What are the uses and benefits of Hospital Information Systems?

Online Resource for Healthcare IT in the Philippines

In this previous post, we defined a Hospital Information System (HIS) as:

a comprehensive, integrated information system designed to manage all the aspects of a hospital operation, such as medical, administrative, financial, legal and the corresponding service processing.

Uses of an HIS

The HIS is basically the core transactional system of the hospital. It is often the:

  • main point of data entry for almost all hospital transactions, including patient registration, admissions, and order charges.
  • main database and storage facility for all transactions
  • main source of census and reports for hospital management, including patient counts, admission numbers and financial reports.

The most commonly-available modules in an HIS give a hint of the wide coverage of transactions handled by the system. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Patient Registration
  • Admissions, Discharges and Transfers (ADT Module)
  • Patient Billing
  • Claims Submissions and Processing
  • Order Capture and Management
  • Pharmacy Management and Dispensing
  • Supply and Inventory Management
  • General Ledger and Financial Reporting
  • Purchasing and Accounts Payable

It’s obvious that the origins of hospital IT systems encompass patient demographics and financial transactions.

Advantages and Benefits of having an HIS

There are several benefits of using an IT system to streamline hospital operations.

  • Data is entered at the source. No more paper slips passed around and handed to an encoder.
  • Quick access and retrieval to patient information and hospital transactions.
  • Easy monitoring of supplies, inventory and medicines.
  • Reduces documentation needs and minimizes use of paper.
  • Improves turn-around time for hospital procedures dependent on paper-based slips and logbooks.
  • Better audit controls and policy compliance.

Tips on justifying an HIS project to hospital management

Justifying IT projects to management can be challenging. Although an HIS acquisition is now fairly common in local hospitals, here are some tips to help:

  • Focus on the financial benefits:
    • Better capturing of charges
    • Reduction of undocumented procedures and charges
    • Better financial control and reports
  • Add operational efficiencies:
    • Improved turn-around time
    • Reduced waiting time for patients
    • Improved management of supplies
    • Improved data capture at source
  • Don’t forget about access to reports:
    • Patient census
    • Number of admissions
    • Occupancy rates
    • Utilization reviews

Comments, suggestions and questions about hospital information systems are welcome.


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