HIS & HMIS: Learn About Both Healthcare-Related Terms in Detail

HIS & HMIS: Learn About Both Healthcare-Related Terms in Detail
This is the undeniable fact that data, especially in the Healthcare domain, is increasing day by day. And, as data will grow, the demand for managing it well will also grow. Not only data but also the demand to manage all the hospital related information is increasing. So, there the role of the Hospital Information System (HIS) and Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) arises.

Both the systems HIS and HMIS are exchangeably used to refer to the group of SW suites and systems that manages administration, performance management, and reporting of the process of provisioning health care. The difference between both hospital management information and health management information systems is:

If we talk about the hospital management system, it is generally concerned or focused on aspects of day to day administrative tasks like creating appointments for patients, lab tests, scheduling follow-ups, and such. Besides that, it also covers the insurance details of patients,  general billing and patient details, etc.

On the other hand, a healthcare information system could range from software to check for drug-drug interactions. That means when a physician issues a prescription to genetic information about a patient that would alert his/her doctor when writing a prescription (e.g., if one patient is a poor metabolizer of CYP 2D6 (for example), then a psychiatrist would need to know this before suggesting  for fluoxetine). Hence we can say that the overall scope here is very wide.

Let’s learn about both HIS & HMIS in detail:

About HIS

We all know that Healthcare is one very important part of our society, and it is imperative for healthcare providers to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. Each day thousands or hundreds of patients access healthcare facilities expecting the administration to run the work. And, to fulfill that, the employees have to integrate and manage clinical, operational, and financial information growing with the practice.

Initially, where there was no such system, all this data was organized manually, which was not only time-consuming but also failed to deliver the desired level of efficiency. Hence, for more efficiency, most of the professionally run clinics and hospitals now rely on hospital information systems (HIS) that help them manage all their medical and administrative information.

In all, it is a hospital information system (HIS), essentially a computer system that manages all the information to enable health care providers to do their jobs effectively. However,  these systems are not at all new but have been around since they were first introduced in the 1960s. Though, they have evolved with time and the modernization of healthcare facilities.

In those days, computers were not as fast and were not able to provide information in real-time as they do today. Yes, primarily, the staff used such systems for managing billing and hospital inventory. But all this has changed now. Because today, hospital information systems comprise the integration of all clinical, administrative as well as financial applications.

Moreover, modern and innovative HIS involves many applications addressing the needs of several departments in a hospital. They handle the data associated with the clinics, laboratory, nursing, pharmacy, finance departments, and also the pathology and radiology departments. It could be said that all the hospitals that have switched to HIS have access to reliable and quick information, including patients’ records showing details about their demographics, age, previous records, gender, etc. This also shows how much the healthcare domain evolved digitally.

One can receive important data about hospital finance, the diet of patients, and even the distribution of medications by a simple click of the mouse. And, as a result, hospital staff can monitor drug usage in the facility and improve its effectiveness with this information. Many of the hospitals have as many as 200 disparate systems combined into their HIS.

Features of a Good HIS

Well, as technology is growing, Hospital information systems have also become very advanced, and many innovations are continuously being introduced in it. But what if a HIS confuses the hospital employees? It will be useless, right? Exactly! The system should include training by the vendors and must be user-friendly.

Moreover, good HIS offers various advantages to a hospital, including better financial management and the delivery of quality patient care.

The HIS should also be patient-centric, affordable, medical staff centric,  and scalable. And if the system is not flexible, it will not be able to accommodate hospital growth because the technology keeps changing quickly.

An effective HIS also delivers advantages like:

1. Enhances information integrity
2. Reduces duplication of information entries
3. Reduces transcription errors
4. Optimizes report turnaround times

How Does it Work?

When it is doing all that so efficiently, then the question arises that how does it work, right? Well, Modern hospital information systems generally use fast computers connected via an optimized network. And, all these computers are programmed such that they collect, process, and then retrieve patient care and administrative information, ensuring better delivery of service as well as ROI. Because undoubtedly, if the hospital authorities have more relevant information, then they can make better decisions.

Besides all, the system HIS leverages a highly optimized core library that ensures the delivery of administrative and operational information needed by users. Most importantly, a centralized information system can be customized easily according to the specific requirements of a hospital.

Yes, all a hospital needs to do is to tell the solution provider what they need, and the applications can be easily molded to deliver what was asked. For example, one can ask for a solution that is based on RDBMS for easy retrieval of information. One can also ask the vendor for HIS that has user-friendly features and a multilingual interface that can be used by a diverse workforce.

Benefits of Health Information Systems

As we already mentioned above that Health information systems tend to target data management and efficiency. Besides that, there are many benefits of getting HIS on the cloud. The main drivers of health information systems are:

1. Data Analytics

We all know that the healthcare domain keep produces data and that too at a much higher rate. And, it’s a health information system that helps to gather, compile, and analyze health data to help manage population health and also to reduce healthcare costs. And, such analyzed healthcare data improves patient care.

2. Collaborative Care

There are cases in which the patient needs to get treated from different healthcare providers. And once again, this and health information systems — such as health information exchanges (HIEs) — enable healthcare facilities to access common health records. We could say that using these somehow comes under Healthcare tech trends one should watch out.

3. Cost Control

Earlier, it was hard to exchange healthcare data. But now the exchange of information via digital networks helps to create efficiencies & also helps in cost savings. Yes, healthcare providers see reduced costs when regional markets use health information exchanges to share data. And, even hospitals aim for the same efficiencies with electronic health records on smaller scale

4. Population Health Management

It is Health information systems that can easily aggregate patient data, then analyzes it, and further identify trends in populations. Not only this way, but the technology also works in the reverse method. Moreover, to help diagnose individual patients and treat them, Clinical decision support systems can also use big data. There are several data analytics and informatics tools healthcare professionals that can learn for it.

HIS Offers Security to Data

Besides all we mentioned, Security is one of the primary health information system concerns. This is one of the factors to consider when building healthcare mobile systems and apps. Healthcare providers are desirable targets for cybercriminals, even when all the networks are vulnerable.

The HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, regulates the protection of individual healthcare information. Companies should also follow some practices to help & keep systems secure, such as:

a) Train employees
b) Back up data
c) Encrypt data
d) Buy insurance
e) Monitor usage
f) Access vendor vulnerability
d) Utilize multi-factor authentication

Apart from the security factor, such factors are also useful to focus on patients. Hence to increase convenience and access for patients, use health information systems.

About HMIS

HMIS, an acronym of Health management information systems, can be considered as one of the six building blocks that are necessary to strengthen the healthcare system. Well, all these are information collection systems designed, especially to import data and thus help in supporting the management, crucial decision and planning, making in healthcare organizations as well as facilities. And as analysis and reporting of different data are becoming vital in Healthcare, hence the HMIS is gaining popularity around the world. Must say that an HMIS enables accurate and timely information, via the web-based platform, and that too whenever needed.

As the system can provide information for target setting, implementation, and policy planning, it is critical to have an effective HMIS for both the patients as well as healthcare organizations. It offers availability and accessibility, as well as accurate and timely analysis of health data that also enables implementation challenges. However, one must consider local settings for sustainability during the design of an HMIS.

Moreover, by working in tandem with donors and governments, HMIS can be built. It helps to build up needed information systems to catch the global needs of healthcare organizations in accessing and managing health information around the world. Operational and Strategic HMIS services are offered by several companies, and healthcare organizations can easily use the help of such companies while building their database.

Here are the attributes a good HMIS must have:

1. Possible to develop and implement the HMIS within and outside countries
2. Frameworks and Strategies for health information
3. Development of HIS policy based on the reviews from the existing information systems
4. Monitoring & Evaluating health information with survey tools
5. Educating the decision-makers and health workers  to proper use of health data
6. Setting up the institutional capacity building

The Key Players in HIS & HMIS

1. IT Administrators

IT administrators play vital roles in maintaining systems to make sure system uptime is high; hence, they are very important in the entire process. And besides that, they are responsible for handling the backup of the database and its restoration whenever required.

2. Application Specialists

The application specialists and the software vendor of the healthcare organizations play a key role in every activity related to the implementation of the software application. They are also involved in retraining/training of the new employees about HIS.

3. Engineers (Hardware and Networking)

Engineers try to maintain the hardware and networking systems in healthcare organizations.  To keep the system online: they are asked to do all the troubleshooting, thereby making the patient information available to various healthcare professionals.

However, there is no such standardization in HIS & HMIS for efficient as well as precise finance, administration, patient diet, engineering, and medical aid distribution, as they are necessary attributes of the system that help in the growth of the healthcare organizations. To reduce adverse drug interactions and promote more appropriate utilization of pharmaceuticals: the use of HIS & HMIS improves the drug usage monitoring and effectiveness study of drugs.

By reducing transcription errors and entry information duplication, HIS & HMIS also aids in the enhancement of information integrity. Moreover, HIS/HMIS is an easy-to-use and user-friendly software that eliminates errors made due to handwriting. It offers perfect performance through the utilization of remote servers as well as cloud servers.

HIS & HMIS at a Glance

1. Both are focused on having a patient-centered approach.
2. Both are easy-to-use, user-friendly, and web-enabled applications.
3. Regarded as a multi-level distributed hospital information system
4. Enhance the privacy and security of the patient data via authorization, authentication, and implementation of a privacy policy.
5. Relies on integration and patient identification
6. Both of them use controlled vocabulary for coding.
7. Offer data consistency & transparency
8. Has the single enterprise warehouse data store offering robustness, performance, and reliability.
9. Data software is always HL7 and HIPAA compliance.
10. It has portability and scalability features like modular-open architecture and declared interfaces.

However, the system converts the paper-based health record system into a digital system which needs the security against malicious cyber-attacks.

Earlier this year, the recent data breach at California Hospital further establishes the need for urgent attention to Healthcare cyber-security. Hence, it is advisable to use only trusted software systems to prevent cybersecurity risks.

Final Thoughts

So, we have learned about both HMIS and HIS and the differences between both the terms. And, we have learned how much the systems are important for us and how using these systems and applications in healthcare can help in improving patient care.  So, use them to maintain the management of your hospitals digitally.

Also, trusted software systems will help you to prevent the cybersecurity risks,  which will be better for your patients as well as staff. 

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