IT Could Benefit Healthcare Substantially

By CIO Update Staff

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PITAC issued draft recommendations Tuesday indicating the use of IT in the delivery of health-care services can result in substantial economic and social benefits, including cost savings, error reduction, and improved quality of care received by patients in the U.S.

"Rising costs, an aging population, and increasing medical complexity continue to present challenges to the health care industry," Marc Benioff, co-chairman of PITAC and founder of Salesforce.com, said in a statement. "Recent advances in technology should enable the adoption of electronic information exchanges that address these challenges and ensure optimal patient care."

"Driving the adoption of information technology for health care delivery has enormous potential to reduce error, increase efficiency, and improve the quality of care for all Americans," PITAC Co-Chairman Ed Lazowska, said in a statement.

In its final report, expected to be issued in June 2004, the Committee will emphasize the importance of Presidential leadership to ensure that multiple Departments of the Federal Government will work together towards the vital and timely adoption of information technology for the benefit of all parties involved in health care.

The draft recommendations presented at the meeting for PITAC deliberations call for a new approach to health care information technology with four essential elements:

  • An electronic health record for each American that maximizes the amount of information available to health care providers while not creating new work flow or cost issues that prevent adoption;
  • Computer-assisted decision support to increase conformance with evidence-based medicine;
  • Electronic order entry, both for outpatient care and within the hospital environment; and
  • An interoperable electronic information interchange that includes both highly specific standards for capture of new data and tools for capturing non-standards-compliant electronic information from legacy systems.
  • See the complete draft recommendations here.

    PITAC was formed in 1997 to advise the President, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Federal agencies involved in IT R&D on all areas of high performance computing, communications, and information technologies. It's members represent a cross section of the IT industry and academia.

    This article was compiled and edited by CIO Update staff. Please direct any questions regarding its content to Allen Bernard, Managing Editor.