Health IT Implementation Should Be High Priority
Implementation of health care information technology "must be one of our nation's top priorities," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), founder of the Center for Health Transformation, and Janet Dillione, president of the health care IT division of Siemens Medical Solutions, write in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece. According to the authors, only one-fourth of hospitals and less than 15% of physicians have implemented health care IT.
The authors write that the "technological gulf" in health care reduces efficiency, increases costs and might "be involved in ... the persistence of a high error rate in medicine." The authors add, "Health information technology, from electronic prescribing to electronic health records to clinical decision support, is a critical part of the solution" to the issues of health care costs and medical errors.
The authors recommend the use of incentives to prompt hospitals and physicians to implement health care IT, the revision of laws that limit implementation of health care IT and the inclusion of health care IT in the curricula of medical schools.
"The sad reality is that most physicians put down their laptops and pick up their clipboards when they walk into a patient's room," the authors write, adding, "For the health of our citizens and the future of our country, that's a reality we must change" (Gingrich/Dillione, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/9).