Health IT: driving care delivery

Technology is the 'common fiber' supporting patient engagement, team-cased care, healthcare models and care coordination'
By Jessica Davis
11:13 AM

Innovations in healthcare will be challenging without a continuous assessment of growing healthcare IT needs and how they affect delivery methods, a recent American Hospital Association white paper reports.

Furthermore, interoperability is crucial to the effectiveness of IT systems, such as analytics and EHRs.

[See also: ONC reveals final interoperability roadmap]

"Interoperable health information systems are key to configuring service delivery in new and emerging care coordination models," the report states.

EHRs are crucial to advancing communication and information exchanges through interoperability. The Stage 2 goal of meaningful use was designed to support interconnected systems, and although EHRs aren't fully there, there are programs designed to support development of the health information infrastructure.

EHR incentive programs and meaningful use facilitate widespread adoption and interoperability, according to the report. The incentives will ensure all providers will eventually adopt these programs.

[See also: EXTREME essentials for interoperability]

The report stresses that EHRs are only effective through broad adoption and practitioners must utilize the data to reduce errors. In doing so, providers can reengineer care coordination patterns to support the successful use of the EHR.

"Technology has – and will continue to have – a huge impact on the transition of care delivery and the associated workforce roles and responsibilities," the report states.

It's "the common fiber that supports patient and family engagement; team-based care; new and emerging health care models; and care coordination and transition management as the field transforms from volume-based care to value-based care."

The white paper explores these four concepts and explains the role of EHRs and other health IT to drive quality care and population health improvement across care continuum.

The majority of healthcare organizations are integrating the patient-care model throughout their campuses and increasing technology to broaden data access and extend care outside traditional office visits, the report explains, as they reevaluate "what belongs under the umbrella of primary care."

In fact, the report shows the growth of the health IT market drives care quality, by enabling coordination and patient engagement.

While healthcare organizations are making strides in implementations to maximize the reach of health IT for population health and patient engagement, there's still a long road ahead to "gather and use information to support new care models."

To achieve Triple Aim status, the AHA reports, providers need to discuss not only the role of their workforce, but the people who should be providing care and the actions necessary to turn patient-centered ideology into actionable care.

"Once accomplished, hospitals can identify and prioritize the areas where improved interoperability is most needed and can review and modify the workflow of the care team," the AHA reports.

[See also: EHR adoption still a top concern for physician practices]