposed solution to address the identified data needs at Vila Health is upgrading the current information system to improve data management and decision-making. The organization has disparate information systems, such as health information system for patient records. However, the system is ineffective in managing information for effective decision-making and promoting patient care through collaboration and information sharing. The hospital’s health administrator will create a plan to implement the necessary change and improve data management processes. The plan will include details about the how and when to implement the upgraded information system. The change process will integrate project management best practices to develop and implement the plan, with clear steps on how to integrate the final change into the hospital’s activities. The management will take into account the size and services provided by the hospital to ensure that it meets its data needs and improve decision-making and patient care.
The Plan for Collecting and Analyzing Data
The leader will require both internal and external data to prepare for the implementation of the upgraded information system. The internal data will include the patient population, the number of staff, the number of units and departments, collaborating partners, and other stakeholders affected by the change. External data will include information technology policies and standards, insurance coverage, and vendor information to understand how and where to source the necessary software and hardware.
The management will use various internal and external sources of data to design and implement the upgraded information system. The internal sources will include patient records when they are treated or admitted at the hospital, patient surveys, staff self-report, and hospital records. External data will include public and private insurance records, government report and policy documents, business records for vendor information, and health care organization’s reports. The management will integrate the data to support the design and implementation of the proposed information system.
Data analysis is a critical step in the implementation planning. The data analysis process will include corroboration of all data from diverse sources to determine the relevant and eliminate irrelevant data before using it to design and implement the upgraded information system. The analysis will include numerical procedures to provide clear relationships in the data before integrating it into the implementation process.
Propose Criteria for Evaluating Organizational Needs
The organization could have numerous and competing needs that should be addressed in the implementation of the upgraded information system. However, not all needs are a priority at the moment due to limited resources and time. Therefore, the implementing team should define a criteria for evaluating the organization needs to determine the ones to prioritize. The most important factor to consider is the impact of the change on the quality and safety of the care that the facility provides to patients. The most important needs are those that relate to patient outcomes directly. Daly provides the need to focus on patient care when implementing health information system since patients are the most important stakeholders in the implementation process. The second factor to consider in the process is the ease with which the proposed information system will support collaboration and decision-making. The system should be effective in supporting data collection and analysis for effective decision-making. The system should also support ease of access to information to support collaboration between units, departments, and other organizations affiliated with Vila Health. The three conditions must be met for the implementation process to be successful and impellent a system that meets the identified data and organizational needs.
A Plan for Generating Reports
Critical information will be shared with decision-makers to support the implementation of the upgraded information system. Various types of information will be shared. First, the implementing team will share information about the resources (hardware and software) necessary to invest in the new system. Secondly, the team will share information from a cost-benefit analysis to justify the new system in meeting data and organizational needs. Finally, they will share information about the anticipated impact of the new system on different stakeholders, such as patients and health care providers. The implementing team will also provide information about the project progress once it begins.
The information sharing process between the implementing team and key decision-makers will begin from the beginning of the project and continue regularly until the process is complete. The first meeting will be held before the project is initiated to inform the key decision-makers about the plan and requirements. The initial meeting is critical to obtain permission and support for the implementation of the upgraded information system. The implementation team will provide a detailed report of the plan for the implementation and keep updating it as the project continues. They will share the report monthly and the final one once the final deliverable (implemented information system) is presented to Vila Health’s management.
Personnel and Logistics Needed for the Implementation Plan
The implementation team should consider key project requirements and considerations, such as the guidelines to the project. The team will create guidelines and communicate the standards and best practice in project management. Another requirement for the project is the financial resources necessary to invest in software, hardware, and the staff to design and implement the upgraded information system (Lee & Lee, 2015). Besides, the resources, the implementation team will include staffing and training considerations to support successful implementation. The justification for the identified need is a needs assessment and cost-benefit analysis. The plan for the implementation will include the analysis of the cost of the investment in the system and the expected benefits to ensure that the latter outweighs the former to make the investment worthwhile. The implantation team should prove the decision-makers that the project will achieve benefits of improving patient care and decision-making in the organization.
The timeline for the project is three months after approval. Various assumptions underlie the timeline, such as that the resources will be adequate to implement the program from the beginning to the end. Another assumption is that the project will not have any unintended eventuality that might affect the schedule negatively, such as a virus or program disruption. The team also assumes that all stakeholders will support the implementation process. However, the implementation team will consider areas of uncertainty or lack of information that could lead to delays and missed deadlines. One of the delays is failure by the vendor or supplier to deliver a requirements within deadline. Any delay in the delivery of a software or hardware component might delay the achievement of the deadline. Another possible delay is resistance from any key stakeholder, such as members of staff. The implementation team should account for contingencies, such as additional budget or timeline to meet the cost of such an eventuality.
Components of the Health Information System.
Various system components will be included in the cost-benefit analysis, including the costs for the full system life cycle. The components will include Cost Categories, Activities and Resources, Direct and Indirect Costs (Overhead), Personnel Costs, Depreciation, and Annual Costs.
Gaps between Current Health IT and Future Needs
The organization has gaps in the current IT and future needs, such as the fact that the current information system does not meet the needs of the increasing patient population due to the integration of new organizations to the parent health system. Forecasted future needs, such as quality care and improved decision-making will affect the present system integration decisions. The current integration will help the organization to improve future decision-making and enhance the quality of care provided to the increasing number of patients.
Costs of Implementing an Upgraded System
The costs that will be included in the analysis are the cost of software and hardware (direct cost), personnel cost (implementation and maintenance), overhead cost, and activities and resources. Leaders should consider relevant issues, objectives, and decisions regarding short- and long-term costs of the implementation. The additional information that could improve the analysis is inclusion of actual costs of the various components to create an objective analysis of the cost to compare with benefits.
The Benefits of Implementing an Upgraded System
The upgraded system will have numerous benefits that will be compared with the costs to determine which one is greater and rationalize the upgraded system. The benefits are in various categories, such as services, capabilities, and quality improvement from the upgraded system. In terms of services, the system will improve decision-making and the care that patients receive from the health system. Capabilities of the service providers will also improve following implementation of the ungraded system. Quality improvement is the most important benefit from the new system since it will increase efficiency, reduce the time taken to provide care, and increase satisfaction by reducing medial errors.
The Costs and Benefits of not implementing an Upgraded System
The alternative in the process is failure to implement the upgraded system, which will not have any direct cost implication, but will have indirect costs, such as poor patient outcomes and poor level of satisfaction. The organization might fail to achieve improved quality and decision-making outcomes. However, the benefit of the failure will be avoiding the investment necessary to implement an upgraded system. The management should consider issues, such as poor decision-making and decline in quality and objectives, such as the need to increase service speed and reduce errors in leadership decisions.
The Impact of Evolving Business Trends on System Upgrade Decisions
The implementation team will consider business trends, such as increase in the use of big data and analytics since they will affect the upgrading process. The IT industry has changed and improved IT resources and data analytical capabilities that the organization should include in the implementation process. The trends will influence the cost-benefit analysis and project implementation due to the reducing cost of IT implementation in the recent years. IT systems have improved in capability, but reduced in cost.
The cost analysis of the information system shows that the benefits of the system outweighs the cost. Although it will invest in the direct and indirect costs, the benefits regarding quality improvement and decision-making makes the implementation a rational decision.
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