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As this is the National Health IT week, it is only proper that we talk about the significance of this concept to the medical industry. A lot has been said about health care quality and health care insurance policies. Just in case you are wondering what’s this concept is about, let me put it into perspective. Healthcare IT is what has made your visits to the doctor a lot quicker and effective. It makes it easier for healthcare providers to improve patient care by storing, sharing and analyzing healthcare information.
Look at it this way. Now you can actually show up for a doctor’s appointment without carrying the X-ray chart in your hand. This is made possible by the Electronic health records (EHRs) whereby your doctor can check the history of diseases and medications that you’ve ever taken. Other than improving patients’ care, EHR has improved the efficiency of the doctors. Now doctor’s have their work cut out for them, hence it boosts their productivity.
Personal Health Records
There is no doubt that the PHRs (Personal health records) have improved healthcare awareness in many countries. The days of taking a back seat in matters concerning your health are long gone because you can actively take part in every step. If you are planning on losing weight, you can simply add this information to your records that will allow your doctor access. By doing this, the doctor will track your exercises, food intake and blood pressure to make sure that you stay healthy.
Drug Abuse Control
Over the course of the years, healthcare IT has reduced the number of drug overdoses and abuse cases. The diminishing number of such cases can be attributed to the E-prescribing and e-Health tools. E-prescribing saves you the agony of looking for misplaced paper prescriptions. It allows your doctor to communicate directly with your pharmacist to pick up the medicine. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about misread prescriptions because the records are very accurate. This has helped reduce the number of drug abuse cases since you can’t just show up and ask for a drug that is given strictly under a doctor’s prescription.
Despite all the milestones achieved through Healthcare IT, there is still more work to be done. It has not yet reached its full potential. The key to unlocking its full potential is by increasing its usability. Many doctors complain that they spend more time looking at the EHRs on the computer than they do their patient. According to them, the concept should be more user-friendly for both doctors and patients. If not, the number of early retirements by doctors will continue to increase because of burnouts, cost overruns and time required to use health IT.
On the surface, healthcare IT has had a positive impact on health care providers and patients. However, there is still room for improvement in terms of policies and standards.