Healthcare IT: A Digital Transformation or a Technological Hype?
Healthcare IT, sometimes known as "healthcare information technology," is the area of information technology that deals with the development, application, and management of information systems for the healthcare industry. Automation and interoperability in healthcare information systems will improve patient care and public health, reduce costs, increase productivity, reduce errors, and increase patient pleasure while also increasing reimbursement for outpatient and inpatient healthcare providers.
The importance of health IT nowadays is a result of the interaction between advancing technology and changing regulatory rules that have an impact on the quality of patient care.
Decoding Healthcare IT
The phrase "health information technology" (health IT) describes the technological devices that medical professionals use to save, transfer, and analyze patient data as well as, to a greater extent, the patients themselves. IT in healthcare includes:
Personal Health Records (PHRs)
With the exception of having more control over the data submitted into it, a PHR and an EHR are extremely comparable. A PHR can be used to keep track of information from doctor's visits, but it can also represent your life outside of the clinic and your top health priorities, such as monitoring your blood pressure, diet, and exercise schedule. Periodically, your PHR might link up with your doctor's EHR.
Electronic Prescribing (E-prescribing)
Paper prescriptions have the potential to be lost or misread. Your doctor can communicate instantly with your pharmacy through e-prescribing. This suggests that you do not require a printed prescription when you go to the pharmacy to get medication.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
EHRs enable medical professionals to better manage your medical data and may even enable them to access it beyond business hours so they may assist you if a problem occurs. EHRs also make it easier for your doctor to share data with specialists, ensuring that those professionals who need access to your data do so when needed.
Security and Privacy
Any of these technology techniques can safeguard your medical information more thoroughly. It is possible to encrypt electronic data, for example, to ensure that only authorized users can access it. Also, health IT can make it easier to track down and document who has accessed your information.
How Does IT Empower Patients and Providers Alike?
Healthcare IT has a wide range of advantages. The increased efficiency it offers is one of the biggest advantages. Healthcare workers may easily, correctly, and securely access patient information due to electronic health records, for instance. They do away with the need for manual, paper-based records, which are frequently erroneous and hard to track.
By enabling medical staff to deliver more individualized and focused care, healthcare Technology has also improved patient outcomes. Physicians may access patient data in real time, analyze it, and base their judgments on the knowledge gathered with the use of healthcare IT. They are able to diagnose and treat patients more quickly and effectively as a result.
The fact that people now have easier access to healthcare is another advantage of healthcare Technology. For instance, telehealth makes it possible for people to obtain medical care from a distance. Without leaving their homes, patients can speak with healthcare professionals, get medical advice, and even get prescriptions. When social isolation was required during the COVID-19 pandemic, this was especially helpful.
Can We Afford to Overlook the Significance of Healthcare IT?
Healthcare information technology (HIT) enables healthcare professionals to better manage patient care through the secure use and exchange of health information. By enabling the majority of Americans to have secure, private electronic health records and making health information electronically accessible whenever and wherever it is needed, healthcare information technology can improve care while simultaneously lowering costs.
Health IT will enable healthcare professionals to:
Information on a patient's health that is complete and accurate. Professionals in the medical field can then offer the best care possible, whether it's a routine examination or a medical emergency.
The ability to organize healthcare more efficiently. This is especially important if the patient has a serious medical condition.
information to reduce medical errors, expedite the detection of health problems, and provide safer care at a lower cost.
Navigating the Regulatory Landscape of Healthcare IT - Who Watches Over Its Progress?
Recent years have seen a major increase in the adoption of EHR systems due to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was passed in 2009 and featured meaningful-use initiatives and EHR incentive programs. The meaningful use criteria were created and overseen jointly by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). These criteria allowed doctors and hospitals to be eligible for incentive payments totaling tens of billions of dollars across the American healthcare industry.
The existing system of value-based pay will be replaced by the Medicare Access and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) Reauthorization Act, a law passed by Congress in 2015. In the interim, $6 billion was allocated to cutting-edge scientific and technical medical research under the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), established and enforced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, also applies to healthcare organizations and their business partners that handle protected health information (PHI), such as third-party billing companies (HHS). The law mandates that patients have full access to their PHI and places restrictions on access by other parties in order to protect the privacy of their data. When healthcare providers violate PHI breaches(OCR) , the HHS Office for Civil Rights has the right to punish them.
The initial outcome of businesses' focus on healthcare IT has been the digitization of patient records. There has never been a better time for people to identify the medical specialists who can most effectively satisfy their needs and move seamlessly between clinics, hospitals, and offices.
The tools, networked systems, and devices used to collect and manage medical data are all included in healthcare IT; nevertheless, what healthcare IT actually enables and how far it reaches are what genuinely identify its advantages.