Health Information Technology
Health information technology (HIT) is an umbrella term for a wide range of computerized systems that connect individuals, providers, insurers and the government. Health information technology has the potential to transform the health care system by improving quality, effectiveness, and efficiency. At its most basic level, health information technology combines computer software and hardware to store, share, and use health care information for both communication and decision-making.
In 2001, the Institute of Medicine called for electronic procedures in prescribing by 2010. Spurred by this call, in 2004 the Bush Administration released the President’s Health Information Technology Plan, a ten-year guideline for the development and implementation of electronic medical records across the United States. It is believed that such systems with improve the efficiency and safety of health care delivery. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act set aside about $19 billion for hospitals to move towards electronic medical records.
The electronic medical record, a type of HIT, is supposed to reduce medical errors by tracking such data as prescriptions, tests and medical procedures in a single, accessible system. However, many physicians, especially in emergency rooms, have been reluctant to adopt some HIT due to the lack of user-friendly interfaces.