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Health Information Technology

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Information Technology in Healthcare

Intersection of information science, computer science, and health care. It deals with the resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and biomedicine. Health informatics tools include not only computers but also clinical guidelines, formal medical terminologies, and information and communication systems. It is applied to the areas of nursing, clinical care, dentistry, pharmacy, public health and (bio)medical research.

Medical informatics began to take off in the US in the 1950s with the rise of computers. Early names for medical informatics included medical computing, medical computer science, computer medicine, medical electronic data processing, medical automatic data processing, medical information processing, medical information science, medical software engineering, and medical computer technology. Since the 1970s the coordinating body has been the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA)

Medical News

health news headlines provided courtesy of Medical News Today.


Healthcare providers (who are covered entities under HIPAA) must comply with the HIPAA Security Rule. The HIPAA Security Rule sets standards for ensuring that only those who should have access to electronic protected health information actually have access. Providers must meet and/or address these standards, in the form of specific technical, administrative and physical safeguards to comply with the Rule.

The Security Rule covers protected health information that is held or transmitted in electronic form. The Rule provides detailed implementation specifications that set out instructions for implementing particular standards. Some standards under the Rule are required, and providers must implement policies and/or procedures that meet what the implementation specification requires. Other standards are addressable, and providers must assess whether it is a reasonable and appropriate safeguard in the provider?s environment.

HIPAA AND ELECTRONIC EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION The increasing reliance on computers to store and exchange information continues to present a number of technical and security challenges. In the early 1990s, health care industry leaders, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the U.S. Congress became increasingly concerned about the lack of standardization in the business of health care. At that time, it was estimated that more than four hundred different formats existed for the electronic processing of health claims. In addition, at least twenty-six cents of each health care dollar was going toward administrative costs, such as: Enrolling an individual in a health plan Paying health insurance premiums Checking eligibility Obtaining authorization to refer a patient to a specialist Processing claims Notifying a provider about the payment of a claim In 1996, as a result of ongoing work, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The act is the most significant legislation affecting the health care field since the Medicare and Medicaid programs were introduced in 1965. The legislation was designed to: Ensure the portability of insurance coverage as employees moved from job to job Increase accountability and decrease fraud and abuse in healthcare

HIPAA Definition HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) federal act that set forth guidelines for standardizing the electronic data interchange of administrative and financial transactions, exposing fraud and abuse in government programs, and protecting the security and privacy of health information.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) Recovery Act was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. The law includes the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or the "HITECH Act," which established programs under Medicare and Medicaid to provide incentive payments for the "meaningful use" of certified electronic health records (EHR) technology. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a role in three areas of the HITECH Act:

  • Implementation of the EHR incentive programs, including defining meaningful use of certified EHR technology;
  • Establishment of standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for EHR technology.
  • Privacy and Security protections under the HITECH Act

Implementation of the EHR Incentive Programs Under the HITECH Act, the Medicare EHR incentive programs provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) that are meaningful users of certified EHRs. Incentive payments would be made to qualifying Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations for the meaningful use of certified EHR technology by their affiliated eligible professionals. The Medicaid EHR incentive program provides incentive payments to eligible professionals and hospitals for efforts to adopt, implement or upgrade certified EHR technology or for meaningful use in the first year and for meaningful use for up to another five years.

Intermountain Healthcare Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit health system based in Salt Lake City, with over 32,000 employees. Serving the healthcare needs of Utah and southeastern Idaho residents, Intermountain's system of 23 hospitals, physicians, clinics, and health plans, provides clinically excellent medical care at affordable rates.

A recent article in The New York Times Magazine focuses on Intermountain's evidence-based medicine as a model for America's healthcare system. To read the full article, visit the website:

The New York Times Magazine: 'Making Health Care Better'
GE GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, performance improvement, drug discovery, and biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies is helping clinicians around the world re-imagine new ways to predict, diagnose, inform and treat disease, so their patients can live their lives to the fullest. GE Healthcare's broad range of products and services enable healthcare providers to better diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases, and other conditions earlier. Our vision for the future is to enable a new "early health" model of care focused on earlier diagnosis, pre-symptomatic disease detection, and disease prevention.

GE Healthcare and Intermountain Intermountain has partnered with GE Healthcare and established a new research center in a collaborative effort. The Enterprise Clinical Information System is designed to transform the world of healthcare delivery. - One system. A single, standardized, flexible system accessible throughout Intermountain. Less repetition. Reducing redundant data entry, freeing physicians and other medical staff to focus on patient care. Built by clinicians. Built in partnership with clinicians and caregivers. Keeping patient needs at the forefront. Continuing the legacy. Building on Intermountain's long-held tradition of innovation, taking vision another step forward.

Book Recommendation Paper Kills 2.0 is the timely, powerful sequel to the award-winning book, Paper Kills. Newt Gingrich, Tom Daschle, and national industry leaders explore the leading information technologies that can and will transform our health system. With a specific look at the impact of the federal ARRA investment, Paper Kills 2.0 is a thought-provoking book that explores the most important drivers of health IT, from innovation, primary care, and clinical research to e-prescribing, electronic administration, and health information exchange. With praise from luminaries such as Dr. Mehmet Oz, Mike Leavitt, Bill Frist, and Jeff Immelt of GE, Paper Kills 2.0 is required reading for industry leaders, providers, and policymakers who want to understand what is happening today and what will likely happen tomorrow to bring healthcare into the 21st century.

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