Today, is the world of high tech gadgets and sophisticated appliances. Healthcare industry is not spared from this high tech trend. Healthcare world too, experiences reformation with the use of high end equipment and healthcare information technology has added to the convenience as well as performance.
Healthcare information technology (IT) is fairly on the rise in the last few years and its integration into basic healthcare has brought about many changes. Healthcare and hospital system include many areas ranging from medical, paramedical and administrative sections. In order to ensure effective functioning of all these areas, a comprehensive approach is essential. Healthcare IT has proved to be a boon in making these co-ordinated activities and comprehensive healthcare approach successful.
Healthcare information technology (Health IT)
Health IT is an area, where information system and technology are used in healthcare industry. It involves making arrangements for design, development, record keeping, data handling, patient management and most of the healthcare responsibilities to be automated and managed with the help of computer systems.
Information technology deals with data processing, storage, recovery of information and using it appropriately as and when required. In healthcare sector, information technology can be successfully applied for various responsibilities at different levels, thus making work easier and faster. With increasing use of automated machines and software, healthcare duties too are influenced by electronic tools in healthcare informatics.
Some of the tools applied as a part of Health IT include
Electronic Medical Records(EMR) – Medical and health records have been automated and made user-friendly, making it easy to track data and analyse reports, which simplifies the process of record keeping. Computerised disease registries, Computerised provider order entry (CPOE) and consumer applications add to the list that make medical management convenient.
Other tools that focus on storing and handling medical images of cases include Picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) and Vendor neutral archives (VNAs). These enable storing and managing medical images in the radiology department, making healthcare work efficient and cost effective.
Some health IT tools that make patient care simple include clinical decision support, electronic prescribing and telemedicine or telehealth. Health IT system like medical scribes adds to the ease of medical case and prescription writing.
How healthcare IT offers benefits to healthcare system?
Healthcare IT, has been applied in almost every area of healthcare and hospital management. Ranging from patient information, management of information, record keeping, co-ordination between hospital departments, billing and financial arrangements, etc. All these areas need efficient working in the least possible time with minimal expenditure, which is being achieved by application of healthcare information technology.In simple terms makes functioning of healthcare system easier.
Some of the benefits offered by healthcare IT include
Health IT tools offer accurate medical information about diseases, symptoms, medicines, drugs, dosages, indications, interactions, etc. Physicians can make use of certain health tools to find accurate medical information and base their clinical decisions on the same. Disease diagnosis can be accurately made in a short span of time and appropriate medical management can be planned. Thorough in-depth information provided to the physicians in a systematic manner can aid in better patient care.
Accurate patient information, complete medical data, past histories, illnesses and drug information, etc. can be safely stored and easily retrieved in case of need. This is particularly useful when prescribing medicines for patients and in case of emergency, thus ensuring timely and effective patient care. Confidentiality of patient information can be assured and discussion with patients and their relatives can be encouraged through secure means.
Improve patient record keeping
With electronic health records, paperwork has reduced, making processing of health information more precise and secured. Patients can directly access their medical records and their treating physicians provide better patient care based on those records. Updated patient information and records that can be shared within the medical team can ensure the best medical care for the patients.
Comprehensive medical care
Health IT implementation offers better co-ordinated activities between various healthcare departments, quicker availability of healthcare resources for appropriate patient care, hassle-free in-patient admissions and implementation of health insurance schemes, as required hence increasing patient experience. In case of emergencies, timely medical care in a well-co-ordinated manner can help save lives.
Better medical care
Healthcare IT allows doctor-patient interaction even from distant places through tele-health and with use of other tools. Sharing of medical images, prescriptions, choosing physician based on theirqualifications, taking second opinion etc. has become easy and convenient from patient point of view.
Reduced medical cost and time saving
Quick and accurate diagnosis and minimal errors can avoid unnecessary investigations, hospitalization and treatment. IT not only helps to provide better and safer timely patient care but also helps to reduce unwanted medical expenses and wastage of time. Better record keeping improves patient data handling and ensures effective retrieval
While all areas can definitely function better with continuous improvement, more and more ways are being sought to make healthcare IT more convenient and useful for patient care. Newer methods are thought of and put into action to make tools more use friendly and patient reviews need to be considered for further improvement and patient satisfaction.
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