Friday, November 25, 2011

Where Health IT Is Seen As Making A Real Difference. Assisting Providers To Do Better Is What Matters First!

The following report of an interesting study appeared a few days ago.

Booz Allen identifies 9 ways IT is transforming healthcare

By Bernie Monegain, Editor
Created 11/16/2011
MCLEAN, VA – As healthcare moves into a new era of efficiency, effectiveness and improved patient outcomes through health information technology, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton has identified the top nine ways health IT is transforming healthcare. Among the changes with the greatest impact are reduced medical errors and faster emergency care.
"Good healthcare is no longer about just good doctors and good hospitals; it's about connectivity, it's about data, it's about information, it's about speed to treatment and health IT enables each of those," said Robert M. Pearl, MD, the executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group.
"Many people associate health IT simply with the electronic storage of health records," said Kristine Martin Anderson, a senior vice president in Booz Allen Hamilton's healthcare market. "In reality, health IT is much more transformative. It's a strong collection of technologies, analytics and process innovations that are already revolutionizing the way people receive and manage their care in communities across the nation."

The Booz Allen Hamilton report noted that health IT has tremendous potential to make the healthcare system patient-centered. Today, through new mobile technology, doctors can receive real-time information about a patient's condition. Now, a firefighter who has heart attack symptoms on the job can be diagnosed before he reaches the hospital, allowing him to receive treatment within 30 minutes of noticing symptoms – not hours. Remote monitoring technology and video conferencing allow caregivers to monitor a patient's vitals and discuss their current condition without the patient even leaving home.
Top 9 ways health IT is transforming healthcare

The following list was developed from research by Booz Allen, which works with leading federal, nonprofit and commercial healthcare clients to understand how to effectively utilize health IT, such as existing and emerging data from electronic health records, claims, and laboratory data, to implement payment reform, comparative effectiveness, quality measurement and improvement, research and development, and translational research.
  1. Reduces medical errors.
  2. Improves collaboration throughout the healthcare system.
  3. Ensures better patient-care transition.
  4. Enables faster, better emergency care.
  5. Empowers patients and their families to participate in care decisions.
  6. Makes care more convenient for patients.
  7. Helps care for the warfighter.
  8. Enhances ability to respond to public health emergencies and disasters.
  9. Enables discovery in new medical breakthroughs and provides a platform for innovation.
More here (with a description of each of the points listed above):
As you read the list what becomes clear is that the flow of benefits actually comes from improving the information access for health care providers so they can do their work more safely and effectively rather than provision of information to patients. Both are crucial but where you get the most ‘bang for your buck’ in the first instance is provider enablement and provider decision support.
Sadly DoHA and NEHTA are just in denial of this basic fact. Silly them!


EA said...

David, can't disagree with any of it, but a simpler lay-out of needs is
1) Public health (and eHealth will get a rocket when the next pandemic threatens)
2) Research
3) Financing
But, underlaying the lot, Safety & Quality. SandQ can be tackled only by common standards and privacy rules, that encompass public and private.
When eHealth is touted by the industry, or academia, or pharma, or device makers, biases inevitably creep in.
Some may have heard of the awful tragedy at Womens Hospital Melbourne, where the wrong twin fetus was aborted. If any procedure needed checklists (a la Gawande) this one did. At heart of the mistake is the confidence with which one of a pair of fetuses can be identified by ultrasound. Many punters are familiar with the confidence with which the bubs in a twin gestation are labelled Twin A and Twin B at the regular scans, but without any disclosure of the confidence limits.
My point is, if this (or any other) severe error in health care can be examined without input from the eHealth lobby, then the targets will be pushed off into the never-never.

Anonymous said...

While the “flow of benefits actually comes from improving the information access for health care providers so they can do their work more safely and effectively” ……… it needs to be repeatedly emphasized that no matter how good the plumbing, no matter how tight the security, no matter how fast and reliable the infrastructure, none of that will make one iota of difference unless and until

..... the application software that is used for collecting, recording and accessing of highly structured health information is efficient, reliable and easy to use. Only then will you start to see a ‘bang for your buck.’

EA said...

Here's data that's not likely to be put before mug taxpayers in the pages of daily newspapers, 124 slides packed with facts from the European Health Literacy Survey
Slide 53 shows the stark differences across nations. Maybe the best result, Netherlands, correlates with their status of eHealth? Chicken, egg?
Australian universities took part, and BeyondBlue gets a mention.
So, who benefits when consumers do not know what 'depression' or 'constipation' mean?
David, if you can get The Australian to run a comprehensive article on this survey, to relate it to the (unmeasured) situation in Australia and the strong linkage between health literacy and health information, I will go away. Promise, with an oath written in blood. :)