Digitization of Healthcare Institutions
Recent times have witnessed an increase in the utilization of modern technology in the provision of services in various sectors. One of the areas in which such technology has been useful is in healthcare institutions. These institutions deal with documents and records which are useful to a number of players (Zaccard et al., 2000). Such players include patients, healthcare institutions themselves, medical personnel, insurance service providers, social security agencies, among others (Bouza et al., 2007). The greatest beneficiaries of this project are the patients who are assured of safety and confidentiality of their medical records and access to superior service from whichever part of the world. Healthcare institutions and insurance agencies will also be saved from costs arising from fraudulent billing (Camargo et al., 2004).
Authorization for the project will be sought from various stakeholders who will then be relied upon to provide funding (Croce et al., 2004). These include the government and states, healthcare insurance service providers and donor agencies. The impact of such a project on the various stakeholders has to be evaluated to be sure that it provides value for the money put in (Rajasekhar et al., 2006).
The attitude and perception of patients, staff and insurance service providers; physicians and surgeons, on whom the implementation of the digitization project would greatly impact, will be surveyed. The patients will state whether they feel the new program has helped them to be served better on the basis of quick access to services, personalized service and access to services while in different locations (Bird et al., 2010). The hospital staff will state they feel the new system has been able to help stem loss of patient documents, promoted confidentiality and provided easy access and retrieval of patient data. Insurance service providers will say whether they feel the system has helped save on treatment costs by deterring fraudulent billing. Physicians and surgeons will say if the system has helped them serve the patients better in terms of remote patient access simultaneously to a patient irrespective of physical constraints (Liang et al., 2002).
Data on lost or dismembered documents before and after digitization will have to be compared. The electronic data storage system is meant to replace the previous manual data storage system. It is possible that a number of complaints concerning the handling of documents before and after installation have been recorded (Wunderink, 1998). There will be a need to compare the kind of feedback received before and after installation of the electronic data storage system to see which one has recorded more positive than negative feedback. If the feedback is predominantly positive, then the new system will be considered good and the organization will have to maintain it. In case of more negative feedback, then the management will be forced to find out the reasons for its failure and work towards rectifying the weaknesses (El-Ebiary & Torres, 2000).
Variables to use in Evaluation
A number of variables will be examined in carrying out an evaluation of the digitization program in the organization (Amanullah et al., 2011). Most of them will be based on the attitude and perception of the various players. These include the attitude and perception of the patients, staff, health insurance providers and the physicians and surgeons (Zaccard et al., 2009). The staff of the healthcare institution will be required to state to what degree the new system has met their needs in terms of securing patient data, ensuring easy access and retrieval of records, reduction in the amount of storage space needed and easy editing of patient data (Sanchez et al., 1998). The patients will state the degree to which they believe the new system has ensured safe and secure storage of their data and how effective it has been in facilitating delivery of services to them. The health insurance companies will help establish to what degree the system has reduced fraudulent claims from dishonest billing, while the healthcare institutions will provide information of the extent to which the system has made operations easier. The doctors and physicians will on the other hand be required to state to extent the system has made their attention to patients easier as compared to the previous one (Fàbregas et al., 1999).
Tools for Assessing the Success of the Project
The success of the digitization program can be evaluated by gauging its ability to meet the intended goal. Evaluation is aimed at measuring how successful the change process has been, and to determine the degree to which it complies with all the aspects of the change process. In this context, a six month pilot study will be conducted and thereafter, a questionnaire will be used to establish the views of different stakeholders. Some of the questions on the questionnaire will include:
- Did the digitization program reduce patient complaints?
- Was the security of patient records enhanced more by digitization?
- Was the disposal of outdated records made easy by the digitization project?
- Did the digitization project improve access and retrieval of patient information?
- Were you served better after the digitization program?
- Did you find your records more secure with digitization?
- Were you satisfied by the level of confidentiality digitization gave your records?
- Did the digitization project help you serve patients better?
- Were you able to access patient data faster as a result of digitization?
The responses from the respondents will then be assessed and based on a particular criteria, the program will be enhanced, strengthened or scrapped altogether (Alp & Voss, 2006).
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