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Information Systems - Essay Example

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1. In some ways IT is being used to provide basic care and improve care. For example a nurse can quickly check on a patient's status with a voice call or get a second opinion from another care giver remotely using the communication devices. An additional benefit is less time is spent at a desk doing administration and more time actually tending to patients health data and using it to better co-ordinate their care inside and outside hospitals…
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Information Systems
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1. In some ways IT is being used to provide basic care and improve care. For example a nurse can quickly check on a patient's status with a voice call or get a second opinion from another care giver remotely using the communication devices. An additional benefit is less time is spent at a desk doing administration and more time actually tending to patients health data and using it to better co-ordinate their care inside and outside hospitals. The point of being wireless is that nurses can retain their mobility whilst still doing administrative tasks such as taking and sending telephone calls and contacting other personnel. One downside is that the nurse is always available to anyone who has access to the system. This may mean that there will be some adjustment to prioritizing incoming messages. Nurses will be expected to be more efficient in the way they manage their time, so it is important that this is part of their training too as the technology becomes more universal.
2. IT should be used not just to automate repetitive tasks and ease communications. It should also be used to re-engineer in-efficient administrative and managerial processes with the focus on quality of life for personnel and the well being of patients. The advantage of a WLAN over a LAN is that medical staff do not have to be fixed at a desk to view, modify and evaluate information. It should be accessible as soon as it has been input. If the WLAN is being used for data entry then there will be a time saving. Medical staff could benefit by sharing knowledge, to improve their personal skills and to add to the organization's knowledge. Tying in patient information management with the WLAN could be used to improve and/or access procedure logs, general office tools, transmission of messages and tests, critical value notification, bedside data collection with timestamps, decision protocols, audible alarms, research data collection, and connectivity to computers, cell phones, printers, etc. Where IT is going is to turn medical staff into "informaticists" as they adapt and learn how to use patient data collected by sensors like heart and blood glucose monitors and delivered by wireless networks.
3. There are problems with access and the amount of data and the type of data WLAN's are suited for. Patients would initially want to use the WLAN for voice and data communications, as well as internet access. A decision will have to be taken as to whether that is part of the purpose of the WLAN and to build in capacity. Patients might want access to their medical records through an access point in their bedrooms. For hospitals with the capacity 'fun' services could be provided, such as ordering one's own breakfast from a list agreed with a dietician perhaps.
4. The biggest headache for network administrators is mischievous authenticated and authorized users who abuse their network privileges. Other key problems for hospitals are:
Need for Privacy: Hospitals must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires that all electronic patient records meet stringent security measures. Wireless security gateways should meet the government's rigorous FIPS 140-2 (Federal Information Processing Standards) security-validation program. WLAN installations require a documented security policy, the use of data encryption, verification of ongoing policy enforcement and security incident reporting procedures.
Spotty Coverage: There is a lot of metal in hospitals which cause multi-path propagation and signal attenuation and inter-access point interference.
Roaming: Hospitals are a highly mobile environment. Users often need continuous access to wireless applications as they roam throughout patient rooms, clinics, and offices. If access points reside on different subnets, users won't continue to have access to TCP/IP-based applications (a big problem).
Denial of Service: There are many ways that a mischievous person can disable the operation of a WLAN, and there are few effective counter measures. As a result, hospitals must have a "plan B" - a contingency plan - that will fall in place if the WLAN becomes inoperative.
Physical Security: It is possible for anyone to install 'rogue' WLAN access points. As these are not seen by the legitimate WLAN servers they can open the hospital's network to security breaches, which means that useful data can be stolen, or intruders could inject viruses into the network. Hackers could sniff user-IDs and passwords, and log in to networks causing damage to infrastructure and data. Read More
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