Healthcare IT policy guide highlights shifting clinical technology landscape

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A new healthcare IT policy guide published by the Markel Foundation has revealed the challenges faced by hospitals, physicians and care providers in light of continued regulatory changes and evolving technology, reports Healthcare IT News.

The report, titled “Policy in Practice,” aims to assist healthcare IT professionals, regulatory compliance officers and medical executives navigate the increasingly complex field of clinical data in the 21st century.

Researchers at the Markel Foundation discussed the healthcare IT industry with a number of technology, regulatory and management professionals in order to draft the guidelines.

“The landscape for health information sharing is changing,” Laura Bailyn, senior director for health initiatives at Markle, told the news source. “As health information sharing needs and capabilities continue to evolve, it is critical to incorporate new knowledge and lessons learned.”

Although Markel has published other documentation that is similar in nature to “Policies in Practice,” including the Common Framework in 2006, the healthcare industry’s increasing focus on regulatory compliance through legislation such as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act necessitated a more current set of policy guidelines.

Large hospitals and smaller healthcare providers alike have struggled with the industry’s shift toward greater accountability and regulatory compliance.

According to Clinical Advisor, the requirements outlined in the HITECH Act have placed a significant burden on care environments attempting to demonstrate meaningful use of medical informatics technology.

Despite widespread adoption of clinical informatics systems, many care providers are still experiencing challenges in aligning their practices and procedures in accordance with HITECH and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act guidelines.

William Chin, executive medical director of HealthCare Partners in Torrance, told the news source that clinical informatics systems were not merely a way for doctors to digitize paper medical records, but had to completely transform the way physicians care for patients.