Adoption of health information technology (HIT), including electronic health records, is critical to comprehensive health care reform. Integrated delivery systems like Geisinger Health, Intermountain Healthcare, and Kaiser Permanente have shown the utility of HIT by realizing internal savings and providing improved care with their use of electronic health records. Yet even as health professionals around the world and other professions in the U.S. have moved to information technology, the American health sector lags behind, with a small fraction of providers using HIT.
HIT can improve patient care by providing physicians with comprehensive, accessible records on each patient and clinical decision-making support, including information gleaned from comparative effectiveness research.
Organized, accessible electronic databases (with stringent privacy protections) can also open up an enormous amount of previously unavailable data for research into public health and comparative effectiveness.