For the Course Project, you are asked to research a healthcare organization, health information functions, and information technology used at this facility. Your report should identify the type of healthcare setting, identify services offered, identify users of health information and their needs, discuss how user needs are met, describe health information functions performed at this organization, and describe at least one information system used in this facility along with the system’s functions and role in healthcare delivery. Application of knowledge attained in this class will support your ability to critically analyze your findings, to assess the strengths and weaknesses of this organization’s health information technologies, and provide recommendations for improvement as may be appropriate to the situation. This project is valued at 240 points (24% of your grade).
Examples of the types of healthcare organization that may be appropriate subjects for this type of project include hospitals, hospital systems, integrated healthcare systems, multispecialty medical clinics, physician practice offices, ambulatory surgical centers, mental health service providers, public health clinics, rehabilitation or long-term care facilities, insurance companies, pharmacies, Urgent care clinics, etc. The organization chosen must be complex enough to offer sufficient challenge and must be realistic in terms of information available at a level needed to complete the project in the required time frame. For example, an assisted living facility that does not make use of information systems would not be appropriate for this project.
There is no need to, nor would it be appropriate to access any confidential patient information in order to complete the project.
The best learning experience is obtained when you go through a dynamic communication process with people in the chosen healthcare organization. It is preferred that you interview someone who works in health information management (HIM director, coder, someone in the registration area, someone working with health information systems, release of information, billing, etc.); however, interviews with physicians, nurses, or other clinicians or administrative assistants will work, too. Yes, it may take several attempts and different modes of communications to secure an interview but you need to be persistent, proactive, and adaptive in order to achieve your goal: the interview. If your communication attempts and/or completion of the interview fails, you may consider using your own experience in using health information systems, or research AHIMA resources, articles, and case studies available online or library resources. In such cases, reach out to the professor for more guidance.
For successful completion of the project, please follow the guidelines below and comply with the criteria listed in the grading rubric for deliverables, organization, grammar, and resourcefulness.
- Describe and analyze the chosen healthcare facility.
- Location – where is the organization located.
- Type of setting – acute care hospital, skilled nursing facility, physicians office, surgical center, insurance company, etc.
- Size of the facility – research the number of beds if applicable or other information on the size.
- Ownership – private, government owned, proprietary, voluntary, etc.
- Population served
- Services offered
- Any accreditation or certification facts (You can find these from the organization’s website, by searching accrediting organizations, such as The Joint Commission at https://www.jointcommission.org/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. , https://www.qualitycheck.org/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. or DNV GL Healthcare at http://dnvglhealthcare.com/hospitals (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. or by asking questions during the interview).
- Work on this section after completing Week 2 content and reviewing Chapter 2 – Draft due on Week 4, Final Project due on Week 7.
- Describe users of the health information and health information management functions at this organization.
- Internal users, such as physicians, nurses, administrators, coders, support services, therapists, pharmacists, etc.)
- External users depending on the type of the facility, such as accrediting agencies, payors, state department of health, CMS, and others as applicable.
- Patients – do they access health information through a patient portal.
- Explain whether this facility has paper medical records only, electronic only, or both/hybrid.
- Describe how users access these records (in whatever format).
- Describe health information functions performed at this organization such as patient registration, master patient index, quality checks, record filing, scanning, retrieval coding, billing, record storage, release of information, dictation, claims processing, health information transmission, registries, data abstraction, auditing, data transfer, patient education on using the patient portal, etc. (Note that not all of these functions may apply depending on the type of organization. You need to figure out as much as you can which ones apply and clarify that in your writing.)
- Identify any health information functions that may be outsourced and performed by another company or vendor. If possible, obtain the name of that company.
- Based on what you learned (through your readings, research, and the interview), share your interest in the health information functions – which ones seems more appealing to you at this time; why; what would you need to do to work in such function; and any other comments.
- Work on this section after completing Week 3 content and reviewing Chapters 1 and 3 – Draft due on Week 4, Final Project due on Week 7.
- Describe information technology or information systems used in the facility.
- Identify the name of the system and the vendor (e.g., Chart Locator software by 3M, Sunrise software by Eclipsys, etc.). If you have chosen to describe a technology, identify its name, such as Picture Archiving and Communication Technology (PACS).
- Describe the system as explained by the interviewer or other sources of information. Consider the following questions or prompts in your description:
- What is the purpose or function; what does the system do? For example: registration, billing, coding, computerized physician order entry [CPOE], nursing notes, picture archiving communication system [PACS], medication administration, e-prescribing, claims processing, finance system, etc.)
- What type of data is entered in it; where does the data come from (manual entry, transfer from another system, etc.); what does the system do with that data (store only?; allows editing?, allows updates?; enable transmission to another organization?)
- Does the system generate any reports; does it have any analytical tools? If so, how is it used in decision-making?
- Is this system considered part of the electronic health record (EHR)? If so, based on your knowledge, comment on whether the system would be considered a source, core clinical “EHR”, supporting infrastructure, or connectivity system.
- Does the system connect to or interface with other systems? If so, which ones? What does that connection or interface do? Why is it needed?
- Is the system user friendly (easy to use)? Is the screen layout efficient?
- Is the system secure? Does the system have built-in tools to assure data completeness and accuracy? Does the system go down often?
- Do vendors support the maintenance and updates of the system?
- What do users do if they have a problem or a glitch? Who helps them resolve it?
- Classify the system (to the best of your ability) based on the description you are given (e.g., clinical, administrative, decision support, transaction-processing, MIS, EIS, etc.) and what you have learned from Sayles, chapters 14 and 15.
- Describe strengths (e.g., ask about benefits of using this system; has it made a difference in the way care is delivered and decisions are made?).
- Describe weaknesses (e.g., functions that the system does not currently perform and you would like it to perform).
- Ask the interviewer on whether he/she has been involved during the systems development life cycle (SDLC). If so, try to learn about their input or impressions from that involvement. It could have been something related to planning, implementation, training, conversion, participation in a demo from a vendor who designed the system, etc.
- Try to find out if the organization is part of a health information exchange (HIE). Also, try to find out if the organization is engaged in a recent AHIMA initiative, called information governance. Write your findings.
- Ask if it is possible to see copies of a screenshot, policies and procedures, brochures, training guidelines, or anything else that they may be willing to share. Keep in mind that these are not required and you definitely, do not need to submit these as part of the project. They may simply help you gain better understanding.
- Identify any opportunities for improvement (based on what you learned from the interview, identification of weaknesses, additional research, or your knowledge about systems).
- Work on this section after completing Weeks 4 and 5 content and reviewing Chapters 11 and 12 – Draft due on Week 4, Final Project due on Week 7.
- Provide final comments and conclusions.
- Summarize your findings about the organization.
- Summarize your findings about the health information functions.
- Summarize your findings about the system or technology described.
- Comment on your experience in reaching out to the organization and securing the interview (how difficult it was and what it took to achieve your goal).
- Reflect on your overall feelings and learning experience as a result of working on this project.
- Suggest working on this section after completing all other sections of the project – Final Project due on Week 7.