The Effects of Information Systems on Clinical Laboratory Management
(GOOD STUDENT PAPER)
A Paper Submitted to
Dr. Fred Westfall
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for
Introduction to Information Systems
Term III 2007
Troy University – Florida Region
March 4, 2007
NOTE: YOU SHOULD NOT USE THE FIRST PERSON (I, MY, ETC) IN A RESEARCH PAPER. USE “THIS PAPER” OR “THIS AUTHOR”. Be sure to look at the last page.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION and RESEARCH QUESTION
THE OLD WAY WORKS
GROWING IN THE 20TH CENTURY
ENTERING THE 21ST CENTURY
Historically, the laboratory used and stored tons of results on small sheets of paper, which was the basis for intralaboratory and extralaboratory information and communication. Communications with physicians were done by phone over 90 percent of the time. Laboratory results were sometimes hard to read because of carbon copies and managing personnel as it relates to training and the workload was tedious and very time consuming. In doing my research I found that the implementation of information systems in the laboratory has greatly improved the performance of technicians, customer satisfaction increased, and technician to doctor relationships greatly improved. The onset of information systems improved the overall communication with the medical treatment facility. My research is based on historical data recorded from 1980 – present day in reference books, periodicals, journals, several articles in medical laboratory magazines and an interview. Information systems solved many issues in the laboratory, but how did information systems affect the management of the laboratory? I intend to expound on several ways information systems have improved the overall performance of the clinical laboratory.
The problems encountered before the introduction of information systems in the laboratory were crucial, because the physicians depend on reliable laboratory results to aid in the diagnosis of patients. Before information systems were implemented there were numerous clerical errors, identification errors, analysis was tedious and time consuming, there were analytical errors, and the management of personnel was difficult. The research question for this paper is: “What are the effects of information systems on management in the clinical laboratory?” I chose this topic because it is familiar to me and I personally experienced the crossover from storing tons of paper as a reference to laboratory results (1980), to the implementation of information systems (1985), which made accessing results, storing data and preparing monthly reports as easy as the touch of a button. THE OLD WAY WORKS
As technology evolved and computers entered the healthcare industry, resistance to the changes which were on the way was evident. Managers and technicians were reluctant to letting go of the familiar paper society and they were resistant to welcoming the paperless world. “Although automated data processing is increasingly being used for laboratory requisitioning and reporting, manual means for doing this same task will undoubtedly be used in many laboratories and in many situations for years to come. A properly designed manual system can provide many beneficial features of a computerized system without the investments necessary for a computerized system.” (Henry, 1974). This statement of resistance was made by credentialed professional Medical Technologists and authors. The statement is evidence that information systems were looked upon as a costly addition and that cost could be avoided if the labs continued with the manual way of doing things. Laboratory request forms or lab slips were initiated by the physicians (in triplicate) to requisition clinical studies used to assist in the diagnosis of patients....
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