March 2019
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Dearth of in-house health IT expertise helps spin the market

there is a need for "physician extenders" that will help providers deliver more comprehensive care based on more frequent collection of patient information

There is a need for “physician extenders” that will help providers deliver more comprehensive care based on more frequent collection of patient information

ICTpost Health IT Bureau

No country has succeeded in fully deploying an electronic health record on a national basis. However, Australia and Canada have achieved substantial progress. Experiences from these healthcare systems, their EHR initiatives and their responses to obstacles and challenges offer constructive guidelines for U.S. decision makers.

Many complex factors, including national health care financing and delivery,internal political systems, and large and vastly different geographies influence achieving and sustaining agreement on the structure and ongoing funding of EHR initiatives. Communications infrastructure, privacy laws, data exchange standards and terminology, an overarching EHR model and an implementation plan are critical success factors that must be in place.

Government of India  is working on a project to digitise medical data of all citizens right from birth to death. About a year back, a committee was constituted to look into various issues like standards for interoperability, disease codes, ethics and privacy and implementation of the plan. The idea is to eventually make it a universal repository of health data of all citizens.

Health IT holds great promise for improving health care quality and safety and reducing the costs of providing care in long-term care facilities. Numerous empirical studies conducted in other health settings support the view that health IT can help health care providers to reduce errors, improve safety and quality, and decrease costs.While acute care settings and physician practices are adopting electronic health record systems at a brisk pace, LTC settings, specifically licensed nursing facilities, have been slower to embrace such technologies. Barriers to the implementation of EHRs in licensed nursing facilities include: Cost; Training; Complex implementation processes; and the lack of evidence that such systems can deliver the  promises.

By looking at information from thousands of patients (much easier to do with computers than by collating paper reports), health researchers can identify which treatments work best, and EHR systems in corporate that information to help your doctor treat you.

Noting that electronic health records, often considered the go-to tool for collecting and storing patient information, are designed primarily for the documentation of patient visits to the doctor’s office, there is a need for “physician extenders” that will help providers deliver more comprehensive care based on more frequent collection of patient information.

Under pressure to meet requirements for electronic health records, hospitals, physicians and other caregivers have the greatest need for IT specialists in the health sector. Three-quarters of providers, such as hospitals and physician groups, are hiring new employees to support their IT priorities. Providers believe clinical informaticists — specialists who transform data into information used to improve care delivery — will have the most important skills for achieving their IT priorities. editor@ictpost.com