Definition of Terms
- Electronic Health Records (EHR)
An EHR has been extensively described as a digital-version of the paper register of the patient. Sensibly, EHRs are real-time and records that are patient-centred that produce data instantly along with making it secure to the authorised personnel (HealthIT.GOV). In other words, EHRs are inherently built around a structured digital data that includes the demographics of the patient, status of admission, physical and even diagnostic findings, discharge status, prescriptions amongst other fields.
- Interoperability of Health Information Systems
The term interoperability has been illustrated as a well-functioning CNS (central nervous system) that coordinates the many roles of the healthcare system as well as its tasks towards a common end (the patient’s health) (HealthIT.GOV). Typically, interoperability refers to the capacity of diverse IT systems together with software appliances to effectively communicate, accurately and consistently exchange and apply data.
- Data Standards in Healthcare
Subtly, data standards refer to the key informatics element required in the flow of data through the infrastructure of the national health information. Thus, in the healthcare context, the terminology ‘data standards’ is comprised of approaches, terminologies, protocols as well as specifications for the collection and storage alongside retrieval of data that is aligned with healthcare applications such as medications, medical records, payment, monitoring systems, radiological images and even medical devices (HealthIT.GOV).
- Health Information Exchange (HIE)
HIE refers to the transmission of data that is related to healthcare among multiple elements involving facilities, HIO (health information organizations) and even government agencies to national standards (HIMSS, 2009). To meet its needs, HIE technology has to facilitate consistent along with secure data transfer amid distinct systems, on top of facilitating access and data retrieval. This electronic movement of health information enables the healthcare providers to have the most up-to-date information about the patient and enhances the coordination of care.
- Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO)
Extensively, RHIOs have been labelled as multi-stakeholder organizations that allow the exchange together with the use of health information in a secure way so as to promote health quality, safety and even efficiency (HealthIT.GOV). Thus, these organizations present a universal access to the information of the patient among a distinct organizations’ network including: hospitals, pharmacies and even clinics among others.
- National Health Information Network (NHIN)
Different scholars have described NHIN as set of principles that form the basis for the secure health information exchange, which has the capacity of supporting meaningful use (HIMSS, 2009). In this sense, such basis/foundation is comprised of technical, data use and policy alongside service level agreements, not to mention other requirements that allow confidential, secure and even interoperable health information communication among the NHIN partakers in the public internet.
Scholarly References on RHIOs
1. Mäenpää, T., Suominen, T., Asikainen, P., Maass, M., & Rostila, I. (2009). The outcomes of regional healthcare information systems in health care: a review of the research literature. International journal of medical informatics, 78(11), 757-771.
The authors of this article maintained that any RHIO is supposed to contain effects together with impacts on healthcare actions, treatment outcomes and even work practices. In this material, their main objective was to learn the manner by which HIOs have been examined and the outcomes. The authors performed a systematic review of the aforementioned systems; conducting a literature search on four electronic Cinahl Medline, Cochrane and Medline/PubMed. Using survey and case study methodologies, the authors noticed diverse forms of RHIOs, which were heterogeneous and in distinct stages. The outcomes of the RHIO centred on the five key parts including: information flow, system usability, collaboration and process remodel alongside organization culture.