Section V. PROS AND CONS OF COMPUTERIZATION
3-29. ADVANTAGES OF COMPUTERIZATION
a. General. Computer information systems have proven invaluable in carrying
out predetermined operations and helping decision-makers clarify their ideas and plans.
Computer speed makes possible extended calculations and rapid retrieval of stored
information. Computer memory facilitates the storage and availability of vast amounts
b. Increased Timeliness and Accuracy of Patient and Administrative
Information. With the help of computers, information and reports can be transmitted
and delivered much more rapidly than before. Diagnostic answers formerly delayed
until a disease actually manifested itself in the patient can now be obtained in a matter
of minutes. Patient studies that used to take 15 minutes now take 15 seconds.
c. Greater Individual Productivity. With the use of the computer,
predetermined operations are simplified, thus reducing the time it takes to do a job, and
permitting employees to take on additional responsibilities. Reports prepared from
statistics compiled by hand, formerly taking days, are now available in several minutes.
d. Improved Quality of Care. By using a computer program called Physician
Data Query that identifies the latest cancer treatments, physicians can find the right
therapy for a patient with any type of cancer. Up to now there has been a shortage of
information on which treatments work best for what kind of patients because little
research had been done on the outcome of patients' treatments. Treatment patterns for
the same condition vary according to geographic locale. (Within a given area, doctors
reach a consensus on how to practice, but that consensus may not be the same in
another area.) Hospitals, clinics, health-maintenance organizations, and other medical
groups are now collecting data on how well various treatments work. By 1991, at least
100 patient-outcomes projects should be under way to study cataracts, diabetes, and
broken hips. Outcomes research, made possible by the computer, will provide hard
data on success of treatment that will help improve the quality of medical care.
e. Reduced Personnel Costs and Inventory Levels. Hospitals have reported
significant annual savings due to the installation of computer systems. Increased
revenues, a reduction in accounts receivable and costly inventory are benefits
attributable to computerization.
f. Faster, Better Analysis by Administrators. With access to daily, weekly,
and monthly statistics, administrators can make more informed decisions, spot trends,
strengths, and weaknesses that would have previously gone unnoticed. They also can
engage in "what if thinking. Interoffice information systems, that tie key administrative
and management personnel together electronically, reduce time spent in meetings,
increase productivity, and cut down on administrative support staff.