Health information technology systems used by several major health providers fall short of achieving healthcare delivery goals envisioned by the Institute of Medicine, according to a report released by the National Research Council.
In studying the IT systems, the council said they were used mainly to comply with regulations or defend against lawsuits instead of to improve care. In addition, clinicians spent too much time sifting through raw data like laboratory results instead of having decision-support applications on hand to help form whole pictures of their patients. Data sharing and integration, and large-scale data management also were difficult, according to the report.
The council reviewed computing and information management systems at eight providersthe University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington; HCA's TriStar division, Brentwood, Tenn.; Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville; Partners HealthCare System, Boston; Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City; UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco; and Palo Alto (Calif.) Medical Foundation.
The healthcare industry should ensure that measurable improvements in quality of care are the driving motivation for implementing health IT, the council said in its report.
The Institute of Medicineconsisting of the research council, National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineeringin 2001 outlined the need for health IT to serve as a pillar for achieving safe, effective and quality healthcare in its Crossing the Quality Chasm (Premium registration required) report. -- by Jean DerGurahian
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