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Customer Experience and Design

Health IT: The Solution to Healthcare CIO Challenges

A recent article addressed some of the top challenges facing CIOs in the healthcare industry. Many of these challenges are created by the need to keep up with constantly changing regulations as well as addressing HIPAA security concerns. Here are a few of the top concerns of healthcare CIOs, and how health information technology can help manage them:

  • Meaningful Use: As part of the HITEC Act, Meaningful Use requires healthcare providers to utilize EHRs in a meaningful way by the 2014 deadline or face reduced reimbursements from Medicare. Meaningful Use Stage 1 adherence can be partially addressed by creating a patient portal in order to quickly provide requested patient data. Stage 2 regulations encourage interoperability between EHRs and other systems. The portal established in Stage 1 can help address the Stage 2 focus of patient engagement in their own care. Business Intelligence systems help providers meet meaningful use requirements through structuring codified data, exchanging data across hospital systems, and creating a patient-centric community care record.
  • Health Information Exchange: State and local government entities, public health organizations and healthcare systems must exchange clinical information in order to comply with regulatory standards and to improve patient care. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) use much of the exchanged data in order to connect care across the delivery system, connecting patients and providers. An Enterprise HIE brings all of the above parties together and empowers them to achieve high quality outcomes along with a more cost effective delivery model.
  • Mobile and Telehealth: In some cases, such as with mobile health and telehealth, the technology is both the pain point and the solution. Mobile and telehealth can encourage patients to become engaged in their own care, but also present data security risks and implementation issues. Mobile technology is able to streamline healthcare, provide immediate access to important medical history and patient information and allows for the increased coordination across the continuum of care. Telehealth allows underserved populations to receive care, reduces office visits and manage chronic diseases. Both telehealth and mobile health present the opportunity improve cost savings and quality results; however, proper security and the need for wireless data transmitting must be considered in order for success.
  • Clinical Data Analytics: Big data and business intelligence don’t only play a role in Meaningful Use. Analytics can provide critical insights into the healthcare provider network. Healthcare business intelligence can provide organizations the ability to use these large amounts of data to improve quality of care, increase financial efficiency and operational effectiveness, conduct innovative research as well as satisfying regulatory requirements. This big data, when analyzed, can bring to light inefficiencies that need to be corrected in order to reduce costs and provide better care.

As the article reflects, this only represents a small portion of the issues facing healthcare CIOs. Advanced technology has the ability to alleviate many of these issues once implemented. Although implementation itself can seem like a daunting task, long term use can provide meaningful results.

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