Innovations in information and communication technologies (ICTs) have transformed the manner in which healthcare organizations function. Applications of concepts such as data warehousing and data mining have exponentially increased the amount of information that a healthcare organization has access to. Work flow and associated Internet technologies are being seen as instruments to cut administrative expenses. Specifically designed ICT implementations, such as work flow tools, are being used to automate the electronic paper flow in a managed care operation, thereby cutting administrative expenses (Dwivedi, Bali, & Naguib, 2005, p. 44; Latamore, 1999). These recent innovations in the use of ICT applications in a healthcare context have altered the manner in which healthcare institutions exploit clinical and nonclinical data. The pendulum has shifted from the early 1980s, wherein the emphasis of ICT solutions for healthcare was on storage of data in an electronic medium, the prime objective of which was to allow exploitation of this data at a later point in time. As such, most of the early 1980s ICT applications in healthcare were built to provide support for retrospective information retrieval needs and, in some cases, to analyze the decisions undertaken. Clinical data that was traditionally used in a supportive capacity for historical purposes has today become an opportunity that allows healthcare stakeholders to tackle problems before they arise (Dwivedi et al., 2005).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Bar Codes: A barcode can be defined as data that is recorded in a form that is machine-readable, and can be used by machine barcode readers, and are typically used to implement Auto ID Data Capture systems.
Radio Frequency Identification: Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method which uses devices called RFID tags. An RFID system consists of three components: (1) a tag, (2) a reader, and (3) a computer network. The RFID tag consists of a microchip that has some specific data that enables easy identification and an antenna, which is used to enable transmission of data. The second component of a RFID system is a reader and the reader uses radio waves to read the tag, and transmit data a computer system (i.e., the third component of a RFID system).
FDA: Food and Drug Administration is a governmental agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services. It consists of eight offices: (1) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), (2) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), (3) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), (4) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), (5) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), (6) National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), (7) Office of the Commissioner (OC), and (8) Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA).