Information Technology a Growing Force for Change in Health Care
Information technology likely will drive large-scale change in the U.S. health care industry in the coming years, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the Journal, physicians and hospitals "have long been quick to adopt breakthrough technology in medical devices, procedures and treatments," but "far less attention has focused on innovations in networking and communications" in part because of "concerns about breaches in security and patient privacy and because health care until recently was a service always performed locally and in person."
"Outsourcing and offshoring of medical and nonmedical services will increase, providing more efficient health care at the most cost-effective rates; systems integrations will allow more medical records to be transferred swiftly and securely; efforts to monitor the safety of medicines will gain global access to data; and professionals and patients will find authoritative and up-to-date information on every specialty online," according to the Journal.
In the future, "there will be three often overlapping modes of delivering health care services: services performed in person by humans, services that can be performed by people at a remote location, and services performed by computers without direct human involvement," according to the Journal.
Such "changes won't come quickly" and will face "plenty of obstacles" as institutions and networks reach across borders and encounter different laws as well as technical standards," but health care "organizations that don't join in the coming changes will incur higher costs and less integration," both of which "will make them less competitive in the global health care marketplace" (Gupta, Wall Street Journal, 10/20).
A related video is on the Journal Web site.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.