As organizations across the country joined together to celebrate information technology and the incredible impact it is having on our health care system, National Health IT Week gave us the opportunity to stop and consider the many ways that increased adoption of health IT has enabled a more efficient U.S. healthcare system.
While a new medical device or diagnostic test may make the most noise in the news (think Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy due to a test pre-determining her likelihood for cancer), health IT is the steady undercurrent enhancing patient care. Technologies such as electronic health records, clinical decision support tools and e-prescribing are quietly transforming health care for the better.
Practices and hospitals with more-advanced health IT have fewer deaths and fewer care complications among their patients compared with those with less-advanced health information technology. In practice, health IT has:
- Improved health care quality
- Enhanced patient safety
- Reduced medical errors
- Decreased medical costs
- Prevented unnecessary tests and procedures, and
- Strengthened communication between patients and healthcare providers
These are just some of the reasons why our government is investing resources in encouraging the use of health IT. Meaningful Use incentives to adopt electronic health records totaling $15.5 billion have been paid to nearly 80 percent of eligible hospitals and nearly 60 percent of eligible medical professionals across our nation.
The benefits of health IT go beyond our health care system. As the number of providers using health information technology continues to rise, health IT is proving to be a significant economic driver. More than 50,000 health IT-related jobs have been created since 2009, and demand for health IT professionals continues to surge.
Though National Health IT Week has come to a close, celebrating its positive effects on our health care system has not. At Hello Health we believe that it is important to continue educating health care providers and consumers about the value of health information technology and to encourage adoption so that our nation’s health care system can rise to the occasion of being the best this world has to offer.