Information technology (IT) is becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry. While this provides many opportunities for enhancing existing approaches to care, one must understand the dangers and other implications of IT. Organizations such as the Joint Commission and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) aim to mitigate these problems. This paper provides responses from an interview with an IT specialist who works in a clinical setting and discusses the AHRQ impact on the industry.
The interviewee in question works as a Junior IT Analyst at a medical center. His role in the hospital involves the development of IT applications and ensuring their implementation in the establishment’s operations. This component involves on-staff training for physicians and other medical personnel and technical support. Additionally, he is responsible for analyzing gaps in the existing applications and creating solutions that would enhance user experience.
Due to the fact that this is a Junior position, this person works in collaboration with a Senior IT specialist, as well as with external vendors and contractors. Prior to working at this hospital, he obtained a high school diploma. Although the interviewee did not have a bachelor’s degree in the IT-related filed, he had previous experience of working as a technical support specialist in a clinical setting.
The interviewee has been working in this position for over six months and states that both patient safety and quality of care depend on the IT solutions developed by his department. It is due to the fact that they can analyze the existing practices and approaches and create applications that assist medical professionals. For instance, he assesses feedback from patients that allow examining the hospital’s performance over time.
The web application designed for this purpose is already helping this medical center improve its benchmark measures; for example, customer satisfaction rates have increased since the implementation of the solution. Patient safety is an essential scope of IT’s department work as well. Data management applied to patient records helps physicians dedicate more time to examining individuals while previously they had to fill out a lot of paperwork during their shifts.
Human factors faced in the role are connected to the process of data collections and user experience enhancement. The primary idea of the IT developments in this clinic is to improve the existing processes using applications, which requires insight into how people behave and interact with technology to ensure that these products are easy to use. Asan and Carayon (2017) describe similar ideas by stating that these factors are required for ensuring that solutions can provide “value to design and implementation” (p. 255). Thus, this clinic’s IT professionals consider human factors, such as user experience, technical competency, age, and others in their work. Other challenges include security of data, which is crucial for any health care establishment.
The central insights of this interview include the importance of IT for the modern health care system. Although the interviewee mentioned that most of his work is unnoticeable to patients, the solutions and applications his department develop, such as electronic health records and feedback assessment help enhance the process of care provision. Primarily, medical professionals can access patient information more quickly and dedicate more time to examinations, which affects the outcomes of treatment. However, as was emphasized by the interviewee, IT safety is the primary danger that requires additional attention.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
The primary objective of AHRQ’s work is to invest in research that can improve the quality and safety of healthcare services in the US. In addition, it “creates materials to teach and train health care systems and professionals to help them improve care for their patients” (“Agency for Healthcare Research Quality,” n.d.). In general, the evidence that AHRQ collects helps create a safer environment for patients across the country.
Patient Safety Indicators (PSIs) developed by the AHRQ aim to evaluate data from hospitals and measure the quality of performance. While the provision of care is essential for these metrics, the focus is on preventable complications (“Patient safety indicators overview, n.d.). By using this approach, hospitals and AHRQ can investigate adverse outcomes and create policies that would mitigate those issues. In my clinical setting, the following indicators are applied – death rate in low mortality diagnosis groups, the death rate among surgical inpatients, in hospital fall with hip fracture rate, and several others.
The Joint Commission
Unarguably, patient safety is among the primary concerns of any healthcare establishment. The Joint Commission established Patient Safety Goals in order to create a unified list of threats and ensure that hospitals and other organizations work towards mitigating themPatient Safety Goals (“Hospital: 2019 national patient safety goals,” 2019). The commission identifies the priority for each target and determines whether organizations with appropriate accreditation should dedicate their attention towards specific issues.
In my clinical setting, the commission identified several primary objectives for work. The most important ones include accuracy of identification enhancement, communication with caregivers, medications usage safety, infections risk mitigation, identification of risks in a particular population, and improvement of alarm systems in facilities (“Hospital: 2019 national patient safety goals,” 2019). Based on the rationale for each of these elements, one can argue that the overall is to create a safer environment for patients in healthcare establishments. Thus, the AHRQ and The Joint Commission agencies affect the provision of care by developing strategies to mitigate risks for patients.
Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) is a program designed to develop interprofessional competencies among the workforce. In general, “the spirit of TIGER is to maximize the integration of technology and informatics into seamless practice, education and research resource development” (“The TIGER initiative, n.d.). In my clinical setting, TIGER is integrated through the encouragement of personnel to be educated using the program’s resources and become more competent in the IT field.
In addition, during the interview, the IT professional stated that initiatives similar to TIGER should be supported because in many cases the difficulties of integrating IT applications into practice are connected to low IT skills of users. Therefore, TIGER can help enhance the process and ensure faster implementation of applications.
Overall, the interview and additional research into the matter provided an understanding of the importance of IT solutions in clinical settings. It is evident that applications developed in the medical center in question affect the outcomes of treatment. The role of AHRQ and the Joint Commission is in ensuring that healthcare establishments in the US can have target goals and indicators that help improve performance and clinical outcomes. TIGER aims to educate healthcare professionals to enhance their IT skills, which should enhance the experience of using IT applications.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (n.d.). Web.
Asan, O., & Carayon, P. (2017). Human factors of health information technology—Challenges and opportunities. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 33(4), 255-257. Web.
Hospital: 2019 national patient safety goals. (2019). Web.
Patient safety indicators overview. (n.d.). Web.
The TIGER initiative. (n.d.). Web.