Decision Support Systems in Hospitals – Health System Example

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"Decision Support Systems in Hospitals" is a wonderful example of a paper on the health system. One of the most common benefits of visual tracking displays in hospitals is that it greatly decreases the length of time a patient has to stay in the hospital. By increasing the efficiency of the processes by which a patient is moved through the hospital. It eliminates waste and delay occurring during patient admission, discharge, transport, and handoffs (Tan & Sheps, 2008). When patients spend shorter lengths of time at the hospital, this decreases the cost for hospitals.

Other direct benefits of the visual tracking system include reduced inventory costs and improved resource use; for example, in the laboratories and pharmacy, saving on nursing time that is required to search for information and look for information, as well as saving time that a physician would have used for looking up equipment and information (Tan & Sheps, 2008). Visual tracking systems also save time on the registration of healthcare personnel, better generation of revenue and charge capture, fewer diversions of ambulances headed to the hospital, and increased referral of patients to the hospital since the personnel are aware of available bed space much faster.

Finally, the increased accuracy that visual tracking systems bring leads to improved denial and claims management and reduction of costs that are related to templates and papers that are pre-printed (Tan & Sheps, 2008).                       There are also various indirect benefits of visual tracking displays. First, the staff is able to better understand visit progressions and the progression of hospital processes, such as lab results. Secondly, because it improves efficiency, it improves the morale of the workers and lowers the turnover of healthcare employees (Tan & Sheps, 2008).

Thirdly, because the interaction reports are generated automatically, accountability also increases. Fourth, it also leads to improved performance scores and quality measures as far as accreditation agencies are concerned. Visual tracking displays also leads to potential liability decreases because of improved record keeping, improved safety and satisfaction of the patients, and improved patient education (Tan & Sheps, 2008).                       However, visual tracking display technology also has several challenges within the hospital setting. First, it is repetitive and time-consuming nature may lead to resentment from some healthcare staff (Berner, 2009).

As products and patients move through the hospital, they have to be manually entered into the displayed spreadsheet. The files involve different tabs for all the services within the hospital and, as such, may become cumbersome to work with, particularly if the hospital serves a large population of patients. Another challenge has to do with security, where anyone has the potential ability to read documents that are fed into the system. Anyone can potentially hack into the hospital database and look into a patient’ s medical records (Berner, 2009).                       In addition, these visual tracking display systems do not have information control.

This means that there is a lack of control as far as the collection of data about patients by unauthorized personnel (Berner, 2009). In addition, privacy laws that govern hospitals are not as strong as they should be, even with the use of software to block the hospital’ s sites. Lack of medical privacy could lead to issues that have to do with patients and families. While some patients may not be willing for their information to be shared with their place of work, the presence of this information on the displays and the hospital website means some companies could keep track of their workers by monitoring hospital records (Berner, 2009).                      


Berner, E. S. (2009): Clinical decision support systems: Theory and practice. New York: Springer.

Tan, J. K. H., & Sheps, S. B. (2008): Health decision support systems. Gaithersburg, Md: Aspen Publishers.

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