by October 13th, 2014on
There has been a lot of debate around the challenges within the healthcare industry. Much of the discussion stems from the fee-for-service model and the focus on services and reimbursement rather than the patient. Health information technology has its own set of challenges when it comes to addressing healthcare issues.
If we truly want to put the patient at the center of their own healthcare experience than we need to take a step back and look at the relationship of the patient and the entire healthcare ecosystem. Healthcare should focus less on the products and services and more on the patient and provider relationship. Furthermore, health IT should support these relationships, however, by its own definition it doesn’t.
By definition, Health information technology (IT) encompasses a wide range of products and services—including software, hardware and infrastructure—designed to collect, store and exchange patient data throughout the clinical practice of medicine.
The definition does not mention the patient and provider relationship and the emphasis is on products and services, software and hardware and does not reflect on the benefits of patient data exchange.
A better health IT definition: An automated approach that facilitates the relationship between the patient and the healthcare system through the accurate and secure electronic exchange of data, ensuring the right data is available at the right time for everyone that is engaged in the patient’s care.
This definition includes 3 critical components:
- The importance of the patient relationship with the healthcare system
- The importance of accurate and secure electronic data exchange
- The benefits of data exchange in regards to patient care
A new definition will not solve the challenges of the healthcare industry, but it is a good place to start. It may be enough of a push to ensure technology developers are developing meaningful applications that improve patient outcomes, which should be the ultimate goal of health IT.