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Physician Focus: The evolution of health IT

See on Scoop.itChanging Healthcare for the Better

Technology has increased productivity, reduced costs and led to better services and products for most industries and professions, but health care is just beginning to catch up.

Information technology –– the use of computers, other electronic devices and software designed to support clinical decisions –– is now becoming a pervasive and critical part of health care delivery for the benefit of both physicians and patients.

Diagnostic technology, such as MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) and CAT scans (computed axial tomography) have been around for a while and are wonderful tools to help us look inside the human body and diagnose and pinpoint conditions.

Technology in healthcare, however, has now progressed to allow for such advancements as electronic health records (EHRs), electronic prescribing and even telemedicine –– tools that can improve care, reduce medical errors, help to reduce costs and put patient information at the provider’s fingertips.

This new area of health information technology, or health IT, is considered so important today that the Federal government is providing incentive payments to health providers to adopt these new tools, and health policy makers, licensing organizations and even state governments are starting to establish competency requirements.

Health IT is still developing, however, and some physicians, particularly those in small practices, are wrestling with its inception: the cost of introducing it into a practice can be daunting, and learning how to use it and transferring patient information can be time-consuming.

Further, the lack of interoperability –– the ability of systems used by different hospitals or different physician practices to talk to each other –– is often nonexistent.

See on www.dodgeglobe.com

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