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Definitions of Health Information Technology

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Health information technology has been created to improve quality by increasing adherence to guidelines, enhancing disease surveillance, and decreasing medication errors. Much of the evidence on quality improvement relates to primary preventive care (avoids the development of a disease) and secondary preventive care (early disease detection). Health IT has also made health care experts, policymakers, payers, and consumers consider it to be critical in transforming the health care industry. Health information technology has its benefits, however, adapting new information systems to health care has proven difficult and rates of use have been limited. Instead, information technology applications have been centered on administrative and financial transactions rather than on delivering clinical care.

Definitions of Health Information Technology

Health Information Technology is a term that is often used interchangeably with "electronic medical records". It is a system where medical professionals store the information usually contained in a patient chart on a computer, rather than on paper.

Health Information Technology is the use of information and communication technology in health care.

Health information technology (HIT) is "the application of information processing involving both computer hardware and software that deals with the storage, retrieval, sharing, and use of health care information, data, and knowledge for communication and decision making" (Brailer, & Thompson, 2004).

According to the researcher's findings, Health Information Technology (HIT) is the use of information technology in health care which allows the production of electronic medical records for communication and decision-making.

Facilitators of HIT

The following are various examples of information and communication used to facilitate Health Information Technology (HIT):

Electronic health record (EHR): EHRs were originally envisioned as an electronic file cabinet for patient data from various sources (eventually integrating text, voice, images, handwritten notes, etc.). Now they are generally viewed as part of an automated order-entry and patient tracking system providing real-time access to patient data, as well as a continuous longitudinal record of their care.

Computerized provider order entry (CPOE): CPOE is typically a medication ordering and fulfillment system. More advanced CPOE will also include lab orders, radiology studies, procedures, discharges, transfers, and referrals.

Clinical decision support system (CDSS): CDSS provides physicians and nurses with real time diagnostic and treatment recommendations. The term covers a variety of technologies ranging from simple alerts and prescription drug interaction warnings to full clinical pathways and protocols. CDSS may be used as part of CPOE and EHR.

Picture archiving and communications system (PACS): This technology captures and integrates diagnostic and radiological images from various devices (e.g., x-ray, MRI, computed tomography scan), stores them, and disseminates them to a medical record, a clinical data repository, or other points of care.

Bar coding: Bar coding in a health care environment is similar to bar-code scanning in other environments: An optical scanner is used to electronically capture information encoded on a product. Initially, it will be used for medication (for example, matching drugs to patients by using bar codes on both the medications and patients' arm bracelets), but other applications may be pursued, such as medical devices, lab, and radiology.

Radio frequency identification (RFID): This technology tracks patients throughout the hospital, and links lab and medication tracking through a wireless communications system. It is neither mature nor widely available, but may be an alternative to bar coding.

Automated dispensing machines (ADMs): This technology distributes medication doses.

Electronic materials management (EMM): Health care organizations use EMM to track and manage inventory of medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and other materials. This technology is similar to enterprise resource planning systems used outside of health care.

Interoperability: This concept refers to electronic communication among organizations so that the data in one IT system can be incorporated into another. Discussions of interoperability focus on development of standards for content and messaging, among other areas, and development of adequate security and privacy safeguards.

The Benefits associated with Health Information Technology (HIT).

There are many benefits of using health information technology some of which include:

 Higher quality care.

* A network of electronic health records allow for doctors to access health history quickly.

* Electronic health records also reduce paperwork. They will all be kept together, even if the patient goes to a different doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.

 Improve patient's safety.

* Reduces mistakes made by doctors.

* Ensure the same medical tests are done twice.

 Patients will be actively involved in their health care

* Patient's get direct access to their health record.

* Able to view test results, refill a prescription or checking medical history.

 Easier for patients to talk to your doctor.

* Patients can talk to their doctor without making an appointment.

* Medical records will be on a secure network that will allow patients to e-mail their doctor any questions.

 Health information is easily available.

* Through an electronic health record, doctors have access to your health history during a regular visit, or during an emergency.

* Public health organizations can have access to health information if there is a medical crisis. For example, if there is a flu outbreak, they can see right away if the patient has been immunized.




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