What Is a Health Information Management System?

health information management system
Written by
Jenna Elizabeth
September 26, 2023

Table of Contents

A health information management system (HIMS) is a technology system that retrieves, stores, and analyzes patients’ medical records. The main goal of an HIMS is to enable better healthcare delivery by providing accurate and complete health information in a timely and efficient manner. 

So, why is a robust hospital information management system important? 

A comprehensive and efficient health information management system can facilitate administrative, regional, and national decision-making and lead to health equity at all health system levels, ensuring the highest quality patient-focused care. In addition to providing aggregated information to higher administrative levels, an efficient HIMS can help reduce errors in the workplace by reducing the risk of miscommunication or incomplete information. 

What Does the Medical Abbreviation HIM Stand For? 

Health information management (HIM) is sometimes used interchangeably with HIMS. However, HIM more often refers to a health information manager who oversees, analyzes, and protects patient data. A healthcare manager typically liaises between patients, clinicians, and third-party payers like insurance companies. 

Essentially, health information management systems play a vital role in patient safety and operational efficiency by providing medical facilities with the tools to consolidate, organize, and manage patient and clinical data in one central location. In case you are still wondering what healthcare information systems are good for, here are some ways HIMSs are transforming patient care within the healthcare arena.

Streamline Patient Data Management

Using HIMSs is an effective and fast way to streamline data, and streamlined data management systems are one of the most effective tools used in healthcare. These systems include software that captures and maintains a patient’s health information in an electronic health record (EHR) system. Sometimes referred to as nurse charting software, this EHR system can include a patient’s diagnosis, prescriptions, and treatment plan. In addition, streamlining healthcare operations with electronic health record systems can help keep clinicians updated about their patients in real-time. Using these systems not only reduces administrative workload but can help minimize errors by providing a comprehensive snapshot of a patient’s healthcare journey. 

Electronic Prescribing Software 

Electronic prescribing software, or e-prescribing software, is a software subset of an HIMS that helps healthcare providers enter data into a computer, laptop, or tablet. E-prescribing streamlines the prescription process through automated prescription writing and securely transmits all data directly to a pharmacy. Consequently, e-prescribing is beneficial in the following ways:

  • Improves patient safety: E-prescribing helps prevent drug interactions by seamlessly integrating with the hospital’s electronic health record for the patient, providing information on allergies, medication history, and current medications. 
  • Improves efficiency: It cuts down on time since a medication request is sent directly to the pharmacy. Subsequently, once the medication request is received, the medication can be filled immediately. 
  • Reduces paper trails: E-prescribing greatly lowers a clinician’s time spent on extensive paperwork, which can also help minimize medical errors. 

In summary, e-prescribing is an efficient and practical technology information system that can help reduce common medication errors and greatly improve patient care. 

Picture Archiving and Communications 

In medical terms, PACS stands for picture archiving and communications systems. PACS is a cost-effective alternative to traditional hard copy storage. It helps radiologists digitally distribute diagnostic images such as X-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans securely. Additionally, PACSs put an end to manual storage practices by instead housing sensitive information on off-site servers. This can also ensure a level of cybersecurity. Accordingly, only clinicians who have access to PACS software can safely retrieve this data. Later, medical images serve as important references to help expedite and improve patient care. 

Laboratory Information Systems

Laboratory information systems (LISs) are important software applications that track and manage laboratory data, including test orders, results, and quality control measures. LISs not only help deliver test results faster but can also help improve laboratory test accuracy. Ultimately, PACSs and LISs are critical tools for modern healthcare as they improve clinician coordination, facilitate data sharing, and lead to better patient care. 

Medical Billing Software 

Medical billing software is designed to streamline revenue by automating billing and payment collection. It’s considered one of the most integral parts of a health information management system because medical billing is a necessary but time-consuming process that takes away from other critical healthcare tasks within the workplace. Yet, medical billing is a meticulous process that needs to be analyzed, encrypted, and error-free. 

Billing software eliminates the need for manual billing and can easily be integrated with electronic health records systems, allowing for easy transfer of patient data and billing information. Apart from billing, this software can help facilitate insurance claims, such as surveillance risk and HIPAA compliance. Additionally, this software can accurately track patient deposits and reimbursements and run follow-ups on payment processing. 

Overall, medical billing software is a health information management system that cuts down on managerial tasks relating to patient billing. With advanced features such as patient pre-registration, digitized claim submission, and secure and encrypted payment options, a sophisticated HIMS can generate custom reports and analytics that help medical facilities improve financial performance. Similarly, good medical billing software can ensure that patients are billed correctly, and healthcare professionals are compensated fairly.  

Health Information Management Systems: The Future of Healthcare

What is HIMS in medical terms? In short, a health management system is a set of technology tools to help organize data. In the medical arena, an HIMS can enable medical professionals to make decisions quickly, improving operational efficiency. Furthermore, a robust HIMS can set up a medical facility with the right tools for success by ensuring precise clinical decision-making.

Considering that everyone deserves access to the highest level of healthcare, medical facilities must be able to adapt to new health information management systems. By ensuring that a strong HIMS is in place, medical facilities can expect improved hospital performance, better resource allocation, and notably enhanced patient care. 

Speaking of quality patient care, if you are a medical facility administrator looking for highly-trained clinicians to cover a shift or two, check out Nursa, which helps connect facilities with verified, local clinicians.

Jenna Elizabeth
Blog published on:
September 26, 2023

Meet Jenna, a contributing copywriter at Nursa who writes about healthcare news and updates, empathy and compassion for nurses, how to show staff appreciation and increase retention, and guides that help nurses navigate career pathways.

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