Many countries have established national initiatives to implement integrated medical information system to improve nation’s healthcare system and to ensure patients with quality and efficiency of health care services, and Malaysia is no exception. According to Ching et al (2012) the rapid changes in the medical environment have greatly accelerated and increased hospitals’ demand for the quality and quantity of information processing.
In Malaysia currently, the Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has announced that the government hospitals nationwide will be able to serve patients faster by 2015 when medical records are accessible online. The Health Ministry of Malaysia declares that multi-million ringgit have been allocated annually for computerization programme to create an electronic records database of all patients by converting hardcopy records. According to Liow in Local Pharmacy News (2011) by implementing the electronic medical records the Malaysian government hospitals can share the information thereby speeding up medical services and patients will have shorter waiting time and faster diagnosis of illness as the nation’s healthcare system and medical data of both outpatients and inpatients are computerized.
At the first phase of computerizing medical records, it is expecting that at least 20 Malaysian government hospitals would able independently retrieved their records. In fact, the first phase of the project is expecting to be completed by 2015 and the computerization will covered major hospitals in the states and followed by smaller hospitals and clinics. Therefore, when all the 20 Malaysian government hospitals have completed digitalizing medical records, the Health Ministry will set up the online network for all hospitals to be connected with a common database. Thus, it is generally expected that the integration of medical information system will speeding up the medical services by helping doctors in referral cases, comments, and diagnoses. Hence, the patients will have shorter time and faster diagnosis of illness.
Furthermore, integrated medical information systems are the single entry points into a medical world in which computational tools not only assist with clinical matters (results reporting, order entry, access to transcribed reports, telemedicine applications, and decision support), but also with administrative and financial topics (Admission-Discharge-Transfer, materials management, personnel, payroll), research (outcomes analysis, quality assurance, clinical trials, implementation of pathways and protocols), scholarly information (digital libraries, bibliographic searches, drug information databases), and even office automation (spreadsheets, word processors) (Shortliffe, 1999).
AIM/OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The aim of this study is to explore the current states of medical information practices in the Malaysian government hospitals. The objectives of this study are:
i. To identify the existing states...