Electronic health records have helped streamline record keeping but providers aren't always able to reliably pull together records for the same patient from different hospitals, clinics, and doctor's offices. The growing use of smartphones offers a promising opportunity to improve record matching.
Leveraging technological advances to make better use of the best available data could help rein in healthcare costs and improve both quality and safety. This makes sense whether the healthcare being delivered is physical or behavioral.
Implementation of electronic prescribing has been a big success in health information technology. But most e-prescribing systems don't allow electronic cancellation of orders. Adding this feature could help reduce medication errors.
New technologies for capturing and sharing data have begun to transform the way providers practice medicine in the United States. Expanding these technologies to behavioral health care could enhance the delivery of services and improve outcomes for millions of Americans.
Telehealth can bring care into communities that have limited access to providers or facilities. But it must be integrated into a well-functioning system that can address the added needs that telehealth generates.
The general public has a more nuanced preference for the privacy of electronic health records than previously thought. Survey respondents said that they would not be averse to individuals involved in the health and rescue professions having access to their basic health information.
Cyber criminals may be preying on hospitals because cyber protection measures likely have not kept pace with electronic data collection and because hospitals typically do not have backup systems and databases in place, even though such attacks can strain health care systems and potentially put patients' lives at risk.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Perspectives on Safety
Health system leaders should view regular and detailed assessment of physician professional satisfaction as an invaluable early warning system for potential threats to quality and safety. But simply surveying doctors on their overall levels of job satisfaction isn't enough.
Electronic health records in U.S. hospitals are not yet prompting for screening questions related to Zika virus. Why? The existing system is too slow to respond and when it does, it finds itself chasing the past.
The policy debate about unique patient identifier numbers should determine the best approach for reconciling two goals: optimizing the privacy and security of health information and making record matching as close to perfect as is practical.
As Congress continues to think about whether and how to support the development of Health Information Exchanges, it should consider the commitment required to bring a mature statewide or national network of HIEs into practice. It should prioritize the evaluation of government-funded HIEs, so that research can help inform and foster return on investment for scarce taxpayer dollars.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will significantly increase coverage for the publicly funded treatment of substance use disorders. But in order to maximize the benefit to patients, families, and society, it's critical to invest in the development, validation, and use of performance measures.
Devising methods to stimulate patients' use of computers, smart phones, and other technology to become more engaged in their health care could usher in an era in which better health is just a click or tap away.
If practicing physicians are correct, the current state of EHR technology has introduced several impediments to providing patient care, undermining physician professional satisfaction. Many of these problems also should be of great concern to patients.
Large coverage expansions under the ACA have reignited concerns about physician shortages. These estimates result from models that forecast future supply and demand for physicians based on past trends and current practice. While useful exercises, they do not necessarily imply that intervening to boost physician supply would be worth the investment.
Inadequate care coordination is a major problem in health care delivery, but information technology is emerging as an important tool for enhancing coordination and, ultimately, improving the delivery of care, writes Robert Rudin.
Globally, the health IT industry should not wait to be forced by government regulators into doing a better job. Developers can boost the pace of adoption by creating more standardized systems that are easier to use, truly interoperable, and afford patients greater access to and control over their personal health data.
Computerized clinical decision support (CDS) systems have been developed to enhance physician decisionmaking and reduce the incidence of avoidable medical errors. Drug-drug interaction warnings are a mainstay of CDS systems, but they give rise to a fundamental problem that limits the utility of the systems to date.
Although health care organizations have favorable characteristics that can maximize IT's benefits, the reengineering of health care delivery is only beginning, write Spencer Jones, Paul Heaton, Robert Rudin, and Eric Schneider.
Across the country, electronic medical records, designed first and foremost to make health care delivery safer and more efficient, are proving valuable when disaster strikes, write Mahshid Abir and Art Kellermann.
Providing physicians with cost data in real time automatically as a part of the electronic medical record could make them better purchasers for their patients and provide better value, writes Robert H. Brook.
As it considers ways to improve the efficiency and quality of U.S. health care, one issue that a new Congress should reconsider is the longstanding roadblock that has stalled efforts to create a system of unique patient identification numbers for every person in the United States, writes Richard Hillestad.