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The importance of a Clinical Information System (CIS) for your clinic

The expansion of information and communications technology (ICT) into the world of science and medicine has resulted in various innovations that have improved the medical field, not just in diagnoses and treatment, but also in communication and informatics management.

One such innovation is the Clinical Information System (CIS), a computer-based platform that allows healthcare providers and administrators collect, store, manage and retrieve clinical information and patient data. The system is constructed of building blocks that address various areas such as the Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), which stores patients’ personal details and medical history, Clinical Decision Support which is a tool that aids physicians in making accurate evidence-based clinical decisions, and even Training and Research, a platform that trains doctors.

The system can be used within a specific perimeter, such as within a single laboratory, or simply for management of all clinical imaging like x-rays and MRIs, but can also be extended and integrate coverage across departments, ultimately improving interaction between doctors, nurses and allied health through integrated healthcare, and resulting in better provision of care for patients.

Why should Health Care Personnels use a CIS if doctors have managed just fine before its invention?

While the medical field is quickly advancing, it has become paradoxically more convoluted, and health professionals have time and time again made headlines for getting tangled in medicolegal cases. Pharmacists have been caught hoarding medications from hospitals and diluting prescriptions for patients, and complaints have been filed against doctors and nurses for communication errors.

Adoption of a CIS in healthcare administration can prevent leakage in drug inventory and sales, as the system offers an algorithm that helps to manage the inventory and sales of items and drugs by the clinic. This significantly reduces the risk of unethical practices by clinical staff who pilfer pharmaceutical drugs unnoticed, or charge patients a higher fee and pocket the extra money, causing not only a financial loss for the hospital or clinic also defamation to the facility.

The CIS is also designed to allow for structured organisation of information and automated reports, such as for patient fees and bills, pharmaceutical inventories, management of drugs approaching expiration dates, insurance reports and even reports of adverse drug reactions to be submitted to the Drug Control Authority.

The ICT-based CIS reduces paperwork, which saves costs and cuts the need for physical storage space, especially in countries where it is legally mandated for healthcare information to be stored for a minimum number of years.

But more importantly, the CIS improves patient safety in many ways. Information is well-organised, legible and reduces likelihood of medical error due to illegible writing, enables safer and more reliable prescribing, and therefore eases communication between allied health professionals. Patient information is also secure and can be safely shared with patients and other clinicians when necessary, enhancing continuity of care for patients.

Ultimately, the improved efficiency helps improve productivity and optimise profits within the clinic or hospital, and if integrated across all facilities, can eventually improve the healthcare system as a whole.

Source: MIMS Today

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