What is Health IT?
Health information technology (health IT) involves the processing, storage, and exchange of health information in an electronic environment.1 Widespread adoption of health IT systems can help to improve health care quality, aid in the prevention of medical errors, potentially reduce health care costs, increase administrative efficiencies, streamline/decrease paperwork, and could expand access to health care systems and services. While the benefits of health IT systems are numerous, so are the risks to privacy and security of health care information. When researching what health IT systems and processes that you or your organization may consider adopting or participating in, ensure that the provider is one that complies with regulations to protect the privacy and security of electronic health information (ePHI). The following are types of health IT and health care software solutions:
Electronic health records (EHRs). EHRs allow medical providers to keep track of your health information electronically, rather than in the paper charts of the past. This can streamline and expedite care as medical providers can access your information quickly, and to easily share it with other departments and specialists.2
Personal health records (PHRs). PHRs are similar to EHRs except that the patient inputs their own information and uses it to keep track of medical appointments, health events, and other health priorities. Some PHRs can be linked to EHRs.
Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing). E-prescribing software allows prescribers to communicate directly with pharmacies without handwritten or paper prescriptions. This helps to significantly improve the prescribing process as it reduces errors and streamlines the process for prescribers, pharmacists, and patients.
Remote patient monitoring. Remote patient monitoring is a form of telehealth that uses monitoring technologies to allow medical providers to track certain health conditions such as blood pressure, glucose, weight, heart, sleep, and breathing. This can help patients by reducing the need for travel, reducing travel costs and health risks.
Patient portal. Patient portals are types of hospital management systems that provide patients with a platform that they can access on any device with features such as EHRs, billing, scheduling, and messaging.
Urgent care applications. Urgent care applications allow patients to access medical care through an app 24/7, allowing many patients to receive care faster than they would at an emergency room.
Medical billing software. Medical billing software automatically generates medical bills and handles the entire workflow including insurance claims, verification, payment tracking, and processing.
1 HHS, 2022, “Health Information Technology”
2 HealthIT.gov, 2022, “Health IT: Advancing America’s Health Care”