Similarities and Differences between a Clinical Information System and an Electronic Health Record
Every health care professional is supposed to provide high-quality medical care to their patients. This task presupposes fulfilling many functions by a physician or a nurse. Apart from prompt and correct diagnosing, health professionals should accurately record patient’s information to produce a correct and helpful medical history. However, the fact that a patient can receive medical aid from different hospitals, departments, and specialists complicates the process. This paper investigates similarities and differences between a clinical information system (CIS) and an electronic health record (EHR) proving that both are significant contributors to achieving favorable health outcomes.
In order to determine the common features of CIS and EHR as well as their distinguishing characteristics, it is important to define both concepts. Meulendijks, Batenburg, and van de Wetering (2012) state that CIS is a collection of specific applications implemented that are used by the hospitals to “mediate technological possibilities in healthcare by improving efficiency and effectiveness of services.” CIS stores the patient’s health history in an organized manner, by the departments, and can also be connected to a billing system. The system manages to ensure patient’s safety, reduce costs, and facilitate their access to medical innovations (Meulendijks, Batenburg, & van de Wetering, 2012). At the same time, EHR is defined as “a longitudinal electronic record of patient health information generated by one or more encounters in any care delivery setting” (Menachemi, & Collum, 2011). Thus, EHR contains all health care-related information on a patient being connected to other systems, such as the radiology information system, picture archive, communication system, laboratories, and other databases (Menachemi, & Collum, 2011). Therefore, the similarities of CIS and EHR are associated with the fact that both systems are aimed at improving the quality of health care, ensuring patient safety, and collecting accurate medical history.
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On the other hand, as far as the differences between CIS and EHR are concerned, these system organize and allocate health-related information diversely. CIS distribute the information among different clinical departments, which are the same or similar in all hospitals, and this health data is received from the corresponding equipment (Meulendijks, Batenburg, & van de Wetering, 2012). For instance, if the information concerns heart conditions, it would be sent to the cardiology department. In addition, there would be an indication that the particular information was obtained from ECG. In contrast, EHR is a continuous flow of health care-related information. The data is available to different health care providers, who are thus able to learn more about the medical history of a patient in general, and if the system offers more access and works properly for this particular provider, they can also consult CIS (Menachemi, & Collum, 2011). Therefore, the differences between CIS and EHR are the following: the former resembles an umbrella organization, which provides more information about the state of a patient’s health from the point of view of different departments, and the latter has a linear organization, whereby different health care providers distinguish the aspect they are interested in themselves.
To conclude, it is important to note that both electronic health record and clinical information system serve the same purpose of increasing health care quality, reducing the costs of health care for a patient, and providing prompt and effective medical aid. Nevertheless, the principle of the organization of these systems is different: CIS is a collection of applications, and EHR is a collection of the health care data. However, they both are useful for health care providers because on their basis, it is possible to develop reliable guidelines for the effective health care plans, time-saving strategies, and economically beneficial treatment plans for a patient.