Healthcare information security


October 13, 2016 by

A hospital information system (HIS) is a component of health informatics focusing primarily on the administration requirements of healthcare organizations such as hospitals, clinics, or nursing homes. HIS has various implementations and is a comprehensive and integrated information system. It is designed to administer every aspect of healthcare operation, including administrative, medical, legal and financial issues as well as other corresponding service processing.

HIS gives a common source of information and health history of patients. The system is designed to keep patient information securely and it controls which users have the authorization to access the data in certain situations. These systems improve the healthcare professionals’ ability to coordinate patient care by providing patients' health information. Healthcare professionals can visit patient history whenever needed. The visual laboratory test data for patients, such as X-rays, is also available to be viewed by professionals at different locations. An HIS allows both external and internal communication between healthcare providers.

Implementing HIPAA Controls

Implementing HIPAA Controls

Learn how to protect ePHI from unauthorized use and disclosure, and how to help employees stay compliant with HIPAA rules.

HIS contains three core levels, namely the central government, territory and patient carrying levels. Usually, every HIS is supported through the client-server system to enhance processing and networking. Currently, most HIS work positions are resident types and mobile computing has started, along with PC stands, tablets, and smartphones applications.

HIS with Internet networks have been deployed successfully in Healthcare sectors and adopted widely for further developments. HIS is a program designed to improve patient information access with the help of central electronic information setup. The chief goal of HIS is to streamline patient data flow and its accessibility by various healthcare professionals. The implementation of HIS is made to improve the quality and safety of patient care over time.

Because HIS contains records of patient information, including results of laboratory test and doctor information, physicians across healthcare organizations can easily access patient data, previous prescriptions and test results. At the same time, HIS allows organizing patient schedules and early warnings by related systems.

HIS is a more static information management model that is often made of several software components having specified extensions, along with large varieties of sub-systems comprising medical specialties. HIS is a multi-vendor market product that calls for specialized implementations.

A future-proof and efficient HIS is a chief element of a viable healthcare system with the rapid development of the healthcare business. Currently, there is a need to control the processes that govern the healthcare sector. With increasing costs of healthcare, there is a demand for information management by healthcare professionals. The HIS system is a completely patient-centric platform that contains the functionality to manage different patient types such as inpatient, outpatients, emergencies, day care, accidents, and referred patients.


Health management information systems can be regarded as one of the six building blocks that are essential to strengthen the healthcare system. These are information collection systems designed specifically to import data and thus help in supporting the management, planning, and crucial decision making in healthcare organizations and facilities. The HMIS idea is gaining popularity around the world as analysis and reporting of different data is becoming vital in Healthcare. An HMIS allows accurate and timely information, whenever needed through the web-based platform.

It is critical to have an effective HMIS for both the patients and the healthcare organizations, as it can provide information for target setting, policy planning, and their implementation. HMIS offers accessibility and availability, as well as accurate and timely analysis of health data that allows implementation challenges. However, during the design of an HMIS, one must consider local settings for sustainability.

HMIS can be built by working in tandem with governments and donors. This helps to build up required information systems to meet the global needs of healthcare organizations in managing and accessing health information around the world. Strategic and operational HMIS services are provided by several companies and the healthcare organizations can use the help of such companies in building their own database. A good HMIS has the following attributes:

  • Developing and implementing HMIS within and outside countries
  • Development of HIS policy on the basis of reviews received from the existing information systems
  • Strategies and frameworks for health information
  • Evaluating and monitoring health information with survey tools
  • Setting up institutional capacity building
  • Educating the health workers and decision makers to proper use of health data

The key players in HIS/HMIS

IT administrators: They play crucial roles in maintaining systems to make sure system uptime is high. They are also responsible for handling the backup of the database and its restoration whenever necessary.

Application specialists: The software vendor and the application specialists of the healthcare organizations play a key role in every activity related to the implementation of the software application. They are also involved in training/retraining of the new employees about HIS.

Engineers (hardware and networking): They maintain the hardware and networking systems in the healthcare organizations. They are required to do all the troubleshooting to keep the system online, thereby making the patient information available to various healthcare professionals.

Although there is no standardization in HIS/HMIS, efficient as well as precise finance, administration, patient diet, engineering, and medical aid distribution are necessary attributes of the system that help in the growth of the healthcare organizations. Use of HIS/HMIS improves the drug usage monitoring and effectiveness study of drugs to reduce adverse drug interactions and promote more appropriate utilization of pharmaceuticals. HIS/HMIS also aids in the enhancement of information integrity by reducing transcription errors and entry information duplication. Moreover, HIS/HMIS is user-friendly and easy-to-use software that eliminates errors made due to handwriting. It provides perfect performance through the utilization of remote servers and cloud servers.

Benefits of HIS/HMIS at a glance

  • HIS/HMIS is a radical solution having end-to-end features that simplify the operation of healthcare organizations.
  • It improves performance and management while reducing the operational costs of healthcare management.
  • It provides automation of complex works as well as access to accurate and precise patient information.
  • It helps in maintaining workflow.
  • HIS/HMIS relieves the workload of the health workers, enabling them to spend more time on patient care and helping them to extend their reach for care services.
  • HIS/HMIS is designed to cater to a wide range of management and administration processes in healthcare organizations.

Because every healthcare organization is unique in terms of its priorities and requirements, HIS/HMIS is made with options that permit easy customization. The general feature of HMIS allows unparalleled scalability and flexibility with comprehensive types of reports, intuitive visuals, easy customization and interactive graphics to simplify complex information and test results. HMIS dashboards support quality initiatives as well as full drill-down capacities. The HMIS has been considered as a combination of seasoned professionals having relevant as well as rich healthcare industry experience. It includes the best healthcare practices and it is designed to deliver critical tangible healthcare management benefits to the providers and the patients across the globe. The use of updated technologies further enhances the capabilities and functionalities of HMIS in modern day healthcare organizations. HMIS software provided by leading companies has made the healthcare management operations much smoother thereby improving patient care and time management.

HMIS offers a useful solution for healthcare organizations planning to reduce the operational costs of clinical transactions and administrative processes. At the same time, it gives better service to the patients. It helps healthcare administrators by significantly improving operational control and also by streamlining all operations. It permits improved response to the patient care demands through automation of key processes in collecting, assembling, and retrieving patient data.

HMIS allows mapping of the clinical pathways in the system, thus improving diagnostic processes and the treatments offered. It gives healthcare professionals and health workers the decision support system required to deliver patient care that meets global standards. The automated and intelligent patient information flow through the HMIS allows healthcare professionals and organizations to provide better service to their patients. Furthermore, the HMIS provides many direct benefits, such as reduced paperwork, easier record management of patients, greater organizational flexibility, and minimal inventory levels, faster information flow within different healthcare departments, accurate and timely information, reduced wastage, and decreased waiting and registration time for the patients.

The indirect benefits of HIS/HMIS comprise improved image of the healthcare organization and a better competitive advantage. HIS/HMIS not only gives an opportunity to the healthcare organizations to boost patient care but also may help in increasing the organization’s profitability.

HIS/HMIS at a Glance

  • It is aimed to have a patient-centered approach.
  • It is user-friendly, easy-to-use and web-enabled applications.
  • It can be regarded as a multi-level distributed hospital information system.
  • It enhances security and privacy of patient data through authentication, authorization and implementation of a privacy policy.
  • It relies on integration and patient identification.
  • It is a single log-in operation.
  • It uses controlled vocabularies for coding.
  • It provides data consistency and transparency.
  • It has single enterprise warehouse data store providing robustness, reliability and performance
  • HIS/HMIS data software is always HIPAA and HL7 compliance.
  • It has scalability and portability features such as modular open architecture and declared interfaces.

However, HIS/HMIS transforms the paper-based health record system to digital system that requires security against malicious cyber-attacks. The recent data breach in earlier this year at California Hospital further establishes the need for urgent attention to Healthcare cyber-security. It is advisable to use only trusted HIS/HMIS software systems to minimize such cyber security risks. Some of the industry leading HIS/HMIS software providers are:

SoftClinic: Can be regarded as the best HMIS Software having all the EHR, HMS, and EMR features with cloud and desktop versions.

eHospital Systems: A comprehensive and integrated information system that is designed to manage every possible hospital operation.

Insta HMS: It is web-based hospital management system that covers clinical, operational, and financial aspects of healthcare organizations.

uni wide HMIS: Another web-based hospital management solution having features like CRM, inventory, facility management, payroll, and accounts modules.

HMIS: A complete hospital suite software to serve all hospital management functions.


Implementing HIPAA Controls

Implementing HIPAA Controls

Learn how to protect ePHI from unauthorized use and disclosure, and how to help employees stay compliant with HIPAA rules.