Technology in Health Care Not Living Up to Promise

by Cathy Miller on January 15, 2013

in Health and Wellness

bigstock-You-Fail--keyboard-35905192At the time, the promise made sense.

Bring health care recordkeeping into the twenty-first century and reap the rewards.

In 2005, an analysis promoting widespread use of information technology (IT) painted a rosy picture.

  • Improved delivery and efficiency of health care
  • A projection by RAND researchers of $81 billion in annual savings

Things have not worked out as planned.

Seven years later, a new RAND report published in Health Affairs shares what is, at best, mixed results. Just look at how health care spending has grown by $800 billion a year.

But, it’s not the researchers’ fault.

IT Missteps

So, what went wrong?

According to the RAND report, there are three main factors influencing the less than stellar results.

  1. Non-user-friendly systems that do not exchange information
  2. Sluggish adoption of IT systems by both providers and patients
  3. The lack of buy-in from providers/facilities resulting in inefficiencies

Sounds familiar, right? Who hasn’t experienced the pain of implementing new IT systems?

Without widespread use and systems that talk to each other, the nirvana of instant access and sharing of critical health information is nothing more than a dream.

How to Fix It

The researchers offered the following recommendations for reaching good health in IT health systems.

  • IT systems that share data for easy retrieval of information
  • Patient access to health data and easy sharing with providers of choice
  • Easy-to-use systems that enable use across different health care settings

Do you remember the story about John Walsh, the host of America’s Most Wanted?

After the tragic murder of his son, Adam, John Walsh lobbied for legislative change that would better protect children. He played a role in the passing of the Missing Children’s Assistance Act.

Before the legislation, police had access to the FBI’s national crime database, but only for crimes such as car thefts or other stolen property.

Missing children data was only found in local police databases. The new law opened the FBI database to receive and provide access to missing children information on a national basis.

If you have been around as long as I have, you’ve seen tremendous strides in getting the word out about missing children.

Now, imagine being in another country and physicians having access to your medical records in an emergency.

Nirvana? Or a promise yet to be realized?

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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not an attorney or health care provider and cannot provide legal or health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute legal or health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review legislation with legal counsel and visit your physician for health care issues.

 

 

 

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