Healthcare information technology got a shot in the arm in 2004 when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. One of the office’s primary goals is to establish a national database of electronic medical records. This would give healthcare providers quick access to a patient’s medical history and ultimately help them deliver more personalized medical care. Meanwhile, hospitals, clinics and physicians in private practice continue to equip their facilities with sophisticated healthcare IT solutions that let them access medical records, diagnostic images and other material with unprecedented ease.
Healthcare information technology buying tips:
- When considering healthcare information technology upgrades, take into account the human element. For instance, how long will it take for your staff to become proficient in using the new technology? How can you minimize the potential for disruption to your medical practice during the transition to the new technology?
- Be clear about your goals for new medical information technology systems. If providing better patient care is a priority, determine what is keeping you from doing so right now. You might conclude that your goal for a medical information technology upgrade is to reduce paperwork so that your clinical staff can spend more time with patients.
- Provide healthcare information technology vendors with a request for proposal in which all of the capabilities you need are clearly listed. This will make it easier to compare not just price tags, but features too.
Healthcare technology for imaging and image storage
As imaging technology advances, the medical information technology used to manage those clinical images is keeping pace.
OptiMed Technologies’ OptiCor System is a cardiac imaging and image storage system that lets you acquire, review, exchange and archive cardiac images at full diagnostic image resolution. HealthCenter Information Systems provides healthcare information technology that includes data storage and clinical image delivery capabilities, such as scalable image archive systems for large healthcare practices, disaster recovery services and web servers to distribute images and results.
Information technology for healthcare streamlines medical office functions
Healthcare IT solutions extend to the office where it takes most of the paperwork out of functions like billing and medical records management.
Incorporate Practice Partner’s Total Practice Partner software into your medical information technology system for sophisticated electronic medical records management as well as appointment scheduling and billing applications.
Waiting Room Solutions' practice management system includes web-based electronic medical records as well as billing, scheduling, electronic prescription processing and other capabilities. For more medical software
providers, visit Business.com.
Healthcare information technology in your hand
Healthcare technology providers are taking notice that more physicians are relying on their BlackBerry or other handheld device to stay in touch with the office and respond to patient needs.
BlackBerry Business Solutions includes software and services that allow healthcare professionals to access medical records, write electronic prescriptions and take care of other responsibilities via their BlackBerry. Palm Pilot users can leverage healthcare technology in the form of Caremark’s iScribe electronic prescribing tools, which include formulary searching and a drug interaction checker.
Keep up with healthcare IT solutions and policies
Government initiatives and technological advances can impact the way you use medical information technology.
Visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s health information technology website for a wealth of resources, including listings of conferences and seminars on technology for healthcare information. Care to talk to fellow physicians who have already implemented new healthcare information technology? Members of the American Academy of Family Physicians can contact doctors with similar practices to discuss implementing healthcare IT solutions.
- When shopping for new hardware or software for your medical information technology system, you're likely to get a lower price if you don't reveal your budget to vendors.
- If you've been slow to keep pace with healthcare information technology because you suspect that it won't cut costs in the long run, get out your calculator. Figure out the amount you spend per year on paper-based forms for medical records and other documents, as well as the time it takes for you and your staff to fill-out, pull and file the documents.
- Most experts concede that while information technology for healthcare will ultimately reap significant savings for most medical care providers, the upfront costs are steep. One way to manage those costs is to gradually implement your technology upgrades.