Health Data Management: Sharing and Saving Patient Data

Consider the idealized cycle of health information in evidence-based medicine where database systems offer information sharing service for doctors, medical researchers, medical institutions, and patients. In this scenario, doctors and researchers can easily query and analyze medical information with much greater speed, security, and ease. What would facilitate achieving this idealized environment, and assess the benefits and challenges of these achievements? How soon do you realistically expect to see these to be implemented on a large scale?

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Health information sharing among doctors, medical institution, researchers, and patients is pivotal for the development of evidence-based medicine (EBM). According to Djulbegovic and Guyatt (2017), EBM has experienced a rise in the previous 25 years due to a conceptually new approach to evidence, its use, and limitations. Even though the process of information sharing is well-discussed in the scientific literature, there are areas of possible improvement in the sphere.

One of the ways to facilitate achieving the idealized environment of data sharing is developing the methods of accessing health-related information. Djulbegovic and Guyatt (2017) argue that effective care delivery in need of more efficient ways of disseminating studies, systematic reviews, and practice guidelines. This endeavor requires a more user-friendly way of accessing the information, which represents the demand for providing electronic access to healthcare data from all types of devices including smartphones. According to Djulbegovic and Guyatt (2017), the goal to create a more accessible environment will be achieved in the following 25 years.

The benefits of this undertaking are evident, as easier access to healthcare data will allow faster information procession, and, hence, the more rapid emergence of evidence in healthcare. However, the process will pose additional challenges in data protection, as protected information will be more exposed to security breaches. In short, while the proposed method is associated with significant privacy issues, it is worth implementing due to numerous benefits.

What type of data needs to be stored to support a clinical decision support application that warns physicians about potential drug-drug interactions during the prescribing process?

Drug-to-drug interactions (DDIs) is a considerable concern for physicians while dealing with prescriptions. However, according to Carli, Fahrni, Bonnabry, and Lovis (2018), the quality of decision making in substance recommendations can be significantly improved by database utilization with drug-related alerts. To provide such signals, a database must contain certain types of data that would facilitate clinical decisions in hospital settings.

The information required for improved decision-making in the sphere includes the chemical composition of a drug, possible interactions with other substances, and a list of all medications a patient is taking at the moment of prescription. Knowledge about chemical compositions of brand drugs is crucial, as most DDIs are described in connection to active substances and additives. Additionally, the database should define all the possible DDIs and provide links to the description of all the potential adverse effects and their treatment.

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Finally, to recognize a possible danger in drug use, a physician has to know what medications a patient is currently taking. Special queries can identify possible risks in drug prescription and provide explicit alerts that would help a doctor to avoid potential adverse effects. In short, a database warning physicians about possible DDIs requires an immense body of data that has a complicated organization.

Discuss cloud computing from the perspective of advantages over traditional data storage approaches (e.g., client-server technology). Give an example of security considerations vs. client-server that is currently used in your organization.

A shift towards cloud computing is a worldwide trend that allows faster development of a business. According to Hoscheid (2016), cloud computing has given every university or school graduate to become a second Mark Zuckerberg. Indeed, cloud hosting minimizes startup costs by allowing paying for value and not technology. The crucial characteristic of the approach is scalability, as users can pay only for what they need, and when they no longer need the facilities, they can stop subscription with no equipment left unused (Hoscheid, 2016). Moreover, this method of computing provides access to the stored data from anywhere around the globe. In short, the list of advantages of cloud computing over traditional data storage approaches is rather long.

At the same time, it is worth mentioning the possible drawbacks of cloud services. Traditionally, the primary concern of companies making a shift towards the method of computing is information security. According to Ali, Khan, and Vasilakos (2015), companies dealing with security-sensitive matters tend to adhere to traditional data storage approaches. However, for most businesses it is more convenient and safe to use cloud computing, as service providers, such as Amazon and Google, “can attract and retain cyber-security personnel of a higher quality than many governmental agencies” (Hoscheid, 2016, para. 21). An example of security considerations versus client-server that is currently used in our university is DropBox for turning in the assignments.

Assume you are currently working as an HIM professional in a hospital setting. Hospital leadership has asked you to evaluate whether a hospital should move data from its current, locally hosted, network to the cloud. What would be the process for migrating the data into a cloud-based environment?

As a health information manager (HIM), I would go through five crucial steps to migrate the data from a locally hosted network to the cloud. First, I would evaluate if such migration were needed by considering all the equipment owned by the hospital and comparing it to the projected needs of the facility. I would also assess the migration cost and the current spending on maintaining and security procedures.

Second, I would plan and prepare for the migration to ensure data integrity by making modifying user applications, as proposed by Rai, Sahoo, and Mehfuz (2015). Third, I would choose a cloud environment that would be most cost-efficient and protected from security breaches. The fourth step would be to copy all the data and applications from the local server to the cloud. In short, the first four steps are evident and need extensive research and consideration.

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The most crucial step in the process is the fifth step, as it includes operability review, utilization of unneeded equipment, and employee training. The primary objective of an HIM is to maintain an operating system; therefore, before turning to the cloud services a responsible manager has to run tests to make sure that everything is in a working condition. After that, I would create a schedule for personnel training and make sure that all the equipment that was used for running a local data storage would be sold or utilized.

References

Ali, M., Khan, S., & Vasilakos, A. (2015). Security in cloud computing: Opportunities and challenges. Information Sciences, 305, 357-383. Web.

Carli, D., Fahrni, G., Bonnabry, P., & Lovis, C. (2018). Quality of decision support in computerized provider order entry: Systematic literature review. JMIR Medical Informatics, 6(1), e3. Web.

Djulbegovic, B., & Guyatt, G. (2017). Progress in evidence-based medicine: A quarter century on. The Lancet, 390(10092), 415-423. Web.

Hoscheid, L. (2016). 20 cloud computing quotes that you must read. Web.

Rai, R., Sahoo, G., & Mehfuz, S. (2015). Exploring the factors influencing the cloud computing adoption: A systematic study on cloud migration. Springerplus, 4(1). Web.

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