Clinical information systems have come of age and the technology is fast bringing about a revolution in healthcare

By Dhirendra Pratap Singh

The proliferation of information technology (IT) and other high technologies into medical imaging and diagnostic equipment in the last decade has resulted in the evolution of powerful new systems in the field of medical diagnostics. Clinical Information Systems (CIS) is information technology system which applied at the point of clinical care. These are healthcare information systems used by doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to provide clinical care to patients.

Functions and utilities

The CIS enables doctors to have a quick review of the previous medical history of patients. It also facilitates storage of digitised images of films and patient photographs album for each patient with patient’s date sequence.

The system can be integrated with laboratory, diagnostics imaging, appointments, OPD billing and A/T/D modules. The availability of pre-defined medical record formats for each discipline makes easy storage and retri facilitates in maintenance of electronic record of the patient medical history, family history, diagnosis and treatment advised to the patient during each visit. All the departments, for instance, blood bank, pharmacy, laboratories are interconnected and linked to the system.

Sharing the benefits of CIS in healthcare delivery, Sarath Anand Jupalli, Managing Director, Shivam Software Solutions, says, “Clinical information system, today, is an essential component of hospital functioning system. It integrates all the hospital work flow processes—registration to outpatient, in-patient data storage to billing, scheduling of operations, duty rosters, biomedical functioning processes, purchase, finance to security.”

The secret of success in implementing a CIS lies in designing and configuring the system to optimally suit the clinical workflow and processes of the concerned clinical environment, rather than trying to completely redesign the clinical workflow and processes of the concerned clinical environment to suit the CIS. Of course, this transition period presents an opportunity to improve and streamline the clinic’s workflow and processes for better efficiency.

Rothin Bhattacharyya, utive Vice President, HCL Infosystems says, “The sector is at the stage from where it will grow in leaps and bounds over the future course of time. On the provider side we are geared up to provide complete ICT solutions including HIS, LIS, RIS, ERP, PACS, Telemedicine and the IT infrastructure required by the provider segment. We are especially focusing on providing solution for clinical excellence and working towards solutions, which will allow collaboration among various care providers enabling a one patient one record scenario in the country.”

He adds, “Our solutions will be hosted on HCL Cloud Ozone or private cloud of a healthcare provider and we believe that optimal care and patient safety are prime concerns of most of the providers and good clinical information systems would help to overcome these. This would lead to accountable care organisations towards which the provider segment is moving.”

Experts advise health organisations to first implement the ambulatory EMR, get a feel of the electronic culture and the change it brings about, before going in for the more intense implementation of an inpatient EMR. From the patient’s perspective also it makes more sense, as normally a patient takes many more visits to the clinic or doctor’s office, than admissions into a hospital.

The CIS enables doctors to have a quick review of the previous medical history of patients. It also facilitates storage of digitised images of films and patient photographs album for each patient with patient’s date sequence


Major Clinical Information Systems

  • Ambulatory or Outpatient CIS including the Ambulatory/OPD EMR
  • Inpatient CIS including the Inpatient EMR and CPOE systems
  • Speciality systems like the Emergency Department Information System, ICU Information System, CIS, and Oncology Information System
  • Ancillary Information Systems like LIS, PIS and RIS

Standards and regulations

The healthcare organisation must make sure the CIS implemented is compared to standards like HL7, DICOM, so and on, so that they can exchange data with other systems within the organisation. It will invariably be found that in due course of time, any standalone CIS system will have to start exchanging information with other systems in the organisation or even in the region.

Pankaj Vaish, President Healthcare IT, Religare Technologies Limited says, “Healthcare, which has been a leader in embracing science and technology to provide innovative ways to diagnose and treat diseases has been slow in leveraging IT. CIS including clinical pathways, care plans, electronic health records and CPOE help improve efficiency and accessibility of healthcare delivery. Huge investments on ambitious national EHR projects by countries like US and Canada is to ensure better quality of care at affordable price to all. The data from this initiative will help drive chronic disease management and research programs.”

In conclusion, CIS have come of age and this technology is fast bringing about a revolution in healthcare, just like information technology brought about a revolution in other fields like finance, banking and travel. Those healthcare organisations that wish to be of international caliber will have to embrace this technology and implement it, as this technology will be a benchmark criteria in qualifying as a healthcare organisation of international standards.

Pankaj Vaish says, “CIS that are based on global standards and easily customisable for a region or country, would allow care delivery organisations to expand ensuring the same high level of care delivery efficiencies and reliability. CIS systems will soon be the backbone of the healthcare IT systems, globally.”

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