Advancements in technology are improving many different industries. Healthcare is an industry that requires the ability to manage large amounts of information. In order to accommodate this need, health information technology (HIT) was created. It deals with the creation and maintenance of healthcare information systems. These systems have been designed to decrease costs, increase efficiency and minimize errors from occurring in the healthcare field. The goal is to provide the best possible patient care and service.
According to an article in Healthcare Technology Magazine, “By using analytics to determine hidden meaning buried in medical records, pathology reports, images and comparative data, computers can extract relevant patient data and present it to physicians, ultimately leading to improved patient care.”
Electronic Health Record (EHR)
This is the main element of the HIT infrastructure. An EHR contains a patient’s official health records in digital form. An EHR improves the ability for members of the medical industry to share important patient information. This type of communication is designed to protect a patient’s privacy. It can make certain only essential sections of an EHR are shared, with authorized medical professionals as needed. This provides healthcare professionals quicker access to necessary information and results in better care.
One of the many benefits associated with HIT, is a significant reduction in paperwork. In many cases, there will still be paper forms that need to be completed. As the information associated with a patient becomes digital, the amount of information needed to complete forms decreases. In many cases, HIT makes it possible to put a patient’s basic information on an electronic form. This form can then printed out. Any new information will be provided by the patient. This makes serving patients easier and more efficient.
Fewer Unnecessary Tests
There have been times when a patient has had to take the same medical test twice. The reason for this has been legal requirements placed on sharing medical information. Doctors couldn’t quickly share test results. Many of these tests are not easy to experience, and may require an unwanted trip back to see a doctor. Increased testing also can be expensive, as a second test may not be paid by a healthcare insurance policy. With HIT, Healthcare professionals now have quick access to important information. This can eliminate the need to repeat tests procedures.
Health Records Access
An additional benefit for HIT, is that it enables a patient to have easy access to their own health records. This makes it possible for a patient to change information that could be incorrect or missing. Additions to a person’s health record can be made when necessary. HIT also enables this review to be done in an environment that is safe and secure for the patient. A patient will also be better informed when they ask their healthcare provider questions. HIT enables a patient to better follow prescribed care, and get quicker responses to their questions.
HIT provides an accurate process for eliminating mistakes in the prescription process. It has reduced adverse healthcare events, and increased the quality of the healthcare. It decreases the amount of time spent on the phone between a doctor’s office and the pharmacy. Automation of the prescription and renewal process has saved tens of thousands of dollars for many doctor’s offices. Electronic prescriptions also eliminate the opportunity for anyone to tamper with a patient’s prescription. It saves both time and resources as the quality of patient care increases.