Since 2006, HIMSS and the Institute for e-Policy have promoted the evolution of healthcare and the growing impact technology has on the healthcare system with the annual National Health IT (NHIT) Week.  The weeklong celebration is an industry-wide effort to increase awareness of the advances that have already been made in healthcare thanks to the use of modern technology, but also to ensure the continued development of technology-driven healthcare to ensure better patient outcomes and create a more efficient and effective healthcare environment.

This week, the 2018 NHIT Week focuses on raising awareness around four key themes related to the value healthcare IT.

Supporting Healthcare Transformation

This includes exploring the different ways IT is driving change in the healthcare delivery system, from improved quality of care to interoperability, standards, and regulation enabling greater collaboration within the healthcare delivery ecosystem, innovative uses of technology to expand capabilities, and the ways technology is increasing patient engagement.

Expanding Access to High Quality Care

Innovative technologies, including telehealth and remote patient monitoring, help extend services across traditional geographic boundaries and enable access to a new range of providers, specialists, and services.  The result is better, more efficient, and more convenient care, resulting in better patient outcomes, even as the country is experiencing a physician shortage.  Telehealth services can help overcome that shortage by eliminating some of the traditional barriers to access, and can help increase providers’ ability to effectively treat conditions that have become a growing concern, including the opioid epidemic and weight control.

Increasing Economic Opportunity

The increased use of technology in healthcare not only creates roles within the sector to manage new systems, but delivers new revenue potential for providers.  By enabling healthcare systems to expand their reach to new demographic populations, telehealth can drive revenue growth for providers through the ability to provide services to new geographies or by treating specific conditions through the use of technology.  As more use cases become widely adopted, the economic impact on physicians and healthcare systems will also grow.

Making Communities Healthier

IT is starting to play an increased role in creating a generally healthier society.  Not only does access to more and better services allow for better treatment, but consumer applications and wearable devices have created a connection between technology and personal wellness.  The integration of similar technologies and their integration into telehealth platforms can help eliminate gaps in doctor-patient relationships, enable real-time sharing of health data, and increase general awareness of health conditions and treatment options, leading to a more health-conscious society.

There’s no question IT has an important role to play in the continued evolution of the healthcare system.  While progress has been made on many fronts – from regulation to adoption – NITH Week is poised to create even greater awareness among all constituencies of the healthcare ecosystem to drive even greater acceptance and adoption of healthcare IT and continue to drive the transformation of healthcare delivery.

To find out more about how telehealth can help your practice embrace technology and create new opportunities, click here.

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