The field of information technology known as "healthcare IT" (healthcare information technology) deals with the invention, usage, and management of information systems for the healthcare sector. Healthcare information systems that are automated and interoperable will enhance patient care and public health, save costs, boost productivity, cut down on errors, and boost patient happiness while also maximizing reimbursement for outpatient and inpatient healthcare providers.
The significance of health IT nowadays is due to the interaction of developing technology and shifting governmental regulations that affect the standard of patient care.
What Does Healthcare IT Exactly Mean?
The term "health information technology" (health IT) refers to the electronic devices used by healthcare professionals to store, distribute, and analyze patient data, as well as increasingly by patients. Healthcare IT includes:
- Electronic health records (EHRs)
EHRs allow doctors to better manage your medical information and may allow them to access it even when their office is closed so they may help you when an issue arises. EHRs also make it simpler for your doctor to share data with specialists, ensuring that those experts who require your data have access to it when required.
- Personal health records (PHRs)
A PHR is quite similar to an EHR, except you have more control over the data that is entered into it. A PHR can be used to record information from medical appointments, but it can also represent your life outside of the doctor's office and your health priorities, such as keeping track of your diet, exercise routine, and blood pressure. Your PHR may occasionally connect to your doctor's EHR.
- Electronic prescribing (E-prescribing)
A paper prescription could be misplaced or misinterpreted. Using e-prescribing, your doctor can speak with your pharmacy immediately. This implies you don't need to bring a paper prescription when you visit the drugstore to buy medication.
- Privacy and security
Your health information can be more securely protected by all of these technological methods. Electronic data, for instance, can be encrypted so that only authorized individuals can read it. Moreover, health IT can make it simpler to keep track of and document who has accessed your information.
What Healthcare IT Has to Offer?
While some critics claim that EHRs have spawned burdensome federal requirements and caused practitioners to spend more time entering data than talking to patients, the advantages of health IT are generally acknowledged. Some benefits include:
- the capacity to administer population health management programs and lower the occurrence of expensive chronic health disorders using data analytics and big data;
- the application of cognitive computing and analytics to individual patient-specific precision medicine (PM);
- the capacity for university researchers to exchange health data in order to create new medical treatments and medications; and
- the right of people to receive, use, and work with medical professionals in their own treatment.
Why is Healthcare IT Important?
Through the safe use and exchange of health information, healthcare IT enables healthcare practitioners to better manage patient care. The global market for healthcare IT is likely to record a valuation of US$ 822.5 billion by 2030, says Extrapolate. Healthcare IT can increase the quality of care while also reducing the cost of healthcare by creating safe and confidential electronic health records for the majority of Americans and making health information accessible electronically whenever and wherever it is required.
Health IT will enable healthcare professionals to:
- details that are accurate and comprehensive concerning a patient's health. Then, whether it's a routine checkup or a medical emergency, healthcare professionals can provide the finest care possible.
- the capacity to more effectively coordinate healthcare. If a patient is suffering from a significant medical condition, this is extremely crucial.
- For patients who choose this convenience, a way to safely exchange information with patients and their family carers online. As a result, patients' and their families' participate in healthcare decisions can be increased.
- information to speed up the diagnosis of health issues, minimize medical errors, and deliver safer care at a cheaper cost.
Regulations and Oversight
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was passed in 2009 and included EHR incentive programs and related meaningful-use initiatives, has significantly expanded the adoption of EHR systems in recent years. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) jointly developed and supervised the meaningful use criteria, which qualified physicians and hospitals to receive incentive payments totaling tens of billions of dollars across the U.S. healthcare sector.
The Medicare Access and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) Reauthorization Act, a law passed by Congress in 2015, will replace the current value-based compensation system for meaningful use. In the meantime, the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 invested $6 billion in cutting-edge scientific and technological medical research.
Additionally, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), established and enforced by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, applies to healthcare organizations and their business partners that handle protected health information (PHI), such as third-party billing companies (HHS). The law requires that patients have complete access to their PHI and limits access by third parties to preserve the privacy of their information. The HHS Office for Civil Rights has the authority to impose fines on healthcare providers who have PHI breaches (OCR).
In the End
The first result of the emphasis on healthcare IT has been the digitization of patient records by organizations. There has never been a better time for patients to locate the medical professionals who can best meet their requirements and transition smoothly between clinics, hospitals, and offices.
Healthcare IT is made up of all the tools, networked systems, and devices used to collect and handle medical data; however, what healthcare IT enables and how far it extends are what truly distinguish its advantages.