Health Informatics & Analytics

Health Informatics & Analytics is about gathering and analyzing healthcare data. The goal is to reduce inefficiencies and increase the quality of care provided to patients. Some of the tasks of an informaticist might include improving communication between healthcare professionals, safely collecting and storing data, and removing human error. There are many uses for this field, both in hospitals and private practices.

What Is Health Informatics & Analytics?

Health informatics is an innovative and quickly growing field that involves making use of technology to improve the care provided by medical experts. Cloud-based systems and artificial intelligence are used to predict patients’ conditions, simplify the recording, storing, and retrieving of data, and alert doctors to changes in patients’ well-being. Because AI is not prone to human error, the number of mistakes can be reduced and care can be improved.

Predicting Conditions 

Often, medical conditions are extremely hard to diagnose, especially because many symptoms aren’t unique to one problem and because some issues are caused by emotional factors as well as physical problems. For example, a headache can indicate a wide range of issues, and it can be difficult to pinpoint what factors are contributing to the patient’s pain.

AI can collect and analyze a vast amount of data about a patient, which makes it easier to figure out what is going on. For example, a study in 2019 involved using an algorithm that could analyze the speech patterns of children to diagnose depression. When combined with parent questionnaires and additional data, the algorithm was correct 80% of the time. This technology could speed up diagnosis and find issues that doctors might overlook.

Voice Dictation

Nowadays, all medical records are kept digitally, so they are accessible to every healthcare professional who needs to work with a given patient. Despite this, doctors still spend a lot of time on data entry, which reduces their efficiency and increases the costs of treating each patient. Health informatics professionals are currently figuring out how voice dictation could be used to reduce this administrative task.

AI systems can recognize and record a doctor’s voice in real time, which means that they can transcribe the information while the consultation is happening. Currently, this method has about a 7% error rate, so the clinician has to proofread the transcription. However, it can still save a lot of time and make record keeping less of a hassle.

Alert Optimization 

Medical professionals often work more than 50 hours a week, so they might be tired and worn out. This can lead to oversights, missed tests, and misdiagnosis, which reduce the effectiveness of our healthcare system. AI and advanced technology can be used to eliminate human error because it can alert doctors to certain issues.

For example, good software can let doctors know when tests are overdue or when they have to follow up with a given patient. Because too many alerts are just as ineffective as none at all, many data analysts are currently working on reducing the number of alerts but increasing their usefulness.

Storing and Retrieving Information 

Most healthcare professionals work with various programs, image types, and file types. For example, patients might get a CT scan, an MRI, and an x-ray, and each of these is stored in a different place and in a different file format. This can make diagnosis and treatment very challenging, since doctors might have trouble finding the necessary information.

In recent years, informaticists have been working on creating a comprehensive system that allows each patient’s information to be displayed and accessed in an intuitive way. When you can retrieve a single file that contains all the important information, you can save time and increase the quality of care.

Cloud-Based Healthcare Systems 

A good health informatics team can help you shift all your data to the cloud. This is simpler and more effective than storing your data internally because you won’t need any software and hardware. Authorized users will be able to access everything from their devices, so they can get updates in real time even when they’re not onsite. What’s more, it’s easier to guarantee security, since there are ways to encrypt and protect information via two-factor authentication.

Almost every healthcare facility could benefit from incorporating Health Informatics & Analytics in their operations. This field of study can improve the efficiency of your system by helping you predict and diagnose conditions, storing your data, and optimizing communication between employees. Get in touch with us at River Axe to find out more about our healthcare IT solutions. We’d love to hear about your ideas and show you what our software can do.

Why Quality Healthcare IT Means Better Care for Your Patients

Technology can make managing any business infinitely easier, including businesses in industries such as healthcare. From private practices to larger hospitals, medical facilities can benefit from using advanced software. Learn everything you need to know about healthcare IT consulting and how this technology can provide better care for patients.

Why Quality Healthcare IT Consulting Means Better Care for Your Patients

Healthcare IT is software and other technology that is designed to make it easier to provide prompt care for more patients. Many hospitals and doctor’s offices are integrating healthcare IT into everyday management for patients, moving beyond the standard scheduling applications used by receptionists.

A healthcare IT consulting firm will be able to design technology that will allow medical facilities to provide better care for patients from start to finish. Here are a few of the most important features of healthcare IT.

Managing Electronic Health Record Software

The most fundamental role of healthcare IT is managing electronic health record software. Healthcare IT consulting services will install electronic health record software that can make it easier to organize patient files and physician schedules. Over the last few years, electronic healthcare records have been crucial for both physician offices and insurance billing.

Electronic health records put all information about patients in one place, including health history, medications, family health history, labs and exams, diagnoses, and upcoming appointments. By having all information about patients in a single application, it makes it much easier for physicians to access relevant information to provide patients with more accurate care.

Providing On-Demand Technical Assistance

Engaging with a healthcare IT consulting firm can also provide on-demand technical assistance. Although many electronic health records are designed to store information online and offline, the software may eventually run into a problem. For example, the server could go offline and make it difficult to access patient information.

On-demand technical assistance can provide IT troubleshooting, either in person or over the phone. Whether it’s a problem with the server or the software needs to be updated, on-demand technical assistance is essential so that physicians can get back to treating patients quickly

Integrating Health Informatics

It’s much easier to use electronic health records when health informatics and analytics have been integrated into the software. For example, the best applications for managing patient health records include medical terminology that is synced to insurance and billing codes. The software used by a medical facility can also include clinical guidelines to make it easier to form an accurate diagnosis.

Streamlining Health Communication Systems

Because of the structure of most health-care systems, referrals are needed to see specialists. This is one reason why it’s important for health communication systems to be streamlined to provide patients with quicker care. For example, private healthcare facilities can do electronic consultations with a specialist to more quickly diagnose a patient.

With physicians able to talk directly with each other and share lab results, the patient can receive a faster, more accurate treatment or be referred to a specialist more quickly for urgent medical needs. Streamlining the communication system in a healthcare facility can be the difference between life and death.

Developing Software

Healthcare IT consulting services can also develop turn-key technology for healthcare facilities. With an agile methodology and a model-driven approach, developing software for healthcare settings can be customized to the needs of each medical facility or physician. By having turn-key software development, physician and patient needs can be met at the push of a button.

Protecting Patient Information

Finally, healthcare IT is also charged with protecting patient information. Electronic health information is a matter of privacy, and all medical facilities must comply with HIPAA standards to protect patient information. However, any time information is stored on an electronic database, the risk of data breaches is much greater. For this reason, healthcare IT must also provide protection against cyber threats.

Why Medical Facilities Need Electronic Health Records

In the last several years, more and more medical facilities have shifted to electronic health records. There are a few reasons why electronic health records are preferred among physicians and medical facilities. For example, using electronic health records is more sustainable for the environment since it cuts down on paper waste. Other reasons why medical facilities should integrate electronic health records include:

Increased Admin Efficiency

Using electronic health records can increase the efficiency of administrative workers, such as receptionists and schedulers. This is because the administrative staff will be able to see the patient’s upcoming schedule with physicians to allow for more prompt care. Increasing efficiency also occurs because receptionists are no longer overwhelmed with paperwork.

Additionally, administrative staff that works with insurance billing and coding can also increase productivity. This is because electronic health records are often integrated with international coding data, which can be used to directly bill insurance companies to pay for patient care. Some software systems may also have online payment portals for patients to pay bills, which also reduces the work of administrative staff.

Improved Diagnostics

Improving diagnostics is essential for physicians and patients. Electronic health records give physicians access to complete health information about the patient, which can make the difference in identifying conditions when it’s time to form a diagnosis. Improving diagnostic ability means that the patient will benefit from better medical care, including the use of better interventions and medications to improve patient health.

Error Prevention

Electronic health records can also prevent errors that can endanger the patient. For example, some electronic health records have a built-in warning system, medication interaction alerts, or other programs to ensure the patient is receiving safe care. Not only is preventing errors important for the health of patients, but it’s also important for physicians to reduce the risk of malpractice claims.

Enhanced Patient Safety

Electronic health records are a crucial component of emergency room services. When a patient is received in a hospital emergency room, information about their condition is recorded in the electronic health record that is synced to the hospital’s main patient information system. This provides emergency room doctors with information about medications patients and current health conditions.

Furthermore, the treatments a patient receives in an emergency room can also be synchronized with the patient’s overall medical record. Their primary care physician can review this information to provide better continued care after emergency room situations, including refilling medications or ordering follow-up labs.

Increased Risk Management

Electronic health records can also increase risk management and liability prevention. By improving health analytics, communication of patient information, and evidence-based decisions for patient care, the overall risk for both patient and physician is significantly reduced. For medical facilities, increasing risk management is important so that physicians can continue to provide care for more patients.

Decreased Healthcare Costs

When electronic records are used, medical facilities can benefit by decreasing healthcare costs. With the reduction of manpower for managing physical patient records, healthcare facilities can divert funds from patient records to other patient needs. For some facilities, this can reduce healthcare costs for patients by allowing the medical facility to provide more services pro bono.

Expanded Access

Many medical facilities that use electronic health records can also expand access to patients on different insurance plans. When patient information is streamlined and accessible by physicians, it makes it easier for physicians to accurately treat more patients. This means that the medical facility can expand affordable healthcare access to patients who are on state or government insurance plans.

Improved Medication Management

Using electronic health records and other technology can also improve medication management for patients and providers. For example, patients who need a refill on a prescription can directly request refills through secure electronic messages. On the other side, physicians can electronically request refills with pharmacies, which can help the patient receive medications quickly.

Furthermore, electronic prescribing can reduce medication errors, check for dangerous drug interactions, and ultimately make medication management more efficient. This method can also reduce costs for patients since physicians will be able to quickly prescribe generic medications if brand-name medications are not covered by the patient’s insurance.

Involved Patients

Finally, electronic health records can involve patients in their own care. Patient education is essential since patients who have knowledge about their health conditions can make healthier choices. For example, when patients can access lab results and accurate, science-based health information about their specific condition, they will be able to actively monitor their own health.

This is crucial for preventive care. Integrating preventative care can be instrumental in preventing serious lifelong illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and more. Involving patients is also another way to improve patient care because patients can advocate for themselves and bring concerns to the attention of their physicians.

Healthcare IT consulting is an important resource for medical facilities to use. Not only can healthcare IT provide medical facilities with turn-key software applications, but these applications can also make it easier to manage electronic healthcare records, integrate health informatics, streamline health communication, and protect patient privacy. Contact RiverAxe to discuss designing software to manage electronic health records for your patients today.

12 Problems That Can Be Solved With Healthcare Information Technology

Healthcare information technology (healthcare IT) has played a critical role in the medical industry in recent years by offering solutions to many long-standing problems. With a wide array of electronic systems available, from teleconferencing software to electronic health records, virtually every business need can be met with this technology, and many applications can be custom-tailored to tackle unique issues. For a better understanding of how this technology can help healthcare providers, here are twelve problems that it can easily solve.

12 Problems That Can Be Solved With Healthcare Information Technology

1. Safety Issues and Liabilities

Having a secure and well-organized health information system can improve patient safety while also reducing liability. Because patient information can be stored in IT databases, medical personnel can use it to ensure that they’re prescribing appropriate medications based on a patient’s medical history, current medications, lab results, or allergies.

When practitioners need to make quick decisions, having this information on hand and readily accessible can prevent serious mistakes from being made. Also, many systems can be programmed to alert users of potential red flag scenarios. So if a patient is currently taking a medication that might interact with another, this type of information can be highlighted within the system so that all practitioners accessing the patient’s medical records are instantly aware of it.

2. Communication Barriers

When multiple staff members are interacting with a patient, it’s important that both their actions and the patient’s responses are recorded. Healthcare IT helps to facilitate communication between staff members in different departments or buildings so that a patient’s progress, changes in their treatment plans, and any positive or negative responses to those changes can be documented and shared.

Not only does this improve workflow and staff efficiency, but it also leads to better overall patient care. If a patient is responding favorably to intervention, this technology provides the tools needed to identify this type of trend, allowing practitioners to quickly discover what’s working and what’s not working for a particular patient.

This also means that trends amongst groups of patients can be identified as well. If many patients with a similar disorder or disease are reporting improvements with one treatment plan over another, the superior approach can be recognized early on.

3. Confusion Among Patients

To reduce patient inquiries while providing superior service, online portals allow patients to quickly access the information they need without having to make phone calls to do so. This not only leads to greater patient satisfaction and clarity but also helps to free up resources, so staff members can focus their attention where it’s most needed.

With patient portals, patients can receive updated information from their nurses or practitioners, schedule appointments, and access a digital file of their medical records or billing information. Communication between patients and staff members can also take place within these portals, so unlike an individual email address, any correspondence that has taken place can be seen by all staff members who have access.

4. High Operational Costs

Analytical software can help identify unnecessary spending, which can cut down on operational costs. Everything from the management of supplies to equipment usage can be tracked and monitored, so changes in procedures can be made with confidence based on what the data says.

If one piece of equipment is more cost-efficient to use than another yet provides the same level of service to customers, this could save a company millions of dollars, and it’s the data that would show this.

5. A Lack of Analytical Data

Because all types of data can be stored and retrieved, it can later be analyzed to identify where improvements can be made, such as during the intake process or at the point of care. If the data shows that patients require a particular service at any point during their appointment, changes can be made to offer this service based on what the data says.

Comprehensive data can also help to pinpoint areas of service where employees can be best utilized, which can lead to greater productivity by freeing up labor resources that can be better allocated elsewhere.

6. Problems With Prescriptions

Healthcare information technology can also help to streamline specific services, which can simplify things for both patients and staff. Instead of writing prescriptions by hand, practitioners can utilize electronic prescribing (e-Prescribing) to send patients’ prescriptions directly to pharmacies. This can reduce the possibility of errors that sometimes occur with handwriting and can save both parties time by doing away with the traditional prescription pad.

This is much more convenient for patients, as an electronic prescription is sent to a pharmacy instantly, so it’s normally ready for pick-up by the time the patient arrives there. It can also save both patients and practitioners time by eliminating the possibility of lost or amended prescription papers. Instead of having to visit a provider again to replace a prescription or to fix a problem with it, a phone call is all that’s needed to ensure it’s on file or to amend it.

7. Excessive Paperwork

Digital records and forms can help save time for both patients and staff. In a scenario where a staff member is tasked with inputting information based on patient-completed paper forms, this can be converted to a digital format, and static information that does not change, such as a customer’s name, address, and social security number can be saved on file instead.

Filing cabinets full of patients’ medical records can be replaced with physical servers and cloud-based virtual servers. This means that if there’s ever any data loss, you’ll have a secure backup to quickly replace it.

8. Immobile Patients

Other services, such as consultations or some forms of therapy, can be offered through teleconferencing software instead of in person at the office. This can save companies money by reducing office hours while also offering patients a stay-at-home option, which can be particularly convenient for those with physical limitations.

If a patient’s treatment requires repetitive tasks, such as physical therapy exercises, videos can be recorded and scheduled for patients through online portals. This can save time and resources while providing patients the convenience of being able to access their therapy sessions at any time of day. Educational videos, digital guides, and other forms of information can be provided alongside live teleconferencing appointments as well.

9. Missed Follow-Ups

Follow-ups can be more effective when both parties are reminded. Through digital software and online portals, both patients and staff can receive automated reminders about things like medications, appointments, or continuing at-home therapy sessions.

This can greatly enhance the patient-doctor relationship, and it also provides a quick way to send out updates or information. In scenarios where there are emergencies, such as natural disasters in the area, or if there’s been a change in operating business hours, this can be instantly communicated to all patients in multiple ways with this technology.

10. Security Weaknesses

Healthcare IT also enhances security and patient privacy protection by offering advanced features like file encryption, which is a secure way of storing information while preventing unauthorized users from accessing it. Patient records and analytical data can also be access-controlled with PINs or passwords, allowing administrators to designate varying levels of access to different staff members.

All of this can also help to maintain compliance with government regulations, as the HIPAA Security Rule requires that patient information is stored with a specific amount of protection to prevent data breaches. If a company needs to relocate or if there are power outages and equipment becomes damaged, cloud-based options are available so that vital records and company information are always safe and secure at all times.

11. Common Billing Errors

Health technology software can also improve medical billing practices by keeping track of payments and overdue accounts while maintaining records of all correspondence with insurance companies. Billed services can be paired with other forms of data, such as HIPAA-compliant medical coding, for an all-in-one software solution.

Billing discrepancies are more easily discovered with software designed specifically to look for them, while the risk of double-billing patients is drastically reduced. Before a patient is late making a payment, a system can automatically send out an email as a reminder. Submitting insurance claims or verifying the patient’s insurance can also be done through the same software.

12. Monitoring Difficulties

For patients with chronic conditions who still require monitoring after a discharge from inpatient care, healthcare IT can combine office software with medical sensors in a remote monitoring scenario. If there are any changes in a patient’s condition, such as a rise in blood pressure or a drop in body temperature, staff can be alerted to it immediately.

Data can also be remotely gathered and analyzed on a continual basis, which can help predict certain events before they happen. This allows healthcare professionals to introduce interventions quickly to avoid medical emergencies later.

Healthcare information technology is helping millions of healthcare companies by improving patient-provider relationships, cutting operational costs, increasing patient safety, and reducing liabilities. To see how this technology can help your organization or clinical practice, contact us today at Riveraxe for a free consultation.

What Is the Difference Between Clinical Informatics and Health Informatics?

Clinical informatics and health informatics are two closely related fields that deal with the use of information technology in healthcare. Both disciplines are concerned with the collection, management, sharing, and analysis of data to improve patient care. However, there are some key differences between the two. Read on as our healthcare IT solutions experts at Riveraxe give some key distinctions.

Healthcare IT Solutions: What Is the Difference Between Clinical Informatics and Health Informatics?

Clinical Informatics

Clinical informatics is a branch of healthcare that deals with the application of information technology to improve patient care. It covers a wide range of topics, from the use of electronic health records to the development of clinical decision support systems. This field is constantly evolving as new technologies are introduced. However, its ultimate goal remains the same: to use information technology to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare on an individual level.

There are many different ways in which this field of informatics can be used to improve patient care. For example, electronic health records can help to reduce medication errors and improve communication between caregivers. Clinical decision support systems can provide clinicians with up-to-date information on the latest treatment guidelines. And mobile applications can help patients keep track of their medications and appointments.

Health Informatics

Health informatics is the intersection of healthcare and information technology. It encompasses the practices and procedures used to collect, store, use, and share health data and information. The goal of this field of informatics is to improve patient care, public health, and national healthcare administration through the use of data and technology.

Informatics tools are used by healthcare providers to track patient medical histories, diagnoses, medications, and treatment plans. This information can be shared with other providers, specialists, and patients themselves. These systems can also be used to monitor public health trends and track the spread of diseases. By analyzing this data, health officials can develop interventions and policies to improve the overall health of the population.

The Impact

While these fields of informatics are still evolving, they have already made a significant impact on healthcare. EHRs have been shown to improve communication between providers, reduce duplicate testing and procedures, and decrease the risk of medication errors. Patient portals have also been shown to engage patients in their own care and improve communication with their providers. As this field continues to evolve, it is expected to play an even bigger role in improving healthcare delivery on a national level.

Healthcare IT Solutions That Use Clinical and Health Informatics

1. Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are digital records used by healthcare providers to document patient care. First appearing in the 1960s, EHRs were initially developed for use by the federal government. However, it was not until the 1980s that they became more affordable, and since then, their use has spread throughout the healthcare industry.

Today, EHRs are an essential part of healthcare delivery, providing a comprehensive record of a patient’s care history. In addition, EHRs can be used to support population health management and research efforts.

2. Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)

EMRs were first developed in 1972, but their use was limited until the late 1990s when the advent of the personal computer made it possible for clinicians to access and update patient records electronically. Electronic medical records contain information about a patient’s health history, such as diagnoses, medications, allergies, immunizations, procedures, and lab results.

EMRs can be created, accessed, and shared by authorized clinicians and staff within a single healthcare organization. Note that EMRs are different from electronic health records (EHRs), which are longitudinal records that can be shared across different care settings.

3. Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS)

Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) are computer-based systems that provide clinicians with patient-specific information, knowledge, and decision support at the point of care. CDSS can perform crucial functions such as suggesting diagnostic and therapeutic options, recommending evidence-based order sets, and calculating disease risk scores.

Specific use cases of CDSS include alerting clinicians to potential adverse drug events, suggesting alternative medications for patients with allergies or drug-drug interactions, and providing real-time guidance during procedures.

4. Computerized Physician Order Entry Systems (CPOEs)

Computerized physician order entry systems (CPOE) are computer systems that physicians use to directly enter orders for medications, lab tests, and other treatments. CPOE systems can be used for both inpatient and outpatient care. They typically include a drug database, a lab test database, and a way to electronically communicate orders to pharmacists and laboratories.

CPOE systems can help improve patient safety by reducing medical errors and increasing the accuracy of orders. They can also help to streamline the ordering process and reduce the time needed to complete orders. Some CPOE systems also include clinical decision support tools that provide guidance on ordering decisions based on evidence-based medicine guidelines.

5. Patient Portals

A patient portal is a secure online platform that gives patients 24-hour access to personal health information and medical records. Patients can use portals to message their care team, schedule appointments, and pay bills. Patient portals allow patients to perform different functions, including the ability to view test results and refill prescriptions. Portals also provide better self-management of chronic diseases and increased patient engagement in their own care.

In addition, portals can help reduce no-show rates and make it easier for providers to collect patient-reported data. Practical use cases for patient portals include appointments and medication reminders and online bill pay.

6. Telehealth and Telemedicine

Telehealth and telemedicine are two related but distinct terms often used in healthcare IT. Telehealth generally refers to the use of technology to distribute health-related services and data, while telemedicine specifically refers to the use of video conferencing to diagnose and treat patients. Both telehealth and telemedicine offer several benefits, including increased access to care, improved patient engagement, and lower costs.

In addition, telehealth and telemedicine can be used to support different care modalities, including preventive care, chronic disease management, and mental health services. While there are many potential applications for telehealth and telemedicine, they are likely to continue to grow in popularity as healthcare organizations look for ways to improve access to care while controlling costs.

7. Healthcare Apps

Healthcare apps are mobile applications that allow patients to manage their health and wellbeing. There is a wide range of different healthcare apps available, from those that track fitness levels and monitor diet, to those that provide information on conditions and medications. Some apps also allow patients to book appointments and order prescriptions.

While many apps are free to download, some require a subscription. Healthcare apps can be a useful tool for patients, providing them with well-being resources as well as information and support when needed.

8. Health Information Exchanges (HIEs)

Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are systems that allow the electronic sharing of health information between organizations within a given region or state. These systems are designed to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare by making it easier for providers to access and share patient information.

In addition, these types of clinical informatics are particularly useful for coordinating care among different providers, such as hospitals, specialists, and primary care physicians. They can also help to reduce duplicate testing and provide critical health information in emergency situations.

Benefits of Implementing Healthcare IT Solutions in Your Facility

Enhanced Communication

By implementing these solutions, you can improve communication among staff, clinicians, and patients. With better communication, you can provide better patient care and make sure that everyone has the information they need, when needed.

Lowered Costs

Healthcare IT solutions can help lower the cost of healthcare in a number of ways. By improving the efficiency of hospital operations, automating tasks that are currently performed manually, and reducing the need for paper records, healthcare IT systems can help reduce the overall cost of healthcare delivery.

Optimized Workflow

Healthcare IT systems are responsible for handling a vast amount of data generated by the healthcare industry. This includes everything from patient medical records and billing information to insurance claims and research data. In order to effectively manage this data, healthcare IT systems must be highly efficient and flexible. One way to do this is to optimize workflow by automating repetitive tasks and streamlining data handling.

Improved Patient Outcomes

When patient information is readily available and easily accessible, doctors are able to make more informed decisions about treatment. In addition, healthcare IT systems can help to streamline the process of scheduling appointments and ordering prescriptions. As a result, patients are more likely to receive the care they need in a timely manner.

Reduced Errors

In the healthcare industry, even a small mistake can have serious consequences. That’s why it’s so important for hospitals and other medical organizations to adopt comprehensive healthcare IT solutions that can help reduce errors and improve patient care. Some of the most effective healthcare IT systems include EHRs and EMRs.

Let’s Talk About Health and Clinical IT Solutions!

By improving communication and data sharing among providers, patients, and caregivers, health informatics systems make it easier to find and share vital patient information. If you’re looking for a reliable partner who can provide you with bespoke health and clinical IT solutions, call us at Riveraxe. We can help you replace, migrate, develop, deploy, and implement the right solution for your needs and get you on the path to better patient care.

What Is Health Information Technology?

More and more healthcare businesses are choosing to incorporate technological solutions into their everyday operations. Health information technology can make hospitals and clinics more efficient and allows them to serve their patients better. What’s more, IT systems almost always save money because they speed up the distribution of information and allow healthcare facilities to offer a superior service.


A good health IT system includes various components such as electronic prescribing, electronic health records, personal health records, and privacy and security solutions. These elements facilitate communication between healthcare providers and their patients and allow everybody to work together. As a result, there is less room for error. Read on to find out more about the innovative health IT solutions offered by firms like RiverAxe.


What Is Health Information Technology?

This term describes the tools and systems that are used by healthcare professionals to interact with patients, store sensitive data, and analyze health information. Health IT is designed to improve the efficiency and functionality of the healthcare system, so patients are treated faster and more accurately. It includes solutions that allow doctors to prescribe medicine electronically and keep a record of patients’ data.


Together, the various IT elements help healthcare professionals to provide a better service to everyone. Health data can be shared and stored securely. Additionally, care can be coordinated much more easily because every provider will have access to vital information about the patient. In many cases, health IT can help medical institutions save both time and money.

Electronic Prescribing

Paper prescriptions are sometimes unreliable because they can get lost. In contrast, an electronic prescription takes some of the pressure off the patient because they can visit their pharmacy without having to worry about bringing documentation. Instead, the instructions will be available online, and the doctor can communicate directly with the pharmacist if necessary.


Another benefit of electronic prescriptions is that they increase accountability. Paper prescriptions can get misread, and there is room for error. Because this type of documentation can be lost or thrown away, it’s not always easy to identify and trace mistakes. In contrast, the electronic prescription is readily available for everyone to review, so there is much more transparency.


Electronic Health Records

You can imagine an electronic health record like a digital version of the patient’s chart. It is available to all healthcare staff, even if the patient attends multiple hospitals and clinics, and contains the medical history, medications, diagnoses, treatment plans, allergies, test results, and immunization dates. Whenever someone interacts with the patient, they can use this record to make sure they are providing the best care possible.


Aside from the fact that the EHR is easily available to everyone, it also has the benefit of being updated in real-time. Therefore, everyone immediately has access to new developments and can adjust their treatment accordingly. This allows for more individualized and more accurate care and can prevent misunderstandings. What’s more, it is a more efficient way of working for everyone, so healthcare professionals can save time and treat more patients.


Personal Health Records

The personal health record can be linked to the electronic health record, but it is a separate tool that has a slightly different purpose. While the EHR is mainly designed for healthcare professionals, the PHR is more directly controlled by the patient. This web-based tool allows people to track elements related to their health, including their dietary habits and exercise levels.


The information is designed to be shared with healthcare professionals, but it can also serve as an accountability tool for the patients themselves. They can decide what information to include, and they can share relevant aspects of their life outside the doctor’s office with their physician. This makes treatment easier and more accurate and gives the patient control over their own medical situation.


Privacy and Security Solutions

Understandably, many people are concerned about privacy when it comes to online data storage, but in many cases, safely storing information is easier online than offline. If you only keep records on paper, they can easily be stolen, misplaced, or destroyed. In contrast, online documents are stored centrally, so even if a computer gets damaged, they are still accessible on other devices.


To safeguard patients’ sensitive information, it is encrypted, which means that it is converted into a code that isn’t intelligible to outsiders. This means that only authorized healthcare professionals are able to access the data. The best online solutions also allow people to record and track who has retrieved and read the information.


Why Should Clinics Around the Country Implement Health IT?

Now you’ve learned what types of health IT solutions there are, you might wonder why it’s crucial for clinics around the country to adopt these systems. There are many ways technology can make providing good healthcare easier. Not only can professionals deliver a quicker and more accurate service, but they are also prompted to follow up with patients who have ongoing conditions.


Because everyone has access to health records, patients with complex issues can be treated much more easily. Finally, the storage of information is safer because you’re not relying on pieces of paper that can get damaged, stolen, or destroyed.


A More Efficient Service

In the past, you had to fill in forms about your personal details and medical history every time you visited a new clinic. This wasted a lot of time and created extra work for the employees, who had to record and evaluate the data. With health information technology solutions, this is no longer the case. Information can be shared between clinics and hospitals, so the healthcare professionals know all the relevant information before the patient arrives.


As soon as one doctor, nurse, or therapist adds new notes to a patient’s file, everyone else who works with the person has access to the information. In some cases, patients themselves can also view their electronic records, so they can see their test results by logging in, and they no longer have to wait for their doctor to contact them.


Faster and More Accurate Healthcare

This easy sharing of information can significantly speed up the treatment process and allow patients to get the most accurate, targeted care possible. For example, prescriptions can be sent directly to the pharmacy, so the medicine can be ready by the time the patient arrives. That way, people no longer have to call ahead to see whether the drug is in stock, and they don’t have to wait while the pharmacist tries to find the correct product.


Better Follow-Through

Electronic healthcare services usually include a messaging system that can prompt both the patient and their healthcare reminder to follow up. For example, it can tell people to book new appointments, and doctors are reminded to check whether a new medication is working or ask for information about side effects. This is especially useful for people with ongoing health conditions that need regular treatment.


Another great feature of many online systems is that they provide articles, brochures, or links about various healthcare-related topics. This can help patients get important information about their conditions. Without an online healthcare system, getting accurate information can be a challenge because there are so many untrustworthy resources online.


Safe Storage of Information

As mentioned, information that is stored on paper isn’t safe because it could get stolen or lost in a disaster. For instance, a fire at the doctor’s office could destroy all patients’ records, causing chaos and delays.


In contrast, a health information technology system makes it extremely easy to store information in a safe way. Even if a disaster occurs, reassembling patients’ documents shouldn’t be a hassle. Because the federal government has certain safety standards, it’s unlikely that there will be a breach of security or a cyber attack.


How to Implement Health IT Solutions

Healthcare providers who don’t yet have access to health IT solutions might struggle to get started. The best way to find out more about the various options is to contact a professional provider like RiverAxe. After you get in touch, we will call you and discuss your individual situation, then come up with some solutions that can help you transform your business.


We will look at the online systems you’re already using and let you know how you can improve them and integrate a fully functional health IT system. Over the next few months, we will work with you to set up the new solutions and train your staff to use them consistently. Once everything has been set up, we can continually monitor the situation and help you keep your system updated.


Get Started Today

By using health information technology solutions, healthcare businesses can make their operations more efficient, improve communication among providers and patients, and store sensitive information more securely. There are various components that should be installed, including electronic prescribing, electronic health records, personal health records, and privacy and security solutions.


If you’re ready to upgrade your business, you should speak to IT specialists, who can help you come up with a viable plan. Contact us at RiverAxe to find out more about the services we provide. We can help you set up a comprehensive IT system that complies with all state and federal regulations.

What Is Health Informatics?

You’ve probably heard many people reference health informatics if you work in the healthcare industry. However, health informatics is more than just a current buzzword. It’s a field of work revolutionizing the healthcare industry by allowing care providers to make incredible advancements in data collection, analysis, and patient care. So, it’s time to stop asking, “What is health informatics?” and start looking at how it can further your business.

What Is Health Informatics?

Health informatics integrates healthcare, data collection and analysis, and information technology into a powerhouse player in the healthcare space. Essentially, health informatics is the process of using technology to gather and analyze health information in both the public and private health sectors.

By collecting, compiling, and reviewing health data, care providers can give patients healthcare options appropriate for their needs and ensure better outcomes. If you’ve moved from questioning, “What is health informatics?” to wondering, “How does it impact my business?” you’ll want to keep reading. The future of patient care is progressing rapidly, and the data and services provided by health informatics are a crucial reason.

How Health Informatics Is Improving HealthCare

It Reveals Gaps in Healthcare Access

Providing quality healthcare to all individuals, no matter their gender, ethnicity, location, or economic bracket, is called healthcare equity. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry needs significant work before the system is equitable for all individuals. However, considerable improvements have been implemented thanks to the data provided by health informatics, and the progress is still ongoing.

Health informatics allows researchers to collect health data about specific populations to target their services to meet their needs. In addition, the public health sector has been utilizing various resources, such as telehealthcare and virtual health improvement programs to provide better healthcare to sections of the population that are often overlooked.

It Boosts Patient Participation

When patients have access to their healthcare records and data, they can take a more prominent role in their healthcare. It removes them from the position of an observer by pulling them in to participate.

Patient portals allow patients to access information regarding their condition, monitor their medications, track their symptoms, and even schedule appointments with care providers. While there can be a learning curve for some patients when they first use a portal, well-designed software is user-friendly. Intuitive patient portals empower patients to be informed and involved in their healthcare, which leads to higher compliance with care and better results.

It Allows for Predictive Analysis

Health informatics takes massive amounts of data and analyzes it for trends. Data is collected about diagnoses, health habits, symptoms, and outcomes for physical and mental health issues. This data can be used to help improve public health decisions, as well as provide doctors with the information they need to offer informed private care.

It Reduces Errors

While the traditional paper-and-pen method of recording patient information is still beloved by some practitioners, most are readily switching to electronic records. Electronic patient records make it simple for multiple practitioners to share patient data appropriately to provide quality care.

For example, when patient information is compiled where all care providers can access it, physicians can easily ensure that no medications are prescribed that will interact negatively. They can also update the patient’s notes in real-time so that no care provider is left uninformed regarding the patient’s condition.

It Increases Financial Savings

It is common for time and money to be wasted on repeated testing. This error is expensive for the patient and their insurance company and wastes the physician’s time. Software systems that allow tests and test results to be updated where all care providers can see them prevent the squandering resources on unnecessary tests. Additionally, health informatics saves funds by decreasing the amount of work administration staff has to do.

For example, the lab would have to call the physician’s office and then give the administrative team the results. The administrative team member would then need to update the client’s chart and contact the client with their results. With the right software, the lab can upload the client’s results to their portal, notifying both the physician and patient that their results are completed. The patient’s digital chart is updated automatically, and labor is significantly reduced.

It Allows for Effortless Coordination

When a patient is admitted to the hospital, they may see numerous specialists during their stay. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, care providers don’t always have time to search for the most current update on a patient’s care, and the patient cannot be responsible for transmitting one specialist’s report to the next.

Keeping all parties knowledgeable about the patient’s prognosis and treatment plan requires a program that all specialists can effortlessly log into on their phone or tablet while they are with the patient. By allowing them to access patient notes conveniently, physicians will be better informed of their patient’s status and make the most of their available time.

It Increases Self-Monitoring

Since health informatics consists of collecting and analyzing health data, it’s no surprise that it impacts the design of health-tracking applications. The applications and programs individuals can use to track their health and habits are successful primarily due to the data collected by health informatics.

Numerous applications exist to monitor everything from fertility to water consumption. These programs allow individuals to monitor their health through easily accessible methods and increase overall wellness.

It Tracks Outbreaks

This subset of health informatics has proven invaluable over the past few years. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, public health officials released virus tracking programs that helped individuals determine possible exposure. The applications used their phone’s satellites and GPS systems to determine if the user had been near any known outbreaks. These programs helped track the spread of Covid-19 throughout a given population.

This data was valuable to researchers as it allowed them to learn critical information about the viruses’ communicability. They also allowed individuals to see if they had come in contact with an ill individual, allowing them to quarantine until they could receive a negative test result.

It Improves Patient Outcomes

One of the most critical ways health informatics improves healthcare is by improving patient outcomes. When care providers have access to data that allows them greater insight into their patient’s medical issues, they can provide them with a higher level of care.

Also, electronic health records enable multiple physicians to communicate information about the patient and ensure their treatments are working together correctly. Finally, programs designed to encourage patients to participate in their healthcare promote adherence to the prescribed care plan, making patients more likely to have a successful outcome.

Types of Health Informatics

Health informatics consists of a wide range of specialized categories, and the areas covered are constantly expanding. These are some of the most prevalent subsets falling under the umbrella of health informatics:

Consumer Health Informatics

Consumer health informatics encompasses data that pertains to patient education and healthcare literacy. This area of health informatics focuses on motivating individuals to be advocates for their own healthcare needs. Data is collected to determine the best ways to make health information easier to understand for the average individual, the best ways to manage personal health records, and ways to use the internet to help inspire people to care for their health.

Clinical Informatics

Also referred to as information technology or applicational informatics, clinical informatics describes the technology used to provide clinical services. Electronic health records, secure data-sharing portals for healthcare practitioners, and hospital bed management systems are examples of this branch of health informatics.

Clinical Research Informatics

Clinical research informatics uses the health data collected to aid in discovering and treating unknown illnesses. The data collected from experimental therapies, clinical trials, and testing of new procedures all fall into this category.

Public Health Informatics

Public health informatics uses informatics to improve public health and wellness. The scope of issues that contribute to public health informatics is varied, including environment, emotional,  housing, work, and physical factors that contribute to an individual’s level of health. The informatics gathered in these areas are used to prevent public health issues, prepare for potential health concerns or disease outbreaks, and promote public health resources.

Pharmacy Informatics

This area of informatics is designed to improve the efficiency of medication distribution. For example, pharmacy informatics professionals are replacing handwritten prescriptions with digital ones, preventing errors due to unclear handwriting. Programs have also been designed to alert the pharmacist of any potential medication interactions.

Anticipated Areas of Growth

When it comes to technological advancements in healthcare IT and health informatics, you can expect to see more innovative solutions to common problems. Over the next few years, professionals in the health informatics industry are predicted to improve the following:

  • Increased cybersecurity for health portals
  • Growth of telehealthcare programs
  • Addition of artificial intelligence to predictive analytics
  • Advancements in inoperability for health record systems
  • Remote patient monitoring and wearable technology

You don’t have to trust a search engine with questions like, “What is health informatics?” or “How can health care informatics benefit my business?”. At Riveraxe, we have the answers to your questions and the solutions you need to elevate your performance. Contact Riveraxe today and let us provide you with the data technology you need to stand out from the crowd.

9 Benefits of Getting Healthcare IT Consulting

The healthcare industry is ready for a digital transformation. As legal frameworks surrounding digital health data and telemedicine have finally been codified, now is the time to bring data technology and healthcare expertise together. Healthcare IT consulting helps healthcare professionals and program managers to implement the technology they need to transform their operations. Healthcare IT consulting delivers other benefits as well. Every stakeholder can benefit, from patients to professionals, administrators to accountants.

Here are just some of the benefits that you can expect after getting healthcare IT consulting. Digital transformation truly permeates the entire organization, leading to lasting improvements for everyone involved.

9 Benefits of Getting Healthcare IT Consulting

1. Faster Service for Patients

Ultimately, the goal of every healthcare program and facility is to provide quality care for patients. Integrating IT with healthcare operations leads to faster, better service for patients via a number of improvements. First, logistics become much easier to manage. Facilities can acquire new medical devices or replenish their inventory faster, reducing wait times for less common procedures. Managing staff schedules is likewise simplified as online systems can automatically allocate staff to meet demand.

However, healthcare services aren’t just about medical treatments. Patients are affected by other aspects of healthcare management. IT, however, gives patients the power to handle certain tasks on their own. Shifting to electronic health records also allows patients to access their information more easily, reducing the number of calls to healthcare offices. Billing becomes more agile thanks to automation. Essentially, every healthcare task becomes faster to execute. In addition, errors are greatly reduced, which reduces the burden on support staff.

2. Minimize Medical Malpractice

Faster service means nothing if it leads to mistakes. Fortunately, proper IT implementation not only makes healthcare operations more agile, but it also mitigates risk considerably. Medical errors are quite common, as a recent study noted. Errors occur when actions are not taken at all, or when the wrong action is taken due to a mix-up in the healthcare system. Digitization of medical records and improved data collection practices greatly reduce the incidence of medical errors.

Several studies have shown that electronic medical records lead to lower error rates than paper records, provided the system is properly utilized. Reducing the frequency of medical mistakes in your organization will reduce losses due to malpractice suits and out-of-court settlements. In addition, fewer errors allow your organization to handle more patients in a timely manner. There are other benefits to digitizing your healthcare workflow as the data you collect can propel operations forward.

3. Understand Your Organization Better

Every successful organization today uses business analytics to improve its processes, shed waste, and raise operating margins. Healthcare programs can likewise benefit from the same technology to operate better, even in the face of challenging circumstances. The key is to capture data from as many sources as possible. Many medical facilities and program organizers still use a mixed model, where some data is collected digitally but other data points are buried under stacks of paper. Healthcare IT consulting fixes that.

Healthcare IT consultants have an objective, neutral view of your operations. Where you might see a benign habit that isn’t worth changing, an IT consultant might see an opportunity to improve data collection. When experts enter and analyze your processes, they’ll provide recommendations to help you optimize data gathering every step of the way. This data can then be fed into analytics software running in the cloud to help administrators get a better idea of how the organization is performing.

4. Increased Telehealth Opportunities

The global pandemic pushed telehealth to the forefront of healthcare operations. Medical facilities were inundated with patients requiring isolation and intensive care, which left little space for everyone else. Organizations that had already embraced healthcare IT were well prepared for the circumstances. Those that lagged behind struggled to deliver telehealth services. Effective telehealth requires electronic medical records, compliant communications platforms, and extensive training for staff. However, it’s clear that providing telehealth services will remain vital for the future.

More patients are willing to use telehealth services than ever before. Consider the results of a 2005 study, which found that only about a third of patients would be open to a telehealth session, with a similar percentage being completely unwilling to try it. In contrast, a 2021 survey saw willingness jump up to 67%, with only 2.3% saying they would not consider it. Telehealth can deliver more cost-effective services and improve program performance across the board.

5. Remain Compliant With Data Privacy Laws

One of the reasons some organizations have hesitated to implement telehealth and electronic medical records is due to concerns about data privacy. Laws like HIPAA impose strict requirements regarding access to medical data. However, rather than fear these laws, organizations need to embrace them as guiding tools toward a complete digital transformation. That is exactly what we are doing as IT consultants. We know that data privacy legislation is only going to continue to impose restrictions on healthcare.

However, those restrictions also open doors. Protecting patients’ data enables secure telehealth and optimizes operations. Securing data properly also reduces the risk of data breaches, and can even help an organization rebound after an attempted cyberattack or a malware infestation. Many healthcare providers were targeted by cybercriminals during the start of the pandemic. Those that were prepared fared better than those that had not completed their digital transformation.

6. Experienced Experts Lead the Way

What keeps organizations from fully implementing IT into their operations? For many, it’s a lack of experience. Even with a robust IT department, it can be difficult to decide where to begin. Administrators may be worried about downtime during the transition or the challenge of changing processes and retraining staff. Competing interests need to be balanced. A digital transformation is not the work of a single department, but rather an entire organization.

Healthcare IT consulting brings a team of experts to your organization. They’ll examine existing processes to determine the best way to transition without disrupting daily operations. They can listen to the various concerns of different stakeholders to find solutions that please everyone. Effective IT healthcare deployment happens when experienced experts lead the way, something very few organizations can achieve on their own.

7. Spend Smarter

Going digital requires some investment to get started. However, the up-front costs of your digital transformation don’t have to be exorbitant. The key is to spend money wisely where it’s needed. For example, rather than replace every piece of legacy software with freshly written code, APIs can link existing programs to modern cloud-based tools. While certain enterprise-grade features may seem attractive, they may not be useful to your organization. Expert advisors can help you decide where to allocate your budget.

In fact, modern IT deployments are becoming cheaper thanks to cloud computing and cloud-based software. Instead of having to invest in expensive servers and complex storage solutions, you can use the cloud to handle most of your healthcare IT. Cloud computing, like manufacturing, benefits from economies of scale. The company that invested in a massive data center can lend you a portion of its processing power at a much better price than you could attain on your own.

8. Stay Ahead of the Curve

The IT landscape is constantly changing as new technologies and advancements emerge. Therefore, your system also needs to be flexible and able to adapt to new developments. IT consultants live and breathe IT; they know what to expect in the years to come. Having these experts at your side gives your organization a strategic advantage as you’ll be able to plan your IT deployments going forward. You can budget your expenses more accurately and implement the latest technology faster.

Early adopters always have the advantage in the long term. While other organizations struggle, yours will be agile and able to implement new technology faster. The sooner you complete your digital transition, the more prepared you’ll be. Ask your consultants to prepare an IT roadmap that outlines improvements and new deployments that you should make over time. With this document, you’ll have a clear view of the road ahead.

9. Reduce Costs and Maximize Output

All of the benefits we’ve considered so far add up to one extremely important reason to go digital: Better financial performance. IT cuts down on excess bureaucracy and lubricates logistics, reducing time costs. It expands the ways you can offer service to patients, boosting revenue. Automation slashes payroll.

Best of all, you cut costs without sacrificing quality and output. On the contrary, your organization will provide better service to more people all while spending less than before. IT is deeply embedded in the future of healthcare, you don’t want to be left behind.

Start Your Transformation Today

So, what does it take to get started? Healthcare IT deployment is a very personalized process. We aim to get to know your organization to better understand how we can help you achieve your goals. Contact Riveraxe LLC to schedule a meeting, or email our CEO directly.

River Axe