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Health Information Technology

Health & Technology Together

Akash J Nair
October 14, 2017

                        Before the 19th century there was no trend for life expectancy: life expectancy fluctuated between 30 and 40 years. Over the last 200 years people in all countries in the world achieved impressive progress in health that lead to increases in life expectancy. In the UK, life expectancy doubled and is now higher than 80 years. In Japan health started to improve later, but the country caught up quickly with the UK and surpassed it in the late 1960s. In South Korea health started to improve later still and the country achieved even faster progress than the UK and Japan; by now life expectancy in South Korea has surpassed life expectancy in the UK.

 

       Health information technology (HIT) is information technology applied to health and health care. It supports health information management across computerized systems and the secure exchange of health information between consumers, providers, payers, and quality monitors. Based on a 2008 report on a small series of studies conducted at four sites that provide ambulatory care – three U.S. medical centres and one in the Netherlands – the use of electronic health records (EHRs) was viewed as the most promising tool for improving the overall quality, safety and efficiency of the health delivery system.


Broad and consistent utilization of HIT will help to:


• Improve health care quality or effectiveness:


• Increase health care productivity or efficiency;


• Prevent medical errors and increase health care accuracy and procedural correctness;


• Reduce health care costs;


• Increase administrative efficiencies and healthcare work processes;


• Decrease paperwork and unproductive or idle work time;


• Extend real-time communications of health informatics among health care professionals;


• Expand access to affordable care.

Interoperable HIT 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;


• Evaluation of health care based on value enabled by the collection of de-identified price and quality information that can be compared.

                        
                         Technology is a broad concept that deals with a species' usage and knowledge of tools and crafts, and how it affects a species' ability to control and adapt to its environment. However, a strict definition is elusive; "technology" can refer to material objects of use to humanity, such as machines, hardware or utensils, but can also encompass broader themes, including systems, methods of organization, and techniques. For HIT, technology represents computers and communications attributes that can be networked to build systems for moving health information. Informatics is yet another integral aspect of HIT.


The term health information technology (health IT) is a broad concept that encompasses an array of technologies to store, share, and analyse health information.


                More and more health care providers are using health IT to improve patient care. But health IT isn't just for health care providers. You can use health IT to communicate better with your doctor, learn and share information about your health, and take actions that will improve your quality of life. Health IT lets you be a key part of the team that keeps you healthy.


Health Information Technology Includes:


Electronic health records (EHRs):


                        Your doctor keeps records of your health information, such as your history of diseases and which medications you're taking. Up until now, most doctors stored these in paper files. EHRs (sometimes called "electronic medical records") are electronic systems that store your health information. EHRs allow doctors to more easily keep track of your health information and may enable them to access your information when you have a problem even if their office is closed. t. EHRs also make it easier for your doctor to share information with specialists and others so that everyone who needs your information has it available when they need it. Some EHRs may also allow you to log in to a web portal to view your own health record, lab results, and treatment plan, and to email your doctor.


Personal health records (PHRs):


                            A PHR is a lot like an EHR, except that you control what kind of information goes into it. You can use a PHR to keep track of information from your doctor visits, but the PHR can also reflect your life outside the doctor's office and your health priorities, such as tracking your food intake, exercise, and blood pressure. Sometimes, your PHR can link with your doctor's EHR.


E-prescribing:


                    A paper prescription can get lost or misread. E-prescribing allows your doctor to communicate directly with your pharmacy. This means you can go to the pharmacy to pick up medicine without having to bring the paper prescription.


e-Health Tools


There are other "e-Health tools" that you can use on your own, if you wish, that may be considered a part of the broader health IT world. These include:


    Personal health tools.

                                        These are tools that help you check your health, get feedback, and keep track of your progress to better manage your health. Examples include smartphone "apps" that can help you set and monitor fitness goals and cell phone text reminders to take your medicine on time.


    Online communities.


                                           Online communities can help people connect with one another to try to maximize good health (such as during pregnancy) or to respond to concerns about poor health. Through online communities you can share information with -- and emotionally support -- others facing similar concerns about a particular disease or disability. These e-health tools are designed to place you at the centre of your care – helping to put the "I" in Health IT.


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