Word processorA word processor is used to write documents, letters, memos, reports, books, articles, notes, and faxes. According to Keizer (1992) “Word processing is the post popular use of a PC, with 1991 North American word-processing software sales topping the billion-dollar mark. Only spreadsheets have altered America’s business landscape more dramatically than word processors have” (p. 60).According to Keizer (1992)
“Word processors may differ in ease of use, speed of such typical tasks as searching through long documents, and ability to produce attractive output, but all hand you a complete set of writing instruments, from text-formatting tools to spelling checkers” (p. 60). Examples are Word for Windows and WordPerfect for Windows.
These two are used in personal and professional fields. (Keizer, 1992).Word processing software is used to type, edit, format, preview, and print word documents. Software programs can employ macros or templates to enable standardization for document processing. Healthcare templates create uniformity for documentation and communication (Mumtaz & Hammond, 2002). . Hierarchical database Hierarchical databases place data into a structure that resembles a tree and allows for visual relationships to be used.
There are tree arcs to show the flow of corresponding data. They are considered limited and inflexible showing a one-to-many flow such as in a genealogy tree. There can be only one parent segment per child (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).A use for a hierarchical database would be in listing physicians and their patients (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002). Another use is a genealogical tree.
Advancements in hierarchical multiprocessor environments are being worked on that would allow on-line transaction processing applications (Kostenetskii, Lepikohov, & Sokolinskii, 2007).According to “Penn State” (n.d.), “It is one of the oldest methods of organizing and storing data, and it is still used by some organizations for making travel reservations.
The advantage of hierarchical databases is that they can be accessed and updated rapidly because the tree-like structure and the relationships between records are defined in advance” (Database Fundamentals). Flat database “A database consisting of a single table is called a flat database” (Englebert & Nelson, 2002, p. 67).
This database files the record in a text file with fields separated by columns or tabs (Englebert & Nelson, 2002).Uses such as constructing data for one specific issue such as Apgar scores for a single provider (Englebert & Nelson, 2002).
According to “Techterms.com” (n.d.), “While it uses a simple structure, a flat file database cannot contain multiple tables like a relational database can. Fortunately, most database programs such as Microsoft Access and FileMaker Pro can import flat file databases and use them in a larger relational database” (Flat File).“Flat file is also a type of computer file system that stores all data in a single directory.
There are no folders or paths used organize the data. While this is a simple way to store files, a flat file system becomes increasingly inefficient as more data is added. The original Macintosh computer used this kind of file system, creatively called the Macintosh File System (MFS)” (Flat File).
They can be used to save and track information during upgrades and new equipment installation. Object-oriented databaseAccording to “Penn State” (n.d.), “an object-oriented database can be used to store data from a variety of media sources, such as photographs and text, and produce work, as output, in a multimedia format (Database Fundamentals). An advantage is that this type of system reduces the amount of programming required to set up the system (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).
According to “DBMS2” (2011), Intersystems Cache’, the most successful OODBMS product by far, with good OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) capabilities and a strong presence in the health care market. Although it was designed around the specialized MUMPS/M language, Cache’ happily talks Java and SQL” (Object-oriented database management systems [OODBMS]).
According to “Penn State” (n.d.), “The ability to mix and match reusable objects provides incredible multimedia capability. Healthcare organizations, for example, can store, track, and recall CAT scans, X-rays, electrocardiograms and many other forms of crucial data” (Database Fundamentals). The providers that I work with no longer uses films in accessing radiological data, it is via CD.
Stand-alone information system “A stand-alone system is one in which the computer is not connected to other computers via a network” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 148). Computers that stand-alone are not capable of sharing information. Word and Excel are such programs that are usually installed on individual computers (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).Stand-alone computers would be used in administration where email, personal use or where information would not be readily shared with other users (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).
Hospital information system Hospital information systems allows for business and patient information to be managed, stored, retrieved, and distributed. This allows for the safe and efficient care of patients (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).
I have used McKesson. According to “McKesson” (2013), “McKesson’s Paragon® hospital information system delivers, with a single database and common functionality that support integrated ancillary products that allow you to build a system to meet your HIS and budgetary requirements” (Hospital Information Systems).As a patient is registered in admissions, testing can be scheduled, a bed can be found, orders written, processed, decisions made, costs monitored, and information retrieved by other providers throughout the hospital system as needed (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).
Specialty information system Specialty information is needed for certain departments and is irrelevant to other departments. “Specialty systems are continually being developed to meet the specific needs of specialty groups” Englebardt & Nelson, 2002). “Examples of such applications are systems that support radiology, laboratory, dietary, anesthesia, and physical therapy departments” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 153). These applications collect and manage specific data related to the specific department (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).
A specific practitioner can have the system built to meet his needs in the area of practice. The needed patient data can be added to their database if the system is set up to communicate with radiology (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002). Administrative information system “Administrative systems support functions required to manage service lines or specific departments, such as patient care services, food services, and materials management” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 155).
The data in these systems can be restricted such as in payroll and labor management. ADP and QuickBooks are examples of software and systems that can be used in smaller businesses or large businesses. “The primary function of these systems is to document administrative activities and facilitate directed decision support for identified service” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 155). Operations support systems “Operations support systems address the direct day-to-day operations of an institution” Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 156).
The support system provides efficiency and a smooth workflow.Using the same e-mail, phone, paging, word processing, and document system allows an institution with multiple users to easily access and use available systems. Systems can be updated and upgraded with less hassle (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).“Standardization greatly enhances the ability of the IS department to support users” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 156). This decreases down time, confusion, and education should users wish to access a system outside their normal work realm.
Documentation system Documentation systems are used to support clinical flow and provide real-time information and health status of a patient without the need to find a chart or call for information (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).EPIC is a system that is used in some facilities. This system allows a user to document on the body systems while cueing the user to enter other vital information and is able to capture information from cardiac monitors. Communicating between all disciplines provides cost-effective and efficient care (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).
“The automation of these plans ensures better communication for orders and results, patient progress, and practitioner evaluation among all care team members” (Englebardt & Nelson, p. 155). Electronic medical record The electronic medical record is any information on a patient’s past, present, or future health needs that can be utilized via technology to provide patient care or health related services (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).The earliest form of electronic health record I worked with was in scanning documents into electronic files.
These were easily shared. Eclinical works, Aprima, and Allscripts are software programs for electronic medical records (Winston & Medlin, 2011). Provides continuity in patient care, reducing redundancies, and the patient can access their records from any system as needed (Winston & Medlin, 2011). “A system is required to provide the functions that make the HER useful” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 211). Spreadsheet“Spreadsheet programs are used primarily to manipulate numbers and provide the ability to perform arithmetic and logic operations on a chosen data set” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 45-46).
Microsoft Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 are commonly used spreadsheet programs (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002). Data calculations such as sums, trends, and other graphs can be used to present data.These systems allow user to put number data into a project format for “what if” analyses with a visual presentation of the information (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002). Presentation/graphical “Graphics programs are used to create, import, and manipulate digital images” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 46).
These programs create a visual enhancement of data.Microsoft PowerPoint, Soft Chalk, and Blackboard are systems that can be used for presentations. “Adobe PhotoShop is one example of a full-featured and widely used graphics program” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 46).Presentations and graphics are used to provide a visual representation of numerical data and any other information needed to go with lecture, educational information, and business proposals (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).
Decision aid The decision aid is a system to help practitioners make treatment decisions. This allows development of treatment options and obtains feedback with less anxiety and conflict for patients (Bhavnani & Fisher, 2010).Decision aids can be utilized through the internet or accessed through insurance companies.
These can assist in decisions depending on diagnosis, risk factors, and age (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002).“Clinicians will need to make explicit to patients that DAs are an adjunct to routine care and not a replacement, and therefore do not represent a derogation of responsibility. DAs need to be used as an integral part of the communication and support process for patients who want them” (Bhavnani & Fisher, 2010, p. 54). Decision support system “an automated decision support system (CDSS is an automated decision support system (DSS) that mimics human decision making and can facilitate the clinical diagnostic process” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 116).
This system requires a decision by the user.These tools support and stream line the decision making process. MEDgle, SimulConsult, and Lifecom are systems that use different methodologies to provide advice (Winston & Medlin, 2011).The data is manipulated and presented in such a way that information can be interpreted and a decision made (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002). These systems can also aid in keeping facilities up to date on latest research.
Expert System A type of decision system. “An expert system implements the decision of the computer system without control by the user” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 14).Expert systems can track and save information. Expert systems can reduce errors such as in CPOE, computerized physician order entry. Legibility is not an issue and routing is streamlined (“McKesson”, 2013).An expert system can aid take patient data information and formulate a diagnosis CPT or ICD 9 code eliminating errors relating to coding (Mumtaz & Hammond, 2002).