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The healthcare ecosystem is influenced by a variety of external factors such as government regulations, licensure, certification, accreditation standards and federal laws or legislations. For instance, the federal government developed the National Health Information Network (NHIN) to facilitated use and management of public health informatics. The NHIN will link various healthcare organizations across the United States of America through information and communication technology (ICT) applications and systems. As a result, a flawless exchange of health information between different organizations in the public health sector shall facilitate provision of high quality healthcare services, improve accessibility of health services by patients as well as help reducing the costs of providing such services. Generally, the healthcare ecosystem is one of continual change. This paper provides an analysis of three current programs initiated by the federal government that aims to transform and revolutionize public health informatics. The selected programs are Public health Informatics Program (PHIP), Sentinel Initiative by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) department and Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs.

Public Health Informatics Program (PHIP)

Public Health Informatics Program refers to an initiative by the federal government that deals with systematic application of information and communication technology (ICT) and computing techniques in the management, research and development and learning of public health practices. The Public Health Informatics Program is a new program in the Health Information and Strategic Planning Division that is responsible for enterprise collaboration of public heath informatics in the United States of America The program establishes an interdisciplinary environment that supports innovative research into information strategies and technologies to improve public health in the United States.

According to O’Carroll (2010), the Public Health Informatics Program had to meet the national health informatics requirements and standards before its certification. The program also had to comply with policies and regulations that govern the distribution of information across public networks and the internet. Similarly, the program had to seek certifications from the Public Health Informatics and Program Office in order to create intranet and extranet databases for its information requirements.

In addition, the program had to obtain license and grant from the National Pubic Health Improvement Initiative (NPHII) as well as comply with the requirements of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) to ensure that it effectively contributes to the overall improvement of pubic health services in the United States of America.

Impact of the Program on Clinical Quality, Reimbursement for Services and Patient Access to Care

In my opinion, this program has helped in improving the quality of clinical care services by creating collaborative relationships amongst healthcare institutions as well as by proving readily available information to the healthcare stakeholders. Through continuous research and developments, the program has provided new techniques for storing, accessing and sharing public health information, thus increasing clinical quality. In relation to patient access to care services, increased availability of information has facilitated timely provision of healthcare services. Unfortunately, this program has not impacted reimbursement for services. The program also helps in ensuring high levels of privacy, confidentiality and security of information to patients, hence improved clinical care.

How Public Health Informatics Program supports the NHIN

This program supports the NHIN by providing current techniques of managing public health informatics through conducting research studies. In addition, the program develops new and innovative approaches for managing, accessing and sharing public health informatics.

Roles of Health Informatics Professionals in NHIN Program

In this program, health informatics professionals are responsible for creation of new databases used for storing public health information. In addition, the professionals are responsible for conducting research studies to find out emerging issues and trends in management of public health informatics.

How the program could impact health informatics workforce

This program would enable health informatics workforce to easily manage and administer information relating to public healthcare services. Through creation of collaborative relationships between various stakeholders in the public health informatics industry, this program enables sharing of vital information needed by a range of stakeholders in the public heath industry as well as sharing of expertise and experiences amongst the industry players.

Sentinel Initiative by the U.S Department for Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA’s Sentinel Initiative is a program that entails the use of computer systems in tracking the safety of drugs, biologics and medical devices. It is a national electronic system used for storing information relating to the safety of drugs and other medicals devices. This program aims at monitoring the safety of various regulated products in consumer markets, thus improving public health. According to O'Carroll (2010), the program also enables the U.S Department for Food and Drug Administration to continuously monitor information databases and electronic health record systems.

The FDA’s Sentinel Initiative program also had to seek license from the national informatics department and a certification from the Consumer Product Safety Commission before its full implementation. In addition, the program had to comply with various rules and regulations governing the sharing of health information across electronic devices and networks. The program also had to be certified to ensure that it complies with the national privacy and security policies that regulate exchange of public health information amongst organizations in the United States.

Impact of the Program on Clinical Quality, Reimbursement for Services and Patient Access to Care

In my view, the Sentinel Initiative by the Food and Drug Administration department shall improve clinical quality by providing reliable information on the safety of drugs, biologics and other medical devices. For example, patients shall be allowed to use only those drugs that have been tested, certified and approved by this program safe. This will also improve the ability of patients to have access to high quality services. Moreover, the program shall provide information needed for improving accessibility of safe products by the patients.

Last but not least, the program shall facilitate reimbursement for services to patients who develop severe side effects after using certain drugs and particular medical products. According to O’Carroll (2003), the program advocates for compensation of patients who incur damages due to usage of drugs and other related products manufactured by pharmaceutical industries.

How Sentinel Initiative supports the NHIN

This program supports the NHIN through provision of essential information on safety of drugs and medical devices. In my view, safety information on drugs, biologics and medical devices is very critical in management of public health services.

Role of Health Informatics Professionals in Sentinel Initiative

In this program, health informatics professionals are responsible for gathering and recording to information relating to safety or drugs in the public health systems. In addition, the health informatics professionals ensure that various information on safety of drugs reach the intended parties such as government regulatory authorities, hospitals, patients and consumers at the right time. They are responsible for dissemination of information to public health stakeholders.

How the program could impact the health informatics workforce

In my opinion, this program impacts the health informatics workforce by providing them with reliable information on safety of drugs and medical devices. This eases their work on management and control of information in the public health sector. Such information also helps healthcare professionals in making sound decisions in relation to various challenges and problems that arise in the public health sector day after day.

Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs

The Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentive programs are national programs initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that aim at providing incentive payments to eligible individuals and hospitals that develop and implement new health informatics systems or wish to upgrade their already existing ones. For an individual or organization to be eligible for funding by these programs, the individual or organization must show or prove ability to effectively use the funds provided in providing high quality healthcare services through improved health informatics systems. These programs received certification from the Electronic Health Records Technology Commission.

Impact of the Program on Clinical Quality, Reimbursement for Services and Patient Access to Care

From my part, these programs shall improve clinical quality by making funds readily available to healthcare service providers. One of the major goals of these programs is to reimburse costs incurred by healthcare institution when developing new health informatics systems in order to offer high quality services to patients. Additionally, this program shall improve patient access to care services by making the services readily available in numerous organizations.

Roles of health informatics professionals in the programs

In these programs, health informatics professionals are responsible for evaluating and assessing the new health systems that individuals and organizations intend to develop and implement or upgrade. This includes determining their viability as well as ability to positively contribute to or improve public healthcare services.

How the programs supports the NHIN

This program supports the NHIN by providing funds that are needed by eligible individuals and organizations to expand their networks and systems for public health informatics. In my view, this goal is in line with the objectives of the National Health Information Network to increase accessibility of health care services across the nation.

How these programs could impact the health informatics workforce

The Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentive programs could impact the health informatics workforce by acting as a motivating factor in development and implementation of new health records and informatics systems that enhance provision of healthcare services. Through these programs, individuals and organizations are inspired and prompted to do more research and come up with new health informatics systems, hence improving clinical quality as well as patient access to healthcare services.

Code: Sample20

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