Policies are written documents that mirror the administrators of a particular organization. In this case, the organizations are healthcare organizations such as hospitals and clinics. With healthcare informatics becoming such a big part of healthcare organizations, policies are being made to keep patients and staff safe. Healthcare informatics policy is directed at making care more effective, improving public health, and proper collection and analyzation of data to guide evidence-based practice. Since policies are reflections of administrations, they can change based on the direction a healthcare organization is heading or what their focus may be (Hebda, Hunter, Czar, 2019). For example, if a hospital is having an increase in medication administration errors, then their policy may focus on scanning all patients and medications prior to administration.
One of the biggest concerns of healthcare informatics is the privacy and protection of important patient information and policies on informatics have been aimed at reducing the risk of the security of that information being breached. Hospitals have policies such as not putting patient identifiers in emails, logging out of electronic health records once leaving the patients room, education on phishing emails, creating firewalls, having backup storages for patient information, audit trails for and specialized access for private charts. There are also policies on the recovery and retrieval of healthcare information in case of unplanned disasters. The AMIA identified six key health informatics policies: patient empowerment, HIT safety, workforce education, data sharing, quality measurement, and public health (Simpson, 2012).
The impact these policies have made on informatics have been steps in the right direction due to the importance and protection they place on informatics. They allow us to safely use informatics for better patient outcomes. Telehealth is also fairly new has new policies arising too. For example, at our hospital we use telephysch medicine for psychiatric patients in the emergency department. One of our policies is that all of our psychiatric patients must be assessed by a telepsychiatrist and their recommendation must be upheld regarding 51/50 holds. Using telemedicine in place in person consultations at hospitals that do not have in house specialties improves patient care because it saves time and money for both the patient and hospital. It is especially effective for time sensitive cases such as patients with stroke like symptoms in deciding whether or not to use TPA because instead of having to wait for a neurologist to arrive, the neurologist is able to instantly assess the patient via computer video chat and receive expert consults.
Hebda, T., Hunter, K. M., & Czar, P. (2019). Handbook of informatics for nurses and healthcare professionals. NY, NY: Pearson.
Simpson RL. (2002). Nursing informatics. Issues in telemedicine: why is policy still light-years behind technology? Nursing Administration Quarterly, 26(4), 81–84. Retrieved from https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=c8h&AN=106956521&site=ehost-live