What is Health Information Technology?
Health Information Technology aka HealthIT / HIT is the area of Healthcare that oversees the technology systems Healthcare providers use to manage patient data. “Health IT refers to the Electronic Systems Healthcare providers, and increasingly, Patients use to store, share and analyze information,” according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology - ONC.
HealthIT / HIT includes technology like Electronic Health Records - EHRs, Electronic Medical Records - #EMR, Decision Support Systems - DSS, and E-Prescriptions, as well as tech tools that help patients meet health goals like quitting smoking or managing Diabetes. This merging of technology with Healthcare has allowed for more accurate EHRs and EMRs that follow a patient to different Healthcare facilities, and it’s given patients more control over their health through apps and increased access to information.
Though HealthIT / HIT encompasses many systems and types of technology, its focus is always on maintaining patient privacy while improving patient care. Advances in secure HealthIT / HIT Networks have allowed Medical Doctors / Physicians, Healthcare and Medical Care Professionals on a patient’s care team to have better communication than ever before.
What is the Importance of HealthIT / HIT?
Health Information Technology - HealthIT / HIT is vitally important in the Digital Age. “In 2019, Healthcare consumers continue to demand greater transparency, accessibility and personalization,” says Patrick Gauthier, Director of Healthcare Solutions at Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. HealthIT / HIT plays a key role for all of the above, and more.
Being able to quickly share patient information between hospitals and clinics, a concept known as “Interoperability”—can be the difference between life and death for some patients. The ONC shares that EHRs, EMRs, and other HealthIT / HIT tools help patient care teams coordinate with one another, leading to higher-quality patient care and more affordable Healthcare costs.
Though the HealthIT / HIT field was struggling to keep up just a few years ago as clinics and hospitals made the transition to new technology under government mandates like meaningful use, Gauthier believes HealthIT / HIT has hit its stride and will only continue to grow in importance as technology transforms the Healthcare field. “The majority of consumers now trust HealthIT / HIT more than ever.”
What do HealthIT / HIT professionals do?
To answer this, we’ll first need to take a step back and account for the variety roles of found under the umbrella of Health Information Technology - HealthIT / HIT. In this field you’ll find roles that focus almost exclusively on patient medical records, e.g., Health Information Technician, Health Information Manager, Health Informatics Specialist, Health Analytics Analysts, Medical Analytics Analysts, Clinical Informatics Technician, Clinical Research Informatics Technician, etc.
Additionally, there are HealthIT / HIT professionals whose focus centers more on traditional Information Technology - IT work, e.g., Network Engineer, Systems Engineer, Cloud Computing Engineer, Software Engineer, etc. Regardless of the job title, these HIT experts all share the common goal of using technology to improve the Healthcare field for patients and providers alike.
For Health Information Technology - HealthIT / HIT Technicians specifically, they are generally tasked with ensuring the accuracy of patient data, such as Medical Doctor / Physician notes and lab results, and the organization and maintenance of databases, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics - BLS.
Because medical documents contain confidential patient information, a large focus of HealthIT / HIT is on maintaining patient privacy and complying with strict Government Regulations. Broadly speaking, HealthIT / HIT professionals make sure their Healthcare facility’s technology systems are securely encrypted and up to regulatory standards to keep sensitive medical documents safe from anyone who shouldn’t have access.
What’s the Future of HIT?
It’s no surprise that as technology develops and expands, the HealthIT / HIT field will grow alongside it. “Government entities are now making it easier on Healthcare companies to share data and that is allowing the next wave of HealthIT / HIT to come into the fold,” says 17-year clinical HealthIT / HIT worker Jason Reed, owner of Best Rx For Savings. “The stage is set for an explosion of HealthIT / HIT to take us into the next phase of Medical Care.”
Reed predicts that HealthIT / HIT workers will soon be working with Cutting-Edge Technology like Virtual Reality - VR, Augmented Reality - AR, and Mixed Reality - MR surgeries, patient monitors that report data to Medical Doctors / Physicians via Smartphone and even Artificial Intelligence - AI, Machine Learning - ML, and Deep Learning - DL. “Artificial Intelligence - AI will also be a growing field with many jobs as we use algorithms to teach machines how to detect trends in mountains of data collected by EHRs and EMRs,” Reed says.
These advances in HealthIT / HIT are part of an exciting future for patients. From Wearable Health Trackers / Wearables to simpler communication with a care team, the HealthIT / HIT field is on the cusp of granting patients more control over their health than they’ve ever had before.