HIMSS Asks: What is the Value of Health IT?

Once again, HIMSS is asking for perspective about the value of Health IT. The organization asked members of the social media and blogging community to respond to this very question last year for its second year celebrating National Health IT Week. It’s doing so again in preparation of #HIMSS14.

As I pointed out last year, even though it seems like a simple question, there still don’t appear to be any simple answers. There remains different answers depending on who you ask. So, again, instead of offering my lone opinion, I’ve asked a variety of folks to respond to the question, “What is the value of health IT,” based on their insight and experience serving the space.

Phyllis Teater
Phyllis Teater

Phyllis Teater, chief information officer, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

The value of health IT lies in its ability to address three of the major, although competing, forces of change in healthcare.  The need to standardize care, personalize care, and reduce costs requires the synthesis of vast amounts of data as well as dramatic changes to workflow and process.   I can conceive of no way to go about pursuing these changes without technology.  The old adage “you cannot improve what you cannot measure” tells us that improving health care requires us to leverage our data, turning it into knowledge and to then build the new workflows that will change the way we deliver care.

John Backhouse, executive director of the Omni Program, Information Builders

John  Backhouse
John Backhouse

Health IT is the means for providing the best possible data at the point of care.  It addresses the who, what, when and where of a patient’s care, which helps healthcare providers enhance the patient experience and deliver high-quality of care to improve health and well-being, preserve privacy and ensure security. Health IT facilitates innovation and overcomes interoperability challenges that gives providers transparency for the patient pathway to improve quality of care and minimize clinical and financial costs by eliminating duplicate patient records, incomplete medical histories, incorrect medications, clinical errors, billing mistakes, and avoidable readmissions, as well as correcting the overuse, underuse, and misuse of beneficial care. Adopting health IT is the one strategy healthcare organizations can take to enter a golden age of patient care.

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Long Live the EHR!

Guest post by Ellen Derrico, director of global market development, life sciences and healthcare at QlikTech.

Electronic health records (EHRs) are getting a lot of attention these days, but amid the hype there are skeptics out there arguing that the EHR is old news. However, I’d like to argue that the EHR is not dead; in fact, it’s growing up.

Today’s EHRs are so much more than a digital version of a paper chart. They are evolving and getting more sophisticated. One of the most promising and exciting developments of this is the integration of data discovery and analytics to analyze and compare EHR data. Where business intelligence (BI) was once used primarily to analyze data from a business perspective – revenue cycle management, finance, supply chain management – it’s increasingly being used to analyze patient data, physician performance, facility and utilization – all to improve clinical outcomes.

In healthcare, data discovery and analytics offer the possibility of improving patient care by synchronizing the resource planning with patient logistics and allowing physicians and nurses to focus on improving performance. With BI technology medical practitioners can look across data from different people and locations to support decision making not only for their individual patients, but also for larger patient populations. As a result, practitioners can improve patient outcomes and population health.

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