Healthcare and cloud – maintaining information governance

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was passed in the United States in 2010, which made it mandatory for healthcare organizations to adopt Electronic Health Records (EHR). This was further upheld by the US Supreme Court in 2012. While this is not applicable to Australia, our healthcare industry has also seen a move towards digital transformation, with many healthcare providers switching from paper-based records to digital systems. 

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has been driving the adoption of digital health records in Australia, with the My Health Record system being introduced in 2012. This system allows patients to access their own health records online, giving them greater control over their healthcare. It also enables healthcare providers to access patient information quickly and easily, improving patient care and safety. 

Cloud-based systems have become increasingly popular in Australia, as they offer reduced cost and increased security and accessibility compared to traditional on-premises systems. This has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many healthcare providers have had to rely on telehealth services to provide care to their patients. Cloud-based systems have enabled healthcare providers to access patient information remotely, ensuring continuity of care. The majority of enterprises have already shifted to these systems, as they offer ease of use, lower maintenance costs, and indefinite scalability with minimal ramp-up time. From the perspective of information governance (IG), choosing these systems is simple since cloud-based EHR systems typically have more resources devoted to security and maintenance, protecting file privacy and identity theft than most firms can afford locally. 

The accessibility of these systems for patients and medical professionals is another significant benefit. The usage of mobile applications for medical references, prescription ordering, and patient communications has been discovered to make the tasks of healthcare professionals easier and faster. Access to all of their medical records and direct email communication with their doctors seem to be additional benefits that patients find appealing about this trend in healthcare. 

From a commercial standpoint, cloud-based solutions also install more quickly and go through maintenance cycles more quickly than a self-managed on-premises system. This is an essential jigsaw piece that must be taken into consideration. A successful implementation, however, is determined by how well users can engage with the new system once it goes “live,” not by how quickly the new system is deployed to all the computers and devices throughout the business. 

This type of achievement requires much planning in advance around the user experience (UX). Any digital transformation must prioritise improving the user experience because if users can’t use the system, it’s a failure. The user experience component of digital transformation is made up of many small details, but the two most important ones are making the environment simple to grasp and transferring existing data into the new environment so that it is immediately identifiable to the user. 

Once you’ve got things figured out, you need to have a reliable training schedule in place. For every department, it is always advised using hands-on activities that closely resemble real-world situations in training sessions. All instruction, regardless of the learner’s preferred method, has limited impact because what was taught during the training session is only reinforced by repetition of everyday tasks. 

This does not imply that all of the paper vanishes by itself. Even if the amount of paper will continue to rise, it will do so much more slowly. The organization’s retention timetable will determine when to let all that warehouse space go. Some document sorts should undoubtedly be scanned into the brand-new electronic system. Based on the retention date and the procedure cost, those should be examined and the decision to scan made. 

A excellent illustration is that some document types might not be the best candidates for scanning if their destruction is planned for within five years. Scan on demand is an additional beneficial technique. When requested, the storage vendor will scan and upload any hardcopy documents required for a business process into the system while shredding the originals. 

Regardless of a corporate objective or regulatory requirement, digital transformation in the healthcare sector is here to stay. There will be a lot of obstacles to overcome, but they can all be overcome with the help of a dedicated group of business and IT experts working together. Information governance is centered around this.