IT Needs to Catch Up with Developments in Health Care: Expert

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One hospital CEO criticized the information technology in health care in the United States calling it unimpressive / Photo by: Max Pixel


Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling sees information technology in the medical field as "less impressive," pointing particularly at the infamous struggles of onboarding electronic health records.

With the worries regarding cybersecurity and interoperability, these record systems triggered a widespread burnout and dissatisfaction among medical practitioners due to their time-consuming and complex workflows. However, there have been developments cited in the information technology front.

According to tech website Big Think, Apple has recently added a Health Records application to its iPhone units that provide patients from 39 health systems quick access to their medical records.

"This existing new reality is that a fat file, that until recently was stored away unavailable to the patient, now sits in its entirety on the patient's phone," said Dowling, as stated in his book “Health Care Reboot.”

The advancement allows patients with chronic conditions, who frequently use medical services, to keep track and even share with their doctor the needed data on their blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, and even records of other notable clinical markers.

However, patients should be able to gather, access, and understand this kind of information in order for the innovation to succeed, according to Big Think. It adds that innovative technology would have to streamline these kinds of systems to enable maximum user-friendliness while keeping operations on a device that patients and practitioners are familiar with.

These devices would be smartphones and tablets, given the fact that 77 percent of Americans have these gadgets. Among US citizens over 65 years old—the demographic that needs this kind of technological development the most—46 percent own a smartphone, a rate that will likely increase.

Big technology's vision of pushing information tech in health care is, in some ways, off. The tech website says there will have to be a lot of experimenting to be done, and big tech has to form a better collaboration with traditional health care stakeholders. But even so, this notable progress could lead to a model in which practitioners will be able to gather more data at a faster pace with great ease, all the while turning patients into partners instead of passive recipients of the health care system.