- As technologically savvy as we are these days, we have a long way to go in health information technology. It’s time to take a more self-interested look.
- If all of our health providers could access our electronic medical records, the healthcare system would be far more efficient
- Family medical history can be as important as our own, especially as we age
Did you know National Health IT week is happening now? No? Well, you are not alone. Most people don’t think about health information technology (IT). As technologically savvy as we are in so many other areas of our life, we quickly fall back into the paper world as we visit physicians or, worse, ignore applying technology to our personal health.
It is time to wake up to the value of health IT. The value of health IT is — as it should be — all about “me me me!” and it’s time we took a more self-interested look.
Health IT should revolve around the patient. We should be in the middle. As we visit our physician, go to a lab for a test, or get a scan from a radiologist, our data should follow us. Each care provider in our care delivery process should have the most relevant, current, and approved data available. To put it another way: no more filling out papers on a clipboard and no more duplicate tests. Now, that is health IT value.
As engaged citizens and patients, we should be able to easily collect, record, and track our personal medical history as well as that of our families. Family medical history can be as important as our own at times, especially as we age. In the palm of our hands, we should have our personal health record and we should be able to receive and share our data as we decide. Now, this is health IT value.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a must, yet we often get distracted. We may not really understand how many calories we are eating and drinking, and we may not know if we are moving or lifting enough. We need to track our health habits and get a nudge in the right direction when we need it. Today, there are a growing number of digital gadgets and apps to record our health and engage in a healthier lifestyle. It is our choice, and this is the value of health IT.
When we get an illness or disease, we need information and support. We need to learn more about our diagnosis and have the ability to interact with others who have a similar issue. It is about community, and health IT enables this through websites, forums, social media, and secure exchanges. In times of challenging health situations, it becomes more about us and people like us. An engaged and supportive health community is the value of health IT.
Each of these scenarios is about “me me me.” Health IT should be centered on me, the patient and me, the engaged, healthy individual. Health IT is about:
• Electronic access to my healthcare data
• Easy recording and sharing of my personal health record
• Healthy tracking of my quantified self data
• My support community
This is what the value of health IT should be, so how are we doing? Highlighted below is my assessment.
Health IT delivers tremendous value. We need to be more engaged in discussing it with our physicians, and we need to be more engaged in using it to live a healthy lifestyle. Let’s recognize the value and use it in a positive, self-centered way.