Healthcare systems are necessitated by the need of healthcare information. The systems would not be complete with the input and analysis of data, information that they are designed to support. Information technology enables an organization in management of functions like planning, developing, designing, implementation of systems and providing services. These are essential in capturing, storing, processing, and communicating data, information and knowledge. The same goes for the healthcare industry. Healthcare IT industry has evolved over the years with many changes. In hospital care practice today, there is a greater shift away from paper documentation and towards computer database maintenance.
Information technology is becoming so important to the healthcare industry in recent decades, that any up gradation affects a hospital’s operation immensely. Healthcare organizations are finding it challenging to keep up-to-date. They have to deal with rising costs due to an aging population, increased chronic illness, industry and government regulations, and rising consumer demands for improved services and patient care.
To improve cost efficiency and accountability in healthcare systems, international governments are putting pressure on hospitals and healthcare service providers to increase their use of healthcare technology using globally recognized standards. These regulations and initiatives are inspiring many hospitals to upgrade their IT systems by adopting IT convergence. It involves combining multiple IT systems and applications into a centralized window. For example: the low-voltage cabling system supporting the facility’s wired and wireless voice, data and video communications.
IT convergence has proven to be a cost effective way to reduce network complexity and lower administration time and costs. This translates into lower overhead costs and increased profitability. Usually most hospitals administrative and medical systems are installed on separate networks in a traditional manner. However, with the ever increasing application variety, the cost and complexity of maintaining separate systems have increased phenomenally. The answer to increasing IT cost is IT convergence. Healthcare IT management stakeholders like hospital administrators, medical staff and clinical support personnel all should come together and implement IT convergence to improve medical care and cost efficiency. In the past, the lack of swift, integrated information flow obstructed the coordination, collaboration needed to deliver prompt and efficient patient care.
IT convergence is a norm in the ever-changing healthcare IT trends. With more organizations going paperless and opting for electronic systems, convergence of information technology is the future. IT convergence helps to increase efficiency, stay upgraded and reduces cost, the key parameters for good quality patient care.