As healthcare moves into a new era of efficiency, effectiveness and improved patient outcomes through health information technology, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton has identified the top nine ways health IT is transforming healthcare. Among the changes with the greatest impact are reduced medical errors and faster emergency care.
"Good healthcare is no longer about just good doctors and good hospitals; it's about connectivity, it's about data, it's about information, it's about speed to treatment and health IT enables each of those," said Robert M. Pearl, MD, the executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group.
"Many people associate health IT simply with the electronic storage of health records," said Kristine Martin Anderson, a senior vice president in Booz Allen Hamilton's healthcare market. "In reality, health IT is much more transformative. It's a strong collection of technologies, analytics and process innovations that are already revolutionizing the way people receive and manage their care in communities across the nation."
The Booz Allen Hamilton report noted that health IT has tremendous potential to make the healthcare system patient-centered. Today, through new mobile technology, doctors can receive real-time information about a patient's condition. Now, a firefighter who has heart attack symptoms on the job can be diagnosed before he reaches the hospital, allowing him to receive treatment within 30 minutes of noticing symptoms – not hours. Remote monitoring technology and video conferencing allow caregivers to monitor a patient's vitals and discuss their current condition without the patient even leaving home.
The nine ways health IT is transform healthcare, as selected by Booz Allen, are listed on the next page.