Health Information Technology
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16-10-2010, 07:51 PM

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Health Information Technology

Health Information Technology
Health information technology may be useful for:
• reducing paperwork by eliminating the need for handwritten medical records
• reducing medical errors by transmitting accurate information electronically and eliminating mistakes due to misreading of your doctor’s handwriting
• reducing health care costs by decreasing the need for repeat medical tests by different doctors and eliminating storage space and staff time to maintain medical records
• improving your quality of care by decreasing medical errors and assuring that all your health care providers have accurate and timely information
Although HIT has many uses throughout our healthcare system, three important types of health IT may affect you in the near future as more consumers use personal health records (PHRs) and more physicians use electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic prescribing (e-Rx).
Personal Health Records
Your personal health record (PHR) is an online document with information about your health (and the health of family members) that you keep up to date for easy reference. Using your PHR, you can keep track of your family’s health information, such as the date of your children’s immunizations, last physical exam, major illnesses and operations, allergies, or a list of family medicines.
Many PHRs are easy to use and may be provided free from your health plan, the government, your doctor’s office, and private companies. Some PHR companies charge a monthly or annual fee. Since your PHR is online, you can get into and manage your health information from anywhere that you have access to the internet.
Since you can collect, view, manage, and share your health information electronically, having a PHR will allow you to take a more active role in managing your own health care.
Electronic Health Records
An electronic health record (EHR) is computer-based document that is used by your doctor, your doctor’s staff, or a hospital. An EHR (similar to your old paper medical chart) contains health information from your doctor and other health care providers. A typical EHR has information about your health conditions, allergies, treatments, tests, and medications.
Many EHRs can connect with health care providers outside your doctor’s office such as specialists, labs, imaging facilities (X-rays, CT Scans, MRIs), and the local hospital. This allows your doctor to share up-to-date information with your other providers as well as getting quick and easy access to your tests and hospital information.
Since everyone involved in your health care can share accurate information, your EHR can help lower the chances of medical errors and may help improve the quality of your health care. Some EHRs have warning systems built in to let your doctor know about drug allergies or potential problems with drug interactions.

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