Health Information Technology (HIT) provides the frame work to describe the comprehensive management of health information across computerized systems and its secure exchange between consumers, providers, government and quality entities, and insurers. There are various types of health information technology including electronic medical records (EMR), electronic health records (EHR) and new medical equipment. HIT is used to improve the quality of health care, prevent medical errors, reduce health care costs and paper work, increase administrative efficiencies and expand access to affordable care. Interoperable HIT will not only help in improving the individual patient care but it also helps in the early detection of infectious disease outbreaks around the country and improved tracking of chronic disease management etc.
Barriers for the adaption of health information technology:
The costs of HIT are high and in addition to initial costs there are costs to update and maintain the software and hardware. American Medical Association has stated that the cost of EMR system typically runs $30,000 per physician.
Privacy is one of the major barriers for the implementation of HIT. Patients and physicians have complained against inappropriate access and use of medical records. Though there are rules for protecting the privacy of the patient’s information, house safeguards may not be enough to prevent data breaches.
Physicians, nurses and other medical staff have less time to learn about the new technology as they spend majority of their time focused on direct patient care. So it is difficult to implement HIT as the medical staff may be unable or unwilling to take the time to train and learn the new technology.
HIT has its own advantages and also disadvantages. Hence, it should be implemented according to the needs in the organization.