Using Health Information Technology for Optimal Patient Care and Service

Bruce Bagley and Steven Waldren

Chapter contents

Components of Patient Care

120

Office Business and Management Functions

122

Care of the Individual

120

Integrating and Connecting Systems and Functions

122

Care of a Population

121

Workflow Management

122

Care Management Support

121

Organizing Information for Point-of-Care Decision Making

122

Managing Patient Relationships

121

Health Information Exchange

123

Monitoring and Improving Quality and Performance

121

Professional Development

123

Decision Support

122

Conclusion

• Information technology must support the core office functions for finances, personnel, and clinical quality.

• Information management is essential for quality patient care and efficient practice operations.

• Well-organized clinical information at the point of care means better decisions for patients.

• Registries are required for a population approach to complete and timely care.

• Information technology must help the team with care management and care coordination tasks.

• Computers can enhance patient and care team relationships through communication, education, and self-management support.

• Quality measures and reporting capability must be embedded in the EHR.

• Decision support tools ensure patient safety and timely, evidence-based care.

We live in a world that is so rich with information that managing, filtering, and organizing the data has become our most important challenge as we strive to use information technology (IT) to help us deliver reliable, high-quality care to our patients.

In the past the goal for family physicians was to have the electronic health record (EHR) selected, implemented, and working efficiently. Unfortunately, many EHR systems focused primarily on recording the office visit and support for billing and coding decisions. Over time, systems evolved to provide better support for office workflow, electronic prescribing, and clinical information management. Realtime interoperability and widespread health data exchange remain challenges for clinical practice and for the U.S. health care system.

Information technology and the installation of hardware and software in the practice should not be a goal in and of itself. Computers must be configured and connected to support the key management functions of the medical office for finances, personnel, and clinical quality. For this reason, we organize this chapter by considering each of the core functionalities required for efficient medical office functioning. We describe how health information technology should be used to greatest advantage and address the need for integration, connectivity, and data exchange.

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