Health Information Technology & Telemedicine > Summary
Health information technology (HIT) provides the umbrella framework to describe the comprehensive management of health information across computerized systems and its secure exchange between consumers, providers, government and quality entities, and insurers. Health information technology (HIT) is in general increasingly viewed as the most promising tool for improving the overall quality, safety and efficiency of the health delivery system (Chaudhry et al., 2006). Broad and consistent utilization of HIT will:
- Improve health care quality;
- Prevent medical errors;
- Reduce health care costs;
- Increase administrative efficiencies
- Decrease paperwork; and
- Expand access to affordable care.
Interoperable HIT will improve individual patient care, but it will also bring many public health benefits including:
- Early detection of infectious disease outbreaks around the country;
- Improved tracking of chronic disease management; and
- Evaluation of health care based on value enabled by the collection of de-identified price and quality information that can be compared.
Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technologies in order to provide clinical health care at a distance. It helps eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to medical services that would often not be consistently available in distant rural communities. It is also used to save lives in critical care and emergency situations. Although there were distant precursors to telemedicine, it is essentially a product of 20th century telecommunication and information technologies. These technologies permit communications between patient and medical staff with both convenience and fidelity, as well as the transmission of medical, imaging and heath informatics data from one site to another. Early forms of telemedicine achieved with telephone and radio have been supplemented with videotelephony, advanced diagnostic methods supported by distributed client/server applications, and additionally with telemedical devices to support in-home care.