Will interoperability improve outcomes in patient health?
On 5 May the HHS, Department of Health and Human Services, made the announcement that they would deliver $101 million to new community health centres totalling 164 across the United States in an effort to boost outcomes in patient healthcare. Sylvia M Burwell, HHS Secretary, said in a press release that clinics in two US territories and 33 states will be benefited by the Affordable Care Act funding.
Increase in access to health insurance
Access to health insurance had seen unprecedented increases due to the Affordable Care Act, according to Secretary Burwell. As a result of this progress, people can be connected to needed care. She further said that communities are served by these keystone health centres. Increasing numbers of individuals and families will have affordable access to quality care provided by those centres. This due to the awards of 5 May which will also focus on primary care and preventative care.
HHS determined to make patient care improvements
It is clear that the HHS is determined to make improvements in patient care throughout the US and to make reforms to its current system of healthcare. Reforms were pushed forward by the HHS through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS). This is in an ongoing effort to improve outcomes in patient health and also to reduce the amount of medical errors.
EHR incentive program leads to improved healthcare
The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is expected to be the vehicle through which providers will be able to implement health IT systems and EHRs whilst attesting to the requirements of meaningful use. This will lead to improved patient care. Even so, the EHR interoperability along with the exchange of health information is proving to be central to the necessity of boosting patient health outcomes. This according to a great number of healthcare providers and the ONC.
Adverse outcomes can be avoided
Since patients see 18 doctors on an average throughout the course of their lifetime, it was stressed by the Journal that it was vital to ensure that all doctors have access to health information of patients which would include outcomes with each and every physician along the way. Adverse events would then be reduced which would include the administration of medications patients have allergies to since doctors would have all the data available before prescribing medications in regards to that patient’s allergies.
Security and privacy of prime importance
Of prime concern to IT professionals and healthcare providers will be the security and privacy of patients. In this regards, the HIE Network of New Mexico will leave the final decision as to who can access this information with the patient. To date, medical data from 52% of hospital stays and 1.2 million patients has been collected by the collaborative in New Mexico. As a result of this data, doctors will have access to records that will enable them to make better diagnoses and to choose treatments that are most effective.
As well, costs in healthcare should decline as a result of implementing exchanges in health information along with improved interoperability. This will result in a decrease in duplicating treatments and/or tests. The ONC, HHS and CMS are continuing to make efforts towards improving patient outcomes, the quality of care and in reducing the amount of spending with the benefit of interoperability and a fast exchange of health information
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