No single innovation in the digitization of healthcare has captured more headlines than the electronic health record – or EHR. Since the late 1990s when EHRs began to appear and flourish as a result of EHR incentive payment programs and Meaningful use regulations, the adoption rate grew rapidly and the technology has grown more sophisticated. Doctors are now integrating the whole digital medicine concept into their thought processes and folding the increasingly improved technologies into their clinical practices.
For more than 20 years, C. Martin Harris, MD, Chief Information Officer of Cleveland Clinic, has helmed the healthcare system’s entire IT program and mapped out a plan to enable it to deliver healthcare more efficiently and compassionately. Arguably no one knows more about healthcare IT than Dr. Harris.
Serving as a template for healthcare IT leaders and administrators, IT’s About Patient Care: Transforming Healthcare Information Technology the Cleveland Clinic Way (McGraw-Hill; October, 2016; HC, $40.95) shows you how to design, implement, and maximize your organization’s IT systems to deliver fully integrated, coordinated, high-quality care.
Harris cites real-life examples of information technology speeding a diagnosis or saving lives, improving the three basic attributes of the Internet of Healthcare: Trust, Access and Value. It also describes strategies that lead to successful integration of medicine and technology.
Harris’s plan describes:
- Collaboration with patients: Track and monitor patients’ progress and communicate with them anytime, anywhere.
- Coordinating among multiple caregivers and care teams: Build a network of communication among healthcare professionals across disciplines in different locations who are working on a single patient case; and integrate various IT systems into a fully functioning network.
- Optimize electronic medical records: Quickly pull up and share patient histories, test results, and other essential data to provide timely care; and expand real-time access to clinical data and research.
- Use IT as a competitive advantage: Enable live chats, virtual visits, and online second opinions; create a content-rich, user-friendly website; build a social media strategy that engages patients and caregivers alike.
By connecting your patients with caregivers—and caregivers with each other—you’ll be better equipped to diagnose conditions, recommend treatments, and monitor patients in ways that weren’t even possible 10 years ago. And you’ll see a vision of where IT is headed in the Internet of Healthcare.
As Dr. Harris sees it, medicine at its most technically advanced is medicine at its best, because it is still rooted in the bedrock principles of compassion and healing. “I believe that we can use the power of this technology to make our work more efficient.” He adds that efficiency saves lives when it can “speed up the process of bringing the right patients and the right clinicians together so the healing that starts with human contact can begin.”
IT’s About Patient Care is the fifth in McGraw-Hill’s Cleveland Clinic Way series, which began in 2014 with The Cleveland Clinic Way: Lessons in Excellence from One of the World’s Leading Healthcare Organizations, by Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD.
About the Author(s):
Martin Harris, MD, is a staff member in the Department of General Internal Medicine at The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, where he also is the Chief Information Officer and Chairman of the Information Technology Division. Board-certified in internal medicine, Dr. Harris’ clinical interests include evaluating and managing the critically ill patient during the pre-operative period. Harris is on the advisory board of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Better Health 2010 committee and is a judge for the case studies in medicine for The Computerworld Smithsonian Honors Program. He also is a member of the American Medical Informatics Association and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).
Gene Lazuta is Senior Director of Strategic Communication at the Division of Information Technology at Cleveland Clinic and its Secure Online Services program.
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