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Study finds use of health IT supports quality of care

Federally qualified health centers that use health IT improve their quality of care, according to a study that  hinges on a facility’s current use of technology, or health IT capacity. Facilities were categorized as either having low, medium or high HIT capacity. The study examined facilities’ levels of health IT adoption and how it affected their delivery of reminders for preventative care, timely appointments for specialty care, and summary discharge receipts to patients. It concluded that use of health IT generally improves the care that patients receive.

Use of EHR technology improves care quality as shown in another study published by the Health Services Research. Facilities using EHRs according to meaningful use guidelines were likely to see a decrease in patient heart attacks, surgical infections and other costly events. The reduction in these events could offset the long-term cost of implementing EHR systems and would support both patients and doctors alike.

Some doctors are in favor of increased use of predictive analysis technology, which is commonly used in health care. The majority of responding hospital CIOs surveyed by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the eHealth Initiative, said predictive analysis is mostly used for financial matters and not for patient data. Only 17% of respondents say their facility uses analytics for real-time decision making and just 3% use predictive analytics technology. Nearly all (93%) of respondents agreed analytics is important to the future of health care.

Technology can be a hindrance to patient care if not managed properly. Doctor-patient interaction and communication should be enhanced, and not replaced, by health IT. Critics of health IT adoption have urged facilities to adopt new technology for the benefit of their patients, not solely for the benefits offered to the care facility itself. Maintaining an open dialogue with patients and considering their input is a recommended step in assuring patient satisfaction.

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