14. Hospital Information System

- Dr. Dilip Bhale


                 “Hospital Information System (HIS)” is a system that manages information in a hospital; that is collects, stores, analyses and makes the information available, when needed, to the right person. A hospital information system need not always be a computer-based system; it can be a paper based information system that has been used in hospitals for many years. However when we talk of an HIS we are referring to an information system that uses modern information and communication technologies, although we don’t say so explicitly.

Elaborate definitions of HIS have been given. One of the definitions considers the functions of an HIS:

“The goal of an HIS is to use computers and communication equipment to collect, store, process, retrieve and communicate patient care and administrative information for all hospital affiliated activities and to satisfy the functional requirements of all authorized users.”

Another slightly technology oriented definition is:

“An information system for the benefit of a hospital, in which data are coherently stored in a database, from where they are put at the disposal of authorized users at the place and at the time the data are required, in a format adapted to the specific needs of the user.”

Benefits of an HIS:

The benefits of a modern HIS over the conventional system are:

The above benefits will not always be the direct effect of deploying an HIS but will vary from system to system depending on the type of organisation and method of implementation.

Components of an HIS:

A hospital is a complex organisation so a hospital information system will also be a complex system catering to different users with different needs and functions.

A typical hospital information system will have different components performing entirely different functions but working in coordination with other components of the system.

 Technical architecture of an HIS:

The technical architecture of hospital information systems has evolved with developments in information and communication technologies. First HISs were developed in the sixties and three different architectures have been used from the early to the modern HISs.

Standards and protocols in an HIS:

A clinician need not know the details of standards and protocols used in an HIS still if he knows the names of these things he will be at ease while talking to an IT person.


 Future HISs:

           The future hospitals are likely to be parts of ‘Integrated Delivery Networks’. The IDNs will comprise of primary care centers, specialist consultations, secondary care hospitals, tertiary hospitals and community health services.

              Information systems that cover the whole network are called ‘Healthcare Information Systems’, HCIS. The HCIS are more complex than present HISs but the rapid development in information and communication technologies is making successful implementation of HCIS possible leading to better healthcare, the ultimate goal of Healthcare Informatics.