Health Information Technology can make the entire health care system
more effective and efficient by enhancing:
- Documentation (lab and test results, clinic notes, consult recommendations)
- Communication (provider to patient, provider to provider)
- Information input (templates to facilitate data entry)
- Delivery of care (documenting all patient-provider interactions in a single
- Chronic disease risk identification (evaluation of risk factors, recommendations
for appropriate preventive services and screenings)
- Consistent recording of correct billing codes
But, adapting to Health Information Technology is a challenge.
- Health Information Technology almost always involves a “new system.”
Consequently, the entire staff, from health care providers to IM/IT personnel
is on a learning curve.
- Existing IT infrastructure may not be adequate, so the Health Information
Technology system may be very slow, or may frequently crash.
- The new system may not have all the forms you need already in place. New
forms may be needed.
Lessons learned from Health Information Technology implementation
- Make use of as many training opportunities as possible.
- Learn as much as you can about the Health Information Technology that you
need to use. Become an expert.
- Ask questions if you are unsure how to navigate the system.
Keep the big picture in mind.
- Be aware that those keeping the Health Information Technology system up
and running may have a very different set of priorities. The IM/IT staff may
not see your request as a priority when it is taking all their manpower to
trouble shoot the new system each day.
- Other changes to the Health Information Technology system may be in line
in front of yours, so be patient.
Think through changes thoroughly.
- Take time to think through a new form thoroughly. Know exactly what you
want before talking to the developer.
- Don’t think in a vacuum. If you build a form, make sure it is one
your staff will use and find efficient.
- Create a draft version of the form and use it before requesting that it
be put into the new system.
- Be prepared to build a good case for why your form should be created. Build
a stronger case if your form should be developed ahead of other requests in
- Be patient and persistent when working with a programmer/developer on a
new form. Meet frequently and set up timelines and deadlines.
- Coordinate with IM/IT and the Health Information Technology contractor to
see if they can support a new project in the required time frame.
For more information about Health Information Technology implementation, go
to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) National Resource Center
for Health Information Technology at http://healthit.ahrq.gov.