Obama’s team is relying heavily on HIT – health information technology — to bring some sense to the system. The approach takes aim at big problems, including administrative costs, medical errors and inefficiencies. It also promises to help doctors stay up on the science of what works and what doesn’t.
Your hospital may have the newest, multi-million dollar scanner. But, you might be better off if your doctor is up to date on the best way to handle that pain in your hip.
HIT includes examining room and bedside computers where doctors and other providers can access a patient’s history — and often, a medical library. My doctors at Harvard Vanguard electronically enter records, prescriptions and orders. I go downstairs to the pharmacy or lab and they’re ready for me. I can send them e-mails and they get back to me on the same day.
It’s a whole new world of acronyms, like HIT and COPE — Computerized Provider Order Entry. At the Partners system here in Boston – Mass General, the Brigham and beyond — they call it “high performance medicine.” Partners now has COPE systems in most outpatient areas. Also, all Partner’s-aflliated primary care physicians must adopt EMRs (Electronic Medical Records) by the end of 2008. Specialists have until the end of 2009.
For more on HIT in the state and region, check out the links to the right, especially The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative. And, watch here for my reports on regional HIT projects and interviews with local players.