Ask the Experts
Information technology has often been viewed as a cost center, a necessary negative and, in some rare cases, evolved to acceptance as core to healthcare’s future. What have you seen in the evolution of IT as it is perceived and embraced by healthcare provider organi- zations?
HITECH has put IT on every organization’s agenda. It is now seen as a regular strategic tool, something that CMOs and chief quality offi cers think of early in the discussion of how to address major issues and goals. There is broad realization that, properly implemented, [IT] is
H o a t t
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something that has made a substantial difference in quality, safety and cost of care.
Speaking as a clinician that practiced nursing almost 20 years ago, I am constantly reminded of how ineffi cient and error enabling the world of healthcare was before the arrival of clinical systems and applications. BCMA (barcode medication administration), CPOE, EMRs and clinical decision support are among some of my favorite advances in healthcare IT. If I were to return to nursing today, I would want to work at a place that has deployed this type of technology! Now that healthcare IT has grown from “necessary evil” to “core,” increases in safety, effi ciency and productivity have been realized. This, in turn, inspires improved patient care and gives back time for clinicians to do what they do best – care for patients.
advances in Daniel O’Donnell and clinical syst
Aggregation and sharing of internal data, including the ability to make sense of it in a way that improves effi ciency and quality, is becoming a focus of provider systems [with] extensive but non-interoperable HIT systems. This involves recognition that the data in both healthcare business and clinical systems should be integrated. This is a more basic need in HIT-sophisticated organizations than achieving “meaningful use” and will be an underlying core business need, regardless of how the federal initiatives evolve. We do a lot of business around the world directly
A d s e a e s t
with provider organizations, including government- managed delivery systems, in more than 20 countries and in many languages. Our customers in other countries are not affected by the ARRA HITECH incentives, but they are strongly affected by the same core business needs: greater effi ciency and improved clinical outcomes. This is true internationally regardless of the nature of local payment systems. In many ways other countries – for example, Scotland, Chile, Brazil and Thailand – are showing how very large-scale, patient-centric HIT systems can enable care coordination, clinical outcome improvements and cost effi ciencies.
10 October 2010
As systems improve and clinicians have the data they need when and where they need it, continuity of care across providers evolves. We can fi nally realize improvement in quality of care and access, increased patient safety, enhanced patient-focused records and increased safety and effi ciency for healthcare providers – and all at a time when more patients are being added to the system through healthcare reform.
Organizations will embrace a technology that fi ts their needs and offers usability that matches work fl ows. If those standards are established up front, practices and hospitals have been shown to experience robust ROI, and healthcare information technology becomes an enabler of profi tability rather than a cost center. We’ve seen declining practices revitalized by the right analysis and implementation. I think the industry expects more acceptance as the
provisions of ARRA and the HITECH Act take hold. I think we’ve all seen encouragement by the early adoption and movement being seen by the regional extension center (REC) programs, for example. And fi nally, I think that these acts are furthering the understanding that standards-based interoperability can also be a driver of acceptance as practices realize they can exchange data internally and externally to satisfy stimulus programs, pay for performance measures and advance interaction with patients.
HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY www.healthmgttech.com