ComputerizedDecision Support Systems
ComputerizedDecision Support Systems
There has been an increase in the wave of technological advancements.Healthcare institutions have the mandate to adopt the availabletechnologies as a way of ensuring that operations in the healthcareunit are enhanced. The decision support systems represent thetechnologies adopted by healthcare institutions to ensure thatservice delivery to the patients is revolutionized (Yuan,Finley,Long, Mills, & Johnson, 2013). The benefits brought aboutby the system negates the need to come up with an appropriate DSSthat can be employed by the organization as a way of streamliningoperations in the organization. As a nurse information technologyconsultant, a selected DSS will be assessed and counsel given to itssuitability for use in the organization. A DSS is an informationsystem software that supports the decision-making activities in anygiven organization (Musen, Middleton, & Greenes, 2014). In ahealthcare set up, it helps the nurses when it comes to makingdecisions mainly affecting patients and problems that are likely toensue in the course of discharge of duty.
EPIC as a Decision Support System
EPIC is an electronic health record system that is applied in theinpatient environments in ensuring that patient service delivery isefficient. The system is designed in a way that it integratesinformation from patients for use when it comes to conductingactivities within the healthcare system. The EPIC decision supportsystem is responsible for facilitating decision-making throughproviding interventions. Notably, the system is helpful as itprovides support for arriving at conclusions. Areas that are coveredby the system include the provision of medication alerts, bestpractice advisories, documentation of the templates, providingreference information and a reminder of health maintenance (Musen,Middleton, & Greenes, 2014). The system has been used previouslyin various healthcare organizations. Notably, Ochsner Medical Centerin Louisiana, University Medical Center in New Orleans and some PCPoffices do utilize the system.
Description of the problem (perceived vs. the desired condition)
Healthcare institutions have to deal with vast amounts ofinformation. It is a challenge to keep efficiently the patientrecords, staff records and all activities carried out in theorganization may be. The problem with handling such massive data setsis that information could be lost. Particularly, patient records arevital since it can be used to guide in formulating the mostappropriate course of treatment for the practitioners. However,keeping such an enormous amount of information is a challenge. Thereis a problem regarding safekeeping of the information, and the entireprocess of retrieval in case it is required. Also, there is a problemof the information about the patients being tampered with eroding theissue of privacy of patient information. Such challenges need to beaddressed by the use of appropriate technology. The desired state isthat the information is integrated in such a way that it is easier tokeep track of information in the hospital. It should be possible toguarantee the safety and integrity of patient information, and any ofthe activities in the healthcare set up. The introduction of a DSSsuch as EPIC will help in smoothening operations in the organization(Musen, Middleton, & Greenes, 2014). EPIC will integrateinformation within the organization so that it can be used when itcomes to making decisions. Through ease of retrieval of information,it would be possible to guide the nurses when it comes to makingdecisions regarding treatment and management of the patients.
Functional components, structures and working of EPIC DSS
EPIC has four primary components. The components are the userinterface, the database, models of the analytical tools and thearchitecture and network. The user interface describes the people whoare in charge of handling the information contained in the database(Serban, Crişan-Vida, & Stoicu-Tivadar, 2014). It explains howto go about the software system to achieve the desired goals. Also,it does contain the physical user interface. Further, the useinterface does allow the input of data into the patient informationand any material about service delivery. The user interface doeshave a command system that seeks to provide guidance when it comes tothe decision-making process. The database contains information thatis used when it comes to the entire process of making decisions(Musen, Middleton, & Greenes, 2014). Also, the component isdesigned in a way that it allows the manipulation of data toaccommodate any of the changes that are encountered in the healthcareorganization. There is a provision for maintenance of the databasecontained. The database has records within the health system thatserves as a guide when it comes to decision-making (Serban,Crişan-Vida, & Stoicu-Tivadar, 2014). The models and analyticaltools are those used to go to the system. It includes hardware suchas computers that can be manipulated to reach access information fordecision-making. The model component does deliver the commands fromthe user interface to the model management system. The purpose of themodel system is to facilitate the issuance of commands to facilitatethe usage of the DSS. Finally, the architecture and network entailthe entire system harboring the DSS, making it functional fordecision-making (Serban, Crişan-Vida, & Stoicu-Tivadar, 2014).
Vendor names and pertinent information
EPIC sold under the vendor name Epic Systems and located through thelink http://www.epic.com/. The information contained in the database guides nurses when itcomes to making decisions. Records in the system serve to supportdecision-making for the healthcare practitioners.
Criticaldecision-makers in the agency and the role they played
The health institution’s administrators have a role to play when itcomes to making decisions regarding the acquisition of the DSS.However, decisions that the managers make is dependent upon counselprovided by the direct users of the system. For example, healthcarepractitioners are tasked with the mandate of treatment and managementof the patients. For the same reason, they are critical when it comesto making decisions regarding the purchase of the DSS (Yuan, Finley,Long, Mills, & Johnson, 2013). Also, the public has a say when itcomes to making decisions relating to the procurement of the system.They have a role to play especially if they were to come to thehospital and are required to provide their health information eachtime they turn up to access services. They can suggest to theorganization administrators to come up with ways that will ensureeffectiveness when it comes to service delivery. The regulatoryauthorities such as the Department of Health have a stake since theyare concerned with the entire process of quality services to thepatients. They have to be consulted before the acquisition of the DSSsystem. Upon identification of the need to streamline activities inthe healthcare organization, they can give permission for purchase ofthe system. Nurses play the role of identification of the challengesfaced by lack of an appropriate electronic system to facilitate theprocess of decision-making (Musen, Middleton, & Greenes, 2014).
Problems encountered at the agency regarding communication andsecurity issues
Challenges will face the integration of the DSS within the agency.Primary among them is the concept of communication. Coming up with anappropriate systems security able to consolidate all functions withinthe organization may be a challenge. The design needs to integrateall information of the healthcare organization. However, it may be achallenge to achieve effectiveness when it comes to transmission ofinformation related to the patients across all departments within theagency. Also, achievement of an appropriate communication channel maypresent significant challenges.
Privacy issues are bound to occur with the use of EPIC DSS. There hasbeen an increase in incidences where data breaches are encounteredwithin organizations. If the appropriate security measures are nottaken to guarantee the same, the chances are that it could risk databreaches from unauthorized personnel. Through the same, informationcontained about patients risks getting into the wrong hands affectingthe issue of privacy. The increase in the wave of data breaches is asignificant challenge as it compromises the privacy of informationcontained in the database.
Strategies to address the problems
The potential risk of data breach is an issue that should beaddressed by the IT team working with all the stakeholders. Ancommunication framework that seeks to align transmission ofinformation within the agency should be established. Notably, allstakeholders affected should be aware of the framework to achieve asmooth flow of information within the organization. Privacy concernscan be addressed in multiple ways. The first is allowing access torecords only to authorized personnel. For example, there is a need tohave authorization tags such as the use of passwords only forauthorized personnel when it comes to dealing with the system (Musen,Middleton, & Greenes, 2014). Through such measure, it will bepossible to eliminate incidences where unauthorized people gainaccess to patient records. Also, there is a need to create awarenessamong the users of the need to exercise caution while they are usingthe system as a way of protecting the information contained in therecords. Also, there needs to be a formal way through which anysuspicious activities are reported to the relevant IT personnel forprocessing of information and action implemented.
Types of data and data sources for the computerized DSS
The data that would be contained in the computerized DSS includes anyinformation about the patients. The data is stored in electronicforms for easier storage in the database. Sources would beinformation provided by the patients. The DSS seeks to haveinformation that will support decision-making (Yuan, Finley,Long,Mills, & Johnson, 2013). For the same reason, it is prudent tohave information about various treatment regimens in the form ofreferences to assist the practitioners. The information can bederived from health journals. Sources will entail both internal andexternal for as long as it can be used to facilitate the process ofdecision-making. Access to information should be preceded by the needto make decisions on a particular case. For example, when dealingwith an individual patient, presentation of patient details is aprerequisite in access to information contained in the DSS system tohelp in decision making (Yuan, Finley,Long, Mills, & Johnson,2013).
How system communicates with the other systems in theorganization.
The DSS is designed in a way that it does link up with the othersystems that are found in the organization. Information should beconsolidated to avoid confusion and challenges at the time ofretrieval of information to guide in decision-making. However, toachieve the same, the IT team from the healthcare organization shouldwork in coordination with the DSS system developers to achievecoherence and ease in communication with the other systems.
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