Health Information Technology (HealthIT)
Meredith Solomon, MLS, is the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region's Education and Outreach Coordinator.She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Information Technology (HealthIT) allows for the comprehensive management of "medical information and its secure exchange between health care consumers and providers". The HealthIT theme is concerned with those forces that are dramatically changing the health care setting and its information systems to incorporate mandated implementations for an Electronic Health Record (EHR) and or a Patient Health Record. HealthIT implementation protocols are mandated for practices receiving Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. As such these changes are widespread and affect hospitals, large and small practices, and those state system offices charged with establishing its infrastructure.
The expert collaborators in HealthIT issues are those Regional Extension Centers charged with offering technical assistance and support in health care providers' efforts to implement EHRs (currently awarded are entities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont). Collaborators are also those community colleges participating in the Region E Community College Consortium funded to develop and implement training necessary to enhance skills and competencies related to expanding the health information technology infrastructure (eleven community colleges in New England). Expert collaborators are also those hospitals and health care systems that are implementing EHR changes to comply with the HealthIT mandate.
The Electronic Health Record (EHR) may include features that assist providers in clinical decision making as well as information resources for the patient. The Patient Health Record (PHR) may become the standard by which information about the patient's interactions with health systems is conveyed. EHRs and PHRs will become vehicles for information resources made available to the patient. Opportunities will be explored with Network members and those vendors that have designed patient education components into their EHR or PHR. Pilot projects have been conducted at the National Library of Medicine that can be replicated in other places and other vendor platforms. NER will advocate consumers to use personal health records as a national survey from the California HealthCare Foundation finds they motivate consumers to improve their health. The findings show that: PHR users pay more attention; low-income, chronically ill benefit from PHRs; doctors are more trusted; and privacy remains a concern. Education surrounding the use of PHRs will be an integral part of consumer health outreach.
You can learn more about the HealthIT COI by perusing the archives of our blog: