Each and every one of us has visited a hospital either in need of medical attention or just to visit someone admitted in the hospital. One is always given a form to fill that contains personal details like the names and address of the patient seeking for medical care. Most of us do not take the initiative to find out why these details are required to be filled and left at the hospital. On a repeat visit, a patient is asked for their name again and their file is produced to be used by the doctor for continuous treatment. These records are kept in the hospital for years and can be requested for at a later time for reference purposes when one has a medical condition that calls for the patients prior records to be assessed. During a visit to the hospital, one is sees a doctor who then diagnoses the illness if any and the patient is given medicines to make them feel better.
Medicine is described by the United States National Library of Medicine as the complete science used in the diagnosis, following treatment and also prevention of diseases and other damages including mental, that damage the human body. Medicine is therefore a branch of science that deals with the treatment of diseases by the use of drugs and other nonsurgical means. An agent such as any drugs whose purpose is to treat disease is also referred to as medicine. Thus medicine refers to and encompasses both the science and the treatment of diseases.
The world has become a technology hub and everyone today is looking to become technologically savvy to fit into the ever changing and ever evolving modern world. Technology has made a big significant difference in the way that things in all areas are run contributing to making work easier and more accessible due to the onset of computers that are today used in the storage and processing of data. The medical world has not been left behind and it has also embraces the modern trend. The application and incorporation of information technology into the healthcare sector is what in essence is referred to as Medical Informatics. Basically it involves the overall understanding and the use of tools and skills in an effort to use and share information and apply the same in the delivery and promotion of healthcare services to the masses (Pabrai, 9). Medical informatics reflects the substantive contribution of both patients and the medical professionals in the use of healthcare data and other related data. The use of medical informatics has been traced back to have started in the 1950’s influenced by the continued increase in the use of computers as computation devises and was referred to them as medical computing or medical computer science and was widely used for dental projects at the National Bureau of Standards (Tan, 5)
Standards refer to the commonly used guidelines, rules, and conditions that are related to a particular process, in this case medicine, and the relevant management systems practices that regulate them. Data standards in medicine refer to a specified set of the most widely used data elements in the effective collection and storage of patient information and other relevant data to enable ease of access to more consistent and comparable data for use throughout all levels and sectors of medicine necessary to support improved doctor-patient interaction. Standards also include the collection and reporting of financial statements and statistical data from the daily operations of health organizations around the country. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Actwas enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President. The HIPPA seeks to protect health insurance coverage previously accessed by workers and their families when they transition or lose their jobs. The Administrative Simplification of HIPAA’s provisions, requires the establishment of national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers (Pabrai, 7)
The Administration Simplification provisions also provided for the security and privacy of healthcare data and set the standards tailored at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the nation's health care system mainly by encouraging the widespread use of electronic data interchange in the U.S. health care system (Pabrai, 8)
The Health Management Information Systems refers to a software application that is used to store all the information gathered of the people seeking for medical attention in hospitals around the United States. The HMIS stores information on the general characteristics and the individual needs of the patients as gathered and this helps the relevant doctors and other medical care givers to come up with the relevant and most effective ways and means of controlling and treating a patient and in the offering of any other required health services. When information is stored in a good and organized way that is easy to be accessed, read and understood, then it is easy for the people concerned to look at and compare the data collected then or earlier to assist a patient on a return visit in the same hospital or in a different hospital from any part of the country. It is important to have this kind of data stored in an accessible manner since many different people may at one time require the same data order to assist a patient like in the case of an emergency. The Hospital Management Information Systems have tailored at providing the essential standards for use in the collection, sharing and safeguarding of any stored data.
A Unique Patient Identifier is a value that is permanently assigned to a particular person for the sole reason of identification purposes and is unique throughout the whole healthcare system across the country since it is not shared with anyone else. It facilitates the positive identification of an individual for prompt healthcare services delivery. A UPI has the potential to enable a patient to access prompt care through the easy healthcare information access using the UPI, hence reduce the time one needs to spend at a health facility. The UPI can also be used in the aggregation of health information for any further analysis and research necessary. Encryption and other data security methods should be used to protect the information and identity of an individual. In cases where medical tests results are being communicated, the security of an individual should be guaranteed (Beaver, 12). Only the people who are directly involved in the actual care of the individual should be allowed access to the medical records, like the patient himself and their doctor only. The DICOM standards are controlled by the DICOM Standards Committee which is mandated to create and maintain high standards in the sharing of biomedical and other therapeutic diagnosis across all fields that use any form of digital imaging or any related data. In any case where one plans to adopt a major HMIS standard like this one, there is set parameters that one should have in place. These include but are not limited to a secure network and digital storage system and also current encryption software to protect personal patient data (Beaver, 34).
Medicine is a very professional field and it is very important for the overall healthy existence of the human kind. It takes only trained professionals to ensure the proper running of a medical centre. As such it is important to safeguard the professional language that is only used and understood by trained professionals. As much as technology changes, it is important to protect medical records by upholding a code that can only be used and understood by the trained people because these kind of information in the wrong hands can turn out to be very dangerous. If the medical field became too lax in the language used and adopted any common language, then it would eventually lead to a breach because it would mean that any other tom, dick and harry can easily access patient records and even tamper with them. Today with the use of the standardization codes, patient and doctors records remain safe even if a layman were to access them because the person would not easily understand what the records mean and if they decided to tamper with the same, then the doctor would easily realize that the records were tampered with at first glance. This would ensure that the doctor or care giver corrects the record again before commencing treatment. It is therefore justifiable beyond any reasonable doubt that the use of standardized codes for referencing of medical data should be upheld for the sole comprehension of the medical staff.