Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Health IT will be central to the practice of medicine
If you're a healthcare professional, what type of role does health information technology (Health IT, HIT, or HITECH) play in your practice? Do you use an electronic health record (EHR)? Do you have computers in your office/hospital (if you can't imagine not having computers everywhere, try visiting some remote health clinics in Montana and Wyoming). You may have a very old computer and if you're not connected to the Internet, then it really may be a worthless paperweight. I don't know how you'd be reading this if that were the case.
Anyways, with all this talk about healthcare reform, we now see people like Dr. David Blumenthal really pushing for health IT. At the HIT Symposium at MIT, Dr. Blumenthal gave an opening keynote where he shared how health IT will transform healthcare in the U.S. Given that somewhere between $31 billion and $46 billion will be channeled towards health IT, this is a huge amount that will result in more than simple incremental changes. Physicians will be expected to use health IT resources heavily. They must demonstrate meaningful use, otherwise they will not see the incentives that are outlined within the HITECH (health IT) provisions outlined within ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).
So, should health IT play a more integral role during medical training?