Health information technology, electronic medical records, and modern surgical procedures that enable faster recovery are but three examples of how technology is changing the health care sector. RAND research has explored many facets of health care technology and advised policymakers and practitioners on best practices for cost savings and improved patient outcomes.
Being able to provide high-quality health care is a primary driver of job satisfaction among physicians, and obstacles to quality patient care are a source of stress for them. For example, the systems for electronic health records in use today are cumbersome to operate and contribute to their dissatisfaction.
Health care providers are encouraged to implement “shared decision making” in which patients and doctors together choose the treatment that is best for each patient. However, doctors need more instruction on how to engage patients and better information systems to make sure patients know their options and receive individualized care.
Despite wide investments nationally in electronic medical records and related tools, the cost-saving promise of health information technology has not been reached because the systems deployed are neither interconnected nor easy to use.
Productivity gains that can be achieved by widely adopting health information technology are likely to come from the reengineering of health care and may require new measurement tools to accurately gauge their impact.
Researchers from the RAND Corporation and other institutions have begun pilot-testing a web-based tool designed to help parents and adult caregivers determine whether to seek urgent medical attention for a sick child with flu-like symptoms.
A new online tool, called the "Unintended Consequences Guide," is available from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to help hospitals and other health care organizations anticipate, avoid, and address problems that can occur when adopting and using electronic health records.
Use of electronic health records by hospitals across the United States has had only a limited effect on improving the quality of medical care.
Home health care technology may provide one important solution to global concerns about how to sustain health care systems threatened by rising costs and manpower shortages, but such a change faces multiple obstacles to adoption.
Routine use of electronic health records may improve the quality of care provided in community-based primary care practices more than other common strategies intended to raise the quality of medical care.
State and local health departments get mixed marks for efforts to convey information about the H1N1 virus to the public using their Web sites immediately after U.S. officials declared a public health emergency in April.
A large group of California physicians given financial incentives to improve the quality of medical care have begun to embrace an array of changes important to advancing quality.
Creating a unique patient identification number for every person in the United States would facilitate a reduction in medical errors, simplify the use of electronic medical records, increase overall efficiency and help protect patient privacy.
April 11, 2006 News Release: RAND Study Says Health Information Technology Can Improve Quality and Efficiency; More Evidence Needed About How to Put the Technology Into Wider Use.
RAND news release: Methods Commonly Used to Create `Report Cards' May Overestimate the Quality of Health Care
RAND news release: RAND to Lead Research Team Probing Adequacy of Standards for Electronic Drug Prescriptions
RAND Study Says Computerizing Medical Records Could Save $81 Billion Annually and Improve the Quality of Medical Care
RAND Health announced today it is conducting a study to determine how much patient care could improve and how much money could be saved if health care professionals around the United States increase their use of information technology.