It’s National Health IT Week, and what better time to become familiar with Health Information Technology and the Indiana Health Information Exchange?

National Health IT Week is an awareness week offering all healthcare stakeholders an opportunity to unite under one banner, expressing the benefits that health information technology (IT) brings to U.S. healthcare. “The Value of Health IT.”

Healthcare reform isn’t possible without health IT, which improves the quality of healthcare delivery, increases patient safety, decreases medical errors, and strengthens the interaction between patients and providers.

Initiated in 2006 by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), National Health IT Week has emerged as a landmark occasion for using health IT as part of the overall solution to improve America’s healthcare as a bipartisan, federally led, market-driven initiative.

Why Health IT is Relevant

We live in the age of information, and the digital world makes that information more accessible and manageable. One of the main benefits of digital information is the ability to easily analyze it to see what works and what doesn’t, while gaining a better understanding of the customer, or patient in this instance. Health IT is the technology health care providers use to access and manage patient health information and improve relationships among health care providers, patients, and consumers. It’s what enables the creation of an Electronic Health Record (EHR), which is an individual patient’s digital, accessible health record. According to HealthIT.gov, “Most consumers will first encounter the benefits of health IT through an EHR at their doctor’s office or at a hospital.”

There are many benefits to health IT, including reduced paperwork, accurate recording of information, information coordination, provider coordination, and patient access.

Why IHIE? IHIE staff group photo. IHIE among 2017 "Top Workplaces."

It’s simple. Your healthcare records matter—and nearly everyone’s experienced how frustrating it is when they don’t follow you around. IHIE makes it possible for everyone on your healthcare team (from your primary care physician, to the hospital you had to visit across the state) to get the information they need to give you the best possible care, wherever you receive care.

IHIE’s One Care products, including CareWeb and DOCS4DOCS, allow providers to spend more time on patient care by lessening the time required to pull and input data. Providers have access to a wide breadth of near real-time patient information, including lab results and admission and discharge history. IHIE’s Pop Care products help providers to track where patient care is delivered, access discrete data within EHRs, support quality metric efforts, and manage a patient’s transition of care.

Overall, health information technology brings health care up to speed with the technological advances of the time, providing improved service to both providers and patients. It allows for advanced information management and big data analysis to better understand individual patients, and segments of the patient population. Being able to collect, organize, and implement patient data efficiently through health IT makes a real difference in health and health care.