By Lyndsey Kleven
The Internet has greatly enhanced the healthcare industry, helping to add ease to people’s daily lives by staying-up-to-date on medical issues and knowledge and extending well beyond the doctor’s office. According to the Connect Ohio’s Residential Technology Assessment findings, 53% of Ohio Internet users conduct searches for medical information, or use the Internet to communicate with healthcare professionals like doctors or insurance offices.
The Internet has become an open arena for researching diseases, self-educating, and finding or reviewing physicians and healthcare facilities. Searching for the nearest pharmacy or completing online applications for insurance, Medicare, or other claims can be done easily from home, at any time convenient for the applicant. Not only can you access a wealth of information, but using the Internet can eliminate wait time in offices or time spent on the phone with a call center.
The online world of healthcare is being shaped around the user’s experience and the benefits can vary in countless ways. Support groups can connect virtually, sharing personal details of diagnosis and treatments, or users can find information about cutting edge technologies. For those in search of dialogue or debate on medicine, the Internet provides various platforms for this, according to an article by forbes.com.
Using technology also makes it easier to store, share and access health information for both healthcare providers and patients. Healthcare facilities are being encouraged by the federal government to switch to electronic health records (EHR), which is viewed as the core emerging infrastructure to improve the nation’s health and healthcare system, according to healthaffairs.com.
Health information technology is also useful for:
·Reducing paperwork by eliminating the need for handwritten medical records
·Reducing medical errors by transmitting accurate information electronically and eliminating mistakes due to misreading for your doctor’s handwriting
·Reducing healthcare costs by decreasing the need for repeat medical test by different doctors and eliminating storage space and staff time to maintain medical records
·Improving your quality of care by decreasing medical errors and assuring that all your healthcare providers have accurate and timely information
One example to connect healthcare providers throughout Ohio is being developed by CliniSync, a statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE). CliniSync is working to synchronize clinical data across multiple entities, which physicians could access anywhere in the state. According to an article by HIMSS News , hospitals started connecting to the system in fall 2011, and as of January 2012, 50 additional hospitals have been contracted to use the system. St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, Ohio was the first to ‘go live’ with CliniSync and is now able to electronically share radiology reports, lab results and other patient information with other healthcare professionals.
As technology is continually invading the healthcare industry, patients and physicians are feeling the benefits of on-demand access to medical information -when, where, and how it is needed.
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