Health Information Technology
Information technology concerned with health and health care is termed as health information technology. Health information management via computerized systems and secure exchange of health data are the main pillars of health information technology.
The extent to which a particular product can be used by a particular person for achieving a certain goal with satisfaction, effectiveness and efficiency is termed as usability.
Health IT Usability
The extent of effectiveness and satisfaction up to which health IT data is managed and further used for other purposes to achieve a specific purpose is known as Health IT usability.
Usability is one of the most important factor that impacts adoption and meaningful use of EHR (electronic health record systems). The fact is, without the usable system doctor, nurses, medical technicians, administrative staff and other users are deprived of potential interests.
Final incentives and other supports are provided by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) to steer the adoption and meaningful use of EHRs. A recent research funded by the Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) nonetheless probed the fundamental shortcomings of certified EHR purveyors in practices, processes and use standards with regard to human factor and usability.
EHR has become a central tool for patient care, so its efficacious and effective use carries prime importance.
Special focus on establishing a framework that assesses and defines health IT usability is in focus of the NIST health IT usability initiative. This very research is being conducted in alliance with the ONC, the Office of National Coordinator for health information technology, and AHRQ. The goal of this research being conducted is to produce a detailed specification of an objective, recurrent procedure and techniques for measuring and evaluating the usability of health IT systems. The initiative research will scrutinize the human factors that are crucial in designing EHRs and will lead the industry in practicing usability engineering techniques.
At the end of research, the findings and results will be used to promote the evaluation and development methods for these standards.
Information Technology Assisting Clinicians
Many health ITs are assisting clinicians and medical technologist in providing an efficacious and effective quality care. It is clear that if used properly, this system can be very useful, as the electronic health records will contain the complete medical history of a subject under consideration. Lack of knowledge and attention causes inability to get the desired efficiency, efficaciousness and satisfaction. Consequences are frustration of user; low efficiency compensated by increased cost and increase in health care errors. When failed to be used properly this system can introduce new errors, interrupts workflow and may also misguide about the medical history of a subject.
In order to get the best utilization of health IT, attention to health IT usability is very much essential meanwhile keeping in mind the users (nurses, physicians, doctors, medical technicians and administrative staff etc.)
Usability is often misunderstood
The usability is often misunderstood and is related with the user satisfaction. But in real this is not true because usability is about efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction. It is about helping clinicians and doctors to get the right treatment to right patient in right time.
The systems being used must also be convenient. People use systems they like or with which they feel comfortable this thing gives them value with overloading them.
Usability in general
Usability is all about avoiding errors and health IT usability is, getting the error free information and storing that for future use.
All the users of health information technology should be professionally trained. Because the more you know of it the more the data will be error free and the purpose of the system will also be served in this way.
Health information technology consists of:
- Electronic health record
- personal health record
Electronic health records
You might have noticed that your doctor keeps a record of your diseases and medications you are taking. Most doctors jot that down on a piece of paper.
Today, a more popular system known as electronic health record stores the necessary information regarding your health.
Health information technology usability allows a doctor to keep a check on your health even if they are off duty. It also allows to share the useful information with other specialists to seek the best treatment. HIT allows to share one’s health record so that anyone who needs that should easily grab it.
Some of the EHRs even allow you to enter to web portal where you log in to your profile to check your own health record, histories and lab results. You can get that information and can easily forward it to your health care provider.
What is personal health record?
Electronic health records are controlled by professionals while on the other hand in PHR you control the information being stored.
You may use PHR after your doctor’s visit to keep a track of your health information. Sometimes your PHR may also prove helpful for your doctor’s electronic health record.
Prescription on a piece of paper may get lost or is unable to read. E-prescription allows your doctor to directly liaise with pharmacy so that you go to the pharmacy and get your medicines even without prescription.
So, health IT usability free you from worries of keeping the prescription safe and it also reduces the error chances which is common when reading paper prescriptions.