Health IT Savings May Reach $261 Billion - InformationWeek

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Healthcare // Clinical Information Systems
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5/10/2010
01:22 PM
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Health IT Savings May Reach $261 Billion

Innovative health IT systems that go beyond electronic health records to provide better analytics and drive greater efficiency could save billions over a decade.

Describing the benefits of the health reform law, passed in March, the document cites three areas that provide a foundation upon which the new healthcare infrastructure is being built. The law will:

1. Enact national standards for electronic data submission and collection, as well as for reporting mechanisms, to increase transparency and reduce fraud.

2. Develop a standardized set of rules for electronic funds transfers, healthcare payments, and health plan information to simplify health insurance administration with the use of IT.

3. Develop new state-based health information/data exchange networks with enhanced interoperability and security.

The document calls for an interoperable data network to collect and analyze health data from multiple sources and to use the information to examine patient outcomes. It says, "Data from EHR should also be more directly incorporated into comparative effective research (CER) collection. Ideally, a joint EHR-CER system would be applied on a nationwide level, with all hospitals, providers, and patients able to access their records in a seamless electronic framework, while addressing cyber security and privacy concerns."

To accelerate the adoption of HIT, consideration should be given to the development of individualized patient portals, which would enable patients to access their personal medical records and take greater action with their health and wellness. Additionally, the "pay for value" principle should be applied to the implementation of HIT, the report says.

"HIT can assist in preventive medicine, chronic disease management, care coordination, and medication management efforts in health systems where financial incentives have been realigned," the report said. "However, in many healthcare delivery settings today, HIT services are often not reimbursed by insurance companies."

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