We are happy to announce that we are participating with HIMSS in National Health IT (NHIT) Week, a time year to increase awareness for health information technology by sharing your stories and showing your passion for technology in healthcare. Through interoperability, telemedicine, patient engagement, healthcare technology has changed for the better the way you treat your patients and deliver healthcare.
The Benefits of Health IT In Practitioners’ Inspiring Stories
Thanks in large part to federal funding and state legislation, Colorado hospitals have been connected through telemedicine for much of the last decade, in the Colorado Telehealth Network (CTN). It allows facilities to exchange health records electronically over a subsidized broadband network.
Lynne VanArsdale was working in IT at a medical practice with a heart surgeon. “It was in the late 1990s and I had set up one of the first cross-ocean telemedicine systems,” she says. She received a phone call at 1:00am one morning: “The system was down and the surgeon needed me to fix it right away.”
On arrival, she was greeted by unknown men in black suits who brought her to the demark room and fixed the system “in five minutes.” The next morning she heard on the radio the news that a foreign dignitary had suffered a heart attack in the middle of the night, had been treated and was now recovering well. She determined that the men who greeted her that night were part of the foreign dignitary’s entourage and that her work fixing the telemedicine system made the difference. “I saw first-hand how health IT saved an important life, and that life saved many other lives.”
Cloud-Based Electronic Health Records’ Impact On Hurricane Recovery
John O’Keefe, who owns a company in Sarasota Florida that offers cloud-based electronic health records (EHR) services with HIPAA compliant data centers across the country, describes how hurricanes have affected health care in the past:
“Ten years ago, when Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities, the storm wiped out medical records at small and medium-sized practices in multiple states. Physicians were forced to rely on memories and notecards to keep track of patient care and medical history. Paper files and localized servers were ruined, lost or otherwise unavailable for indeterminate periods of time.”
Because the Florida-based company offers an EHR system with redundant data centers, their doctors’ data was safe and accessible during and after the storm. John says that until fairly recently, most small and medium-sized medical practices have considered cloud-based EHR systems to be beyond their practices’ needs. With recent security concerns such as data breaches and natural disasters, John believes that perception is changing: “Practices of all sizes are taking advantage of the technology to secure their future and positively impact patient care.”
How to Get Involved in National Health IT Week
Health IT professionals and medical practitioners nationwide can participate in NHIT week in a variety of ways, such as posting on social media, communicating with local health IT-related news outlets, and gathering together with other medical professionals to learn about the latest innovations in health IT.
Whichever way you choose to participate, we hope that you will take some time out of your week in order to share the unique value that information technology has brought to your health care organization, and how your patients benefit from its use. Whether you use health IT to improve patient engagement or provide services like telemedicine to underserved areas, the world wants to know about your experience!