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Information Technology in Healthcare Field

 

 

 

            Scenario One: 

                      You visit a doctor next door and the ailment is diagnosed. He asks you to get some lab tests done on Urine, blood etc. Then you collect the reports and go to the doctor. The doctor prescribes certain medicines. It is up to you to maintain your own records!


               Imagine a different scenario:

              You go to a Doctor and fills in your details on a database. The lab recommended accesses your record and takes up the required tests. The report is filed in the central database. The Doctor accesses this report online and prescribes certain medicines and the same are recorded in the database. So, if you are consulting another doctor for second opinion or a Specialist, you need not carry any medical record or explain what you are going through. Your records are readily accessible to them, of course with your permission!


              The specialist's diagnosis and treatments would be recorded and reported promptly back to your primary Doctor, if required.

           All the people /organizations filling data in your record are responsible and accountable for what they fill in. You can check your own information and get personalized information based on your needs. 

            All this is possible in this Internet era. All the doctors file reports on all the patients attended by them. They were filing their report through voice and probably were using them for safeguarding themselves on potential court cases and to take care of Insurance company requirements. Later these records were converted into digital formal for archiving. 

             This gave birth to a process called medical transcription and then it became an outsourced process. The tapes were uploaded to a server and the third party converts them into Digital format. And once it is done it is irrespective of the location and can be done in many countries like India etc where local doctors help the Transcription Company and the entire documentation becomes cheaper.


         The technology has its own problems. The data may be all over. But the systems are not built with Artificial Intelligence. The doctor may have some idea of medicines prescribed earlier, but estimating the damage due to wrong or inappropriate medicine is extremely difficult to judge. Some times the medicine offered that time was necessary, but then it would affect at a later date. Probably some medicines given as temporary measure and on emergency may not have been recorded?


      Implementing Electronic Medical records certainly helps in reducing the Physician errors.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996(HIPAA) requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish national standards for electronic healthcare transactions and national identifiers for providers, employers and health plans. HIPPA also addresses the security and privacy of health data. 

     Adopting these standards will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the nation's healthcare system by encouraging the widespread use of electronic data interchange in healthcare. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is responsible for implementing various HIPAA provisions.

      Unfortunately, even eight years after the legislation—found that just over half of healthcare providers' forms and processes are HIPAA-compliant.

     Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), founded in 1961, is the healthcare industry's membership organization exclusively focused on providing leadership for the optimal use of healthcare information technology and management systems for the betterment of human health. HIMSS represents more than 20,000 individual members and some 220 member corporations that employ more than 1 million people. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare public policy and industry practices to promote information and management systems' contributions to ensuring quality patient care.

     An Interesting product is ‘Point-of-care information system’. Many vendors manufacture different equipment to take care of this to provide online medication profiles, medication administration scheduling, and other patient data. All medications are bar coded and are scanned at or near the patient's bedside by using hand-held scanners. This ensures a safety check, records medication administration, and generates the drug charge. Use of the system can result in a lower medication error rate, improved medication records, improved scheduling of medications, better communication between nursing and pharmacy staff and more efficient drug monitoring. 

     Good news is that Health services and Health information technology garnered about 11 percent of venture capital investment last year, or $687 million, according to a new report. That's up 43 percent from 2003. For example, in 2004, Genomic Health, a medical diagnostic genomic information company received a total of $50 million in two rounds, and ChartOne, an electronic medical records firm that got $26 million

    IT is certainly driving the revolution in Healthcare. Many Surgeons are being consulted through Internet or satellite communications. Local doctor shows all the relevant documents to the specialist through the latest equipment and the specialist advises accordingly. Tele-medicine reduces the cost of flying the specialists all over, for smaller issues.