One of the many goals of the Affordable Care Act is to improve healthcare quality through the use of technology. The proposed technology varies from electronic health records to computer modeling used to track healthcare spending. The use of this technology and data to improve the health of patients and quality of care is called healthcare informatics. The use of informatics allows healthcare professionals to assess new programs, search for areas of improvement within the healthcare sector, and integrate new technologies into medicine.
A Method to Assess Treatment Options
Healthcare informatics works to assess treatment options by providing visibility into how patients respond to different approaches. Previously, patients who saw multiple specialists struggled with transmission of information between doctors, causing confusion about the proper course of treatment. With healthcare informatics, doctors can easily share information with each other through an integrated electronic health record system. This system allows doctors to coordinate care and expedite the treatment that offers the greatest impact. Coordinated care through healthcare informatics allows doctors to move forward with the best treatment for their patients.
A Way to Search for Areas of Improvement
While assessing the success of treatment programs, healthcare informatics also uncovers areas that need improvement. Doctors participating in electronic healthcare records can track reimbursement levels from Medicare and Medicaid, revealing previously hidden errors. This prevents loss of revenue to doctors and provides accurate, measurable information about Medicare and Medicaid spending. Tracking this information allows the government to highlight potential fraud and reduce excessive spending. Using healthcare informatics is an effective way to lower the cost of healthcare in the United States over time.
A Means to Integrate New Technologies
As new technology emerges to improve quality of care for patients, healthcare informatics provides a way to leverage those developments for the benefit of both doctor and patient. For example, third-party lab testing centers can report data directly to a portal that is accessible to patients and doctors, minimizing the time and energy required to track down test results. Informatics also has the potential to give doctors access to information gained through genome sequencing, empowering them to research specific genetic mutations. Information about mutations can allow doctors to more accurately diagnose diseases and provide treatments.
All of this data will allow for continued advancement as informatics improves the spread of information and reveals deficiencies in various testing methods over time. As healthcare informatics helps integrate technology, newer and better treatment options will become available to doctors and patients.
Through the Affordable Healthcare Act, healthcare informatics offers many opportunities to provide improved health and quality of care. As a tool for assessing how healthcare programs are operating, it can highlight the most efficient and effective means for treatment. As a method for improving how healthcare systems perform, it can expose deficiencies and prevent waste. As a way to integrate technology, it can allow for easy transmission of data. The rapidly growing field of healthcare informatics promises to impact medicine and public health in a profound way.