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How Information Technology is Changing Healthcare

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  • 0:04 Information Technology…
  • 0:35 What is Information…
  • 1:20 The Effect on Healthcare
  • 3:30 A New Approach: Informatics
  • 5:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Reyes

Jennifer has taught Nursing in ADN, BSN, and MSN programs and has a Master's degree in Nursing Education.

This lesson will examine how information technology throughout healthcare is used to support patients, hospital staff, and other providers involved in care delivery and the decision-making processes in healthcare organizations.

Information Technology & Healthcare

Information technology has been booming over the last few decades. Everywhere you turn, information is being transmitted from across the world to your fingertips. Based on this fast-paced transmission of information, society has become more dependent on that information and having it at any time. With that came the spread of information technology into healthcare. It only makes sense that the readily accessible information is incorporated into healthcare to try and help benefit patients and their families.

What Is Information Technology?

Information technology refers to the use of information systems such as computers and databases to make information more accessible. There are many types of technology utilized in healthcare that can help manage, store, and retrieve data, such as computer software and hardware programs, databases, electronic records, and point of care technology.

As an example, for the doctors and nurses at St. Nick's Hospital, the introduction of information technology in the workplace was not well received. It seemed like more work, an increased amount of lugging computers around, and less face-to-face time with the patient. It was almost a full year before they realized and understood the value that information technology added to healthcare.

Information technology is changing healthcare.
Information technology is changing healthcare.

The Effect on Healthcare

Some benefits that information technology has provided for healthcare include:

  • Improved patient outcomes due to more efficient care
  • Better access to treatments for all patients
  • Improved healthcare and disease management
  • The creation of a new field of nursing

The most notable change that healthcare information technology has brought about is the introduction of electronic medical records (EMRs). Electronic medical records provide a patient's medical history, as well as a current complaint, laboratory, and radiographical data electronically instead of via paper charts. Many healthcare providers can access the information via a computer or tablet and can base treatment plans off the information found in the record. In addition, the health records can be maintained and accessed from other places, making the information even more accessible. The ease of having patient information at the nurse's and physician's fingertips has really helped to improve the types of treatments a patient receives as well as help to make sure that the treatments are received in a timely manner.

The information that's provided to patients, as well as the information that the patient can retrieve on his or her own, has allowed healthcare providers to provide more detailed and thorough treatments and education to help improve patient outcomes. Improved patient outcomes benefit not only the patient, but also the healthcare institutions and industry. Improved patient outcomes can lead to a decreased length of stay, a reduction in readmission to the hospital for the same diagnosis, and increased patient satisfaction ratings. Improved or increased patient satisfaction ratings can lead to larger reimbursement amounts for hospitals and providers.

Information technology has also improved how health organizations monitor and manage diseases and outcomes. Organizations such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have changed how they monitor the progression and occurrence of various disease processes. They also utilize technology to help provide urgent changes in health information to the public.

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