Technology and Decision-Making Paper
More than ever before, information technology is helping clinicians and health care systems improve the collection and management of data along with the ability to aid in decision–making for clinical and business issues. Information technology has led to significant improvements in quality of care, patient safety, and communication between clinicians. The key to information technology and decision-making is to develop relationships between information technology and the users to make effective decisions. Systems that support decision-making assist the user’s ability to make short and long-term decisions by providing information to make decisions concerning particular situations. Health care informatics “incorporates theories from information, science, computer science, and cognitive sciences” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 5). Health care informatics specialists use theories, and the Data, Information, and Knowledge (DIK) Model to guide their practice, which in turn supports clinical practice and optimizes health care delivery. Systems and Informatics Theories
Theories are useful in several ways. Theories form a reference point for information technology and users. Without theories users would spend time condensing information and data from empirical sources. According to John Holmes, chairperson of the American Medical Association, every informatician “should need to know about information systems theory. You should be able to write a small program in a reasonably modern language, know the key areas of research, clinical vocabularies, decision-support systems, and have grounding in evaluative sciences” (Gardner et al., 2009, para. 4). The system theory views a system as separate parts enclosed in a boundary but interacting and working together. Systems are either open or closed (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002). “Closed systems are enclosed in an impermeable boundary and do not interact with the environment” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 5). Whereas open systems “are enclosed in semipermeable boundaries and do interact with the environment” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 5). An open system takes information from the environment, processes the information, and then returns the output into the environment, which becomes feedback for the system. Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) refers to the input-output process of the open system (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002). Quality input is needed to have quality output returned. The three characteristics of an open system are “purpose, function, and structure” (Englebardt & Nelson, 2002, p. 6). A system can have more than one purpose. An example of purpose would be employee communication. Function is the activity the system will carry out to support the purpose of communication. If the employee communication is the purpose then e-mail is the function in which employees communicate. Once the function is defined then the structure can be determined. Structure can be either hierarchical or a web model. A hierarchical structure is a type of networking architecture that describes the physical arrangement of all of the networks (O’Leary & O’Leary, 2010). The web structure is the interrelationship between different networks.
According to Gregor (2006) “To understand information systems, theory is required that links the natural world, the social world, and the artificial world of human construction” (para. 15). The Shannon and Weaver Information-Communication Model is one of many types of information theories. The concept of the model is the sender originates the message and the encoder converts the message into a code. The message is sent through electronic channels such as sound waves or telephone lines. The decoder converts the message so that the receiver will understand the message. “The communication-information model provides an excellent framework for analyzing the effectiveness and efficiency of information transferred and communicated”...
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