The aim of this essay is to explore the professionalisation of information systems with a focus on medical information systems. Computer technology is becoming increasingly important in all aspects of society, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the healthcare sector. In recent years there has been a growing trend towards the use of computerised systems in healthcare, both for the purposes of patient care and for the management of health services.
Medical information systems (MIS) are one area where computer technology is having a major impact. MIS are complex systems which store, process and provide access to medical data. They are used by a wide range of users, including doctors, nurses, hospital administrators and patients. The use of MIS is growing rapidly, and they are now used in a variety of different settings, including primary care, secondary care and public health.
The professionalisation of information systems is a relatively new phenomenon. Until recently, IS was largely seen as an academic discipline, with little connection to the wider world of work. However, this is changing, and IS is now being recognised as a professional discipline in its own right. This essay will examine the professionalisation of IS with reference to medical information systems.
2. The professionalisation of information systems
The professionalisation of IS is a relatively new phenomenon. Until recently, IS was largely seen as an academic discipline, with little connection to the wider world of work (Feldman & Wagner, 2004). However, this is changing, and IS is now being recognised as a professional discipline in its own right (Walsham, 2006).
There are several reasons for this change in attitude towards IS. Firstly, the increasing importance of computer technology in all aspects of society means that there is a growing need for professionals who have the skills and knowledge to design, develop and manage complex computer-based systems. Secondly, the explosion in the use of the Internet has created new opportunities for IS professionals to work in a variety of different fields, including e-commerce, web design and web development. Finally, the increasing use of computers in everyday life has led to a greater awareness of the importance of IS among the general public.
The professionalisation of IS has been accompanied by the development of new qualifications and professional bodies dedicated to the discipline. In the UK, for example, there are now several professional bodies for IS professionals, including the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Chartered Institute for IT (CiITT). These organisations offer membership schemes and accreditation schemes for IS professionals. In addition, there are a number of universities which offer courses leading to qualifications in IS at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.
3. The development of medical information systems
MIS are complex systems which store, process and provide access to medical data (Arnold et al., 2001). They are used by a wide range of users, including doctors, nurses, hospital administrators and patients (Whetton et al., 2002). The use of MIS is growing rapidly, and they are now used in a variety of different settings, including primary care, secondary care and public health (O’Sullivan et al., 2003).
MIS can be divided into two broad categories: clinical information systems (CIS) and administrative information systems (AIS) (Koppel et al., 2005). CIS are used to support the clinical care of patients, while AIS are used to support the administrative functions of healthcare organisations.
The first medical information system was developed in the early 1960s (Wager & Weber, 2006). This system, known as the Medi-Cal Record System, was designed to store and process patient medical records. Since then, a number of other medical information systems have been developed. These include systems for managing hospital resources, such as beds and operating theatres, and systems for providing decision support to clinicians.
The development of medical information systems has been driven by a number of factors. Firstly, the increasing complexity of medical care means that there is a growing need for MIS to support the work of clinicians. Secondly, the growth in the use of computers in society has led to a greater demand for computerised systems in healthcare. Finally, the development of new technologies, such as the Internet and wireless communications, has created new opportunities for the use of MIS in healthcare.
4. The impact of medical information systems on society
The use of MIS is having a major impact on healthcare, both in terms of how care is delivered and how it is managed.
One of the most significant impacts of MIS is on the way care is delivered. The use of clinical decision support systems (CDSS), for example, is now widespread in primary care (Schilling et al., 2009). CDSS are computerised systems which provide clinicians with evidence-based decision support at the point of care. They are used to help clinicians make better decisions about diagnosis and treatment, and to improve the quality of care.
Another important impact of MIS is on the way healthcare is managed. The use of MIS is now commonplace in hospital administration (Kraft et al., 2010). Hospital administrators use MIS to track and manage hospital resources, such as beds and operating theatres. In addition, they use MIS to monitor and evaluate clinical performance. The use of MIS has enabled hospitals to become more efficient and effective in their operations.
The impact of MIS is not restricted to healthcare. The use of MIS is also having an impact on other social institutions, such as education and government (Boulos et al., 2011). For example, educational institutions are using MIS to support the delivery of distance learning courses. In addition, government agencies are using MIS to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations.
In conclusion, this essay has examined the professionalisation of information systems with a focus on medical information systems. It has been argued that IS is now recognised as a professional discipline in its own right, due to the increasing importance of computer technology in all aspects of society. The essay has also described the development of medical information systems and discussed the impact they are having on healthcare and other social institutions.