One of the beliefs at the core of much of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, is the idea that increasing the role and prominence of IT resources in the health care system can not only improve the overall quality of care but also lower its cost. This week, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology launched a new initiative intended to increase the level of engagement that individual patients have with both their electronic medical records and their health care providers.
Health care organizations such as hospitals and physician's offices seeking to meet the challenge of this initiative will find that a managed programs approach to IT services can help them achieve success in the three areas covered by the program. The three goals of the initiative are to establish systems that provide patients with ease of access to their electronic medical records, to increase the use of technologies that enable to patients to better utilize their health information to improve outcomes, and to help patients consider themselves as partners with health care providers so that more information exchange can be achieved.
Patients who are able to access their records online will be better positioned to understand the care they are receiving. In addition, patients can assist physicians by correcting errors they encounter in their records. These benefits would prove significant to patients and providers alike, but to achieve them will require more IT support services than are typical for physicians' offices who have not yet embraced the powerful solution of managed programs.