Health Information Technology

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Health Information Technology : Quality Issues

Author : Neha Salian
Co-author : Malvika Hake


Health IT is the technology that enables patients and providers to support better health and health care by providing targeted information meant to inform, educate or generally allow for improved decision making.

With health care costs and quality assurance taking central roles in the health care arena, increasing attention is being directed towards the potential of health information technology (IT) to lower health care spending and to improve efficiency, quality and safety of medical care delivery. One of the primary motivators for adopting many health IT applications is the belief that they improve the quality of patient care. Health IT holds enormous potential to propel the health care system to higher quality.

Diffusion of IT in health care is generally low but surveys indicate that providers plan to increase their investments. Drivers of investment in IT include the promise of quality and efficiency gains. Barriers include the cost and complexity of IT implementation, which often necessitates significant work process and cultural changes.

This paper focuses on quality issues in health IT, including the types of quality problems information technology can be used to solve and implementation strategies to ensure that quality objectives are met.

Keywords: Health Information Technology, diffusion of IT, quality issues, implementation strategies, quality objectives. INTRODUCTION

Health Information Technology (HIT) provides framework to describe the comprehensive management of health information and its secure exchange between consumers, providers, government and quality entities, and insurers. HIT in general is increasingly viewed as the most promising tool for improving the overall quality, safety and efficiency of the health delivery system. In general, the various IT applications fall into three categories viz. administrative and financial systems that facilitate billing, accounting, and other administrative tasks, clinical systems that facilitate or provide input into the care process and infrastructure that supports both the administrative and clinical applications. Broad and consistent utilization of HIT will improve health care quality, prevent medical errors, reduce health care costs, increase administrative efficiencies, decrease paperwork and expand access to affordable care. Interoperable health IT will improve individual patient care, but it will also bring many public health benefits including early detection of infectious disease outbreaks around the country, improved tracking of chronic disease management and evaluation of health care based on value enabled by the collection of de-identified price and quality information that can be compared. Objectives

Quality issues in health IT, including the types of quality problems information technology can be used to solve and implementation strategies to ensure that quality objectives are met.

Applications and Benefits
Usefulness of implementing HIT must take into consideration several factors viz. the potential of this technology to improve health care quality, safety, and patient satisfaction and how this potential has been demonstrated. The cost-effectiveness of the technology the business case for adoption of the technology including the total costs of implementation (both financial and in terms of resources) and any cost savings that accrue. Concerns exist that those who bear the greatest share of such costs are not able to recoup those costs. The ability to generalize the effects of an HIT intervention on costs and benefits in existing systems (using published experience with or research on these systems) to the technology’s use by other health care organizations.

Type of IT Applications
and financial Billing
General ledger...
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