6.4 Chapter Summary

High-income and low- and middle-income countries are working to support their healthcare systems with health information technology (HIT). eHealth, mHealth, telehealth, and telemedicine are modern HIT-enabled tools aiming to provide better, more efficient, and more effective care services to the patient. HIT systems collect and provide medical information and process collected data to assist decision-making. Five health information technology applications categories include electronic health records (EHR), telemedicine/telehealth services, health information networks, decision support tools, and internet-based technologies and services. The certified EHR is a digital system that provides patient medical information and, when integrated with clinical decision support tools, helps the provider interpret the patient data.

The Health Information Exchange (HIE) supports sharing of electronic health data between two or more healthcare organizations or providers at the state, public health, or federal level. Telemedicine uses electronic communications and software to provide clinical services without the need for an in-person visit. The telehealth that results from this form of communication can take the form of audio and video (synchronous), store-and-forward technologies (asynchronous), and remote patient monitoring. Health Information Networks (HIN) are standards, policies, and services designed to secure health information exchange over the Internet. Decision support tools are used for data analytics and to predict a medical event. Internet-based technologies enable data and information exchange as well as communication between the different actors within a health system.

Health information legislation created to improve healthcare delivery and protect confidential patient information include the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Six emerging health information technologies include telemedicine, robotic surgery, game technology, the home under observation, wearables, and usability. Future health information technologies include blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and the Internet of Medical Things. The future of health information technology continues to embrace concerns regarding cybersecurity and data privacy.

Key terms included in this chapter are also listed in the Glossary at the end of the book.

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Exploring the U.S. Healthcare System Copyright © 2023 by Karen Valaitis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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