Controlling of Healthcare Information Systems

A component of the process of information management within healthcare systems is represented by the IT controlling branch. So that management decision can be taken, information and data have to be delivered from the system. This task is taken care of by IT controlling, which resorts to several approaches and methods in order to reach the planned purpose. An example of such approaches employed in IT controlling is the one consisting of continuous measuring and interpretation of indicators and characteristic values that explain the current status of healthcare information system.Here are the main tasks around which the IT controlling revolves:
- outlining and operationalizing the objectives;
- defining and establishing models, selection and application of reference models;
- setting indicators and appropriate values;
- designing, programming, initiating and constantly measuring indicators;
- planning and performance of evaluation projects;
- accounting results;
- analyzing and interpreting results;
- adopting decisions on the basis of the conclusions drawn from the analysis of the results.As for the methods used in IT controlling, one can distinguish two types of techniques:
- ad-hoc studies (field studies)- useful in getting some insight in the features of performance measuring and in detecting deficiencies and problems;
- continuous data collection by means of indicators and deeper investigations.In the following lines, attention will be channeled towards the set of indicators and characteristic values that are very important tools in IT controlling. Indicators represent variables whose values (characteristic values) define aspects of healthcare information systems. The current value of an indicator has to be compared with one or more predefined reference values. Thus one can discern whether the quality of information processing is good or bad and can evaluate the degree to which the goals have been achieved. The components of the healthcare information system which are relevant when establishing standard indicators are: strategy, projects, quality, processes, functionality, parts of IT infrastructure. According to these components, there can be defined three types of indicators:
- qualitative: for example users’ satisfaction;
- quantitative non-monetary: e.g. failure time;
- quantitative monetary: for instance, costs.When specifying the set of indicators, one should specify:
- a comprehensive description that has to include its purpose and the connection to the objectives;
- the data sources, the procedures and algorithms of measurement;
- the characteristic values and reference values (seen as limits);
- the temporal interval allotted to the measurement (e.g. daily, weekly etc.);
- time of availability;
- the organizational units and persons with responsibilities;
- the set of procedures used to verify adequateness, completeness and correctness of results afterwards.

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