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4. Bio-driven convergence > Healthcare and IT

Healthcare and IT

The application of information technology (IT) to healthcare is sometimes referred to as healthcare information management, healthcare IT, medical informatics, and bioinformatics. These terms are often used interchangeably and generally connote medical information handling. They use computers, software, digital data records, data storage, or communications networks in the delivery of healthcare. IT continues to have a tremendous impact on the full spectrum of healthcare, from preventing disease to diagnosing and treating it. Let’s look at some current examples.

Medical information handling

The most significant use of IT in healthcare is electronic medical records (EMR) management, which includes recording, archiving, and reviewing electronic patient charts. This process includes not only computerized physician order entry systems (CPOE), but also computerized decision support systems (CDSS) to provide an audit trail for all medical decisions made and implemented. Although such systems promise efficiency and cost savings, implementation has been slow and expensive because of complex installation and testing of the software systems.7 But several major initiatives are underway in areas such as the United Kingdom’s National Health Service and, to a lesser extent, in the United States.8 Electronic medical information handling also involves automation of care delivery as well as electronic systems for billing and scheduling.


  

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