What Is Health Information Technology?
More and more healthcare businesses are choosing to incorporate technological solutions into their everyday operations. Health information technology can make hospitals and clinics more efficient and allows them to serve their patients better. What’s more, IT systems almost always save money because they speed up the distribution of information and allow healthcare facilities to offer a superior service.
A good health IT system includes various components such as electronic prescribing, electronic health records, personal health records, and privacy and security solutions. These elements facilitate communication between healthcare providers and their patients and allow everybody to work together. As a result, there is less room for error. Read on to find out more about the innovative health IT solutions offered by firms like RiverAxe.
What Is Health Information Technology?
This term describes the tools and systems that are used by healthcare professionals to interact with patients, store sensitive data, and analyze health information. Health IT is designed to improve the efficiency and functionality of the healthcare system, so patients are treated faster and more accurately. It includes solutions that allow doctors to prescribe medicine electronically and keep a record of patients’ data.
Together, the various IT elements help healthcare professionals to provide a better service to everyone. Health data can be shared and stored securely. Additionally, care can be coordinated much more easily because every provider will have access to vital information about the patient. In many cases, health IT can help medical institutions save both time and money.
Paper prescriptions are sometimes unreliable because they can get lost. In contrast, an electronic prescription takes some of the pressure off the patient because they can visit their pharmacy without having to worry about bringing documentation. Instead, the instructions will be available online, and the doctor can communicate directly with the pharmacist if necessary.
Another benefit of electronic prescriptions is that they increase accountability. Paper prescriptions can get misread, and there is room for error. Because this type of documentation can be lost or thrown away, it’s not always easy to identify and trace mistakes. In contrast, the electronic prescription is readily available for everyone to review, so there is much more transparency.
Electronic Health Records
You can imagine an electronic health record like a digital version of the patient’s chart. It is available to all healthcare staff, even if the patient attends multiple hospitals and clinics, and contains the medical history, medications, diagnoses, treatment plans, allergies, test results, and immunization dates. Whenever someone interacts with the patient, they can use this record to make sure they are providing the best care possible.
Aside from the fact that the EHR is easily available to everyone, it also has the benefit of being updated in real-time. Therefore, everyone immediately has access to new developments and can adjust their treatment accordingly. This allows for more individualized and more accurate care and can prevent misunderstandings. What’s more, it is a more efficient way of working for everyone, so healthcare professionals can save time and treat more patients.
Personal Health Records
The personal health record can be linked to the electronic health record, but it is a separate tool that has a slightly different purpose. While the EHR is mainly designed for healthcare professionals, the PHR is more directly controlled by the patient. This web-based tool allows people to track elements related to their health, including their dietary habits and exercise levels.
The information is designed to be shared with healthcare professionals, but it can also serve as an accountability tool for the patients themselves. They can decide what information to include, and they can share relevant aspects of their life outside the doctor’s office with their physician. This makes treatment easier and more accurate and gives the patient control over their own medical situation.
Privacy and Security Solutions
Understandably, many people are concerned about privacy when it comes to online data storage, but in many cases, safely storing information is easier online than offline. If you only keep records on paper, they can easily be stolen, misplaced, or destroyed. In contrast, online documents are stored centrally, so even if a computer gets damaged, they are still accessible on other devices.
To safeguard patients’ sensitive information, it is encrypted, which means that it is converted into a code that isn’t intelligible to outsiders. This means that only authorized healthcare professionals are able to access the data. The best online solutions also allow people to record and track who has retrieved and read the information.
Why Should Clinics Around the Country Implement Health IT?
Now you’ve learned what types of health IT solutions there are, you might wonder why it’s crucial for clinics around the country to adopt these systems. There are many ways technology can make providing good healthcare easier. Not only can professionals deliver a quicker and more accurate service, but they are also prompted to follow up with patients who have ongoing conditions.
Because everyone has access to health records, patients with complex issues can be treated much more easily. Finally, the storage of information is safer because you’re not relying on pieces of paper that can get damaged, stolen, or destroyed.
A More Efficient Service
In the past, you had to fill in forms about your personal details and medical history every time you visited a new clinic. This wasted a lot of time and created extra work for the employees, who had to record and evaluate the data. With health information technology solutions, this is no longer the case. Information can be shared between clinics and hospitals, so the healthcare professionals know all the relevant information before the patient arrives.
As soon as one doctor, nurse, or therapist adds new notes to a patient’s file, everyone else who works with the person has access to the information. In some cases, patients themselves can also view their electronic records, so they can see their test results by logging in, and they no longer have to wait for their doctor to contact them.
Faster and More Accurate Healthcare
This easy sharing of information can significantly speed up the treatment process and allow patients to get the most accurate, targeted care possible. For example, prescriptions can be sent directly to the pharmacy, so the medicine can be ready by the time the patient arrives. That way, people no longer have to call ahead to see whether the drug is in stock, and they don’t have to wait while the pharmacist tries to find the correct product.
Electronic healthcare services usually include a messaging system that can prompt both the patient and their healthcare reminder to follow up. For example, it can tell people to book new appointments, and doctors are reminded to check whether a new medication is working or ask for information about side effects. This is especially useful for people with ongoing health conditions that need regular treatment.
Another great feature of many online systems is that they provide articles, brochures, or links about various healthcare-related topics. This can help patients get important information about their conditions. Without an online healthcare system, getting accurate information can be a challenge because there are so many untrustworthy resources online.
Safe Storage of Information
As mentioned, information that is stored on paper isn’t safe because it could get stolen or lost in a disaster. For instance, a fire at the doctor’s office could destroy all patients’ records, causing chaos and delays.
In contrast, a health information technology system makes it extremely easy to store information in a safe way. Even if a disaster occurs, reassembling patients’ documents shouldn’t be a hassle. Because the federal government has certain safety standards, it’s unlikely that there will be a breach of security or a cyber attack.
How to Implement Health IT Solutions
Healthcare providers who don’t yet have access to health IT solutions might struggle to get started. The best way to find out more about the various options is to contact a professional provider like RiverAxe. After you get in touch, we will call you and discuss your individual situation, then come up with some solutions that can help you transform your business.
We will look at the online systems you’re already using and let you know how you can improve them and integrate a fully functional health IT system. Over the next few months, we will work with you to set up the new solutions and train your staff to use them consistently. Once everything has been set up, we can continually monitor the situation and help you keep your system updated.
Get Started Today
By using health information technology solutions, healthcare businesses can make their operations more efficient, improve communication among providers and patients, and store sensitive information more securely. There are various components that should be installed, including electronic prescribing, electronic health records, personal health records, and privacy and security solutions.
If you’re ready to upgrade your business, you should speak to IT specialists, who can help you come up with a viable plan. Contact us at RiverAxe to find out more about the IT Healthcare consulting services we provide. We can help you set up a comprehensive IT system that complies with all state and federal regulations.