The Internet and the digital revolution have forever changed many aspects of modern living for the better. The medical field has not gone unaffected by this change, as demand for easier access by patients has forced healthcare facilities to adjust. The government has also played a role in the modernization of the healthcare profession. New government regulations have made the IT aspect of healthcare nearly as vital as the act of caring for patients.
The Five Biggest Issues Concerning Healthcare IT
Complying With Government Regulations
The Huffington Post recently ran a story on their website where they named new government mandates as the fourth most influential factor affecting the future of healthcare. One such mandate is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH). Signed into law 2/17/09, the HITECH act is designed to protect patient confidentiality by limiting the amount of information which can be transferred across networks. A maximum penalty of $1.5 million can be levied against those found in violation of section D of the HITECH act. This is not to be confused with the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information in HIPPA which does even more to protect the rights of patients.
Securing Patient Information
While the Internet has provided a viable way for information to be shared quite easily, it has also opened the door for the greedy to treat people’s information like commodities in a bidding war. There are a lot of pharmaceutical companies and others who would love access to the private information of patients to launch a successful advertising campaign. It’s extremely important to ensure the proper information is easily transferrable without the threat of violating the patient’s privacy. It’s also important for people in the healthcare field to understand these new regulations to avoid hefty fines.
Learning The New Medical Billing Code ICD-10
Yet another IT concern facing people within the healthcare field is the changing of the medical billing code from ICD-9 to ICD-10. This is complicated further by the lack of a mapping sequence between the current system and the newer version. Medical billing and coding is already a confusing task, and this new change is sure to complicate matters even more.
For those used to handling healthcare the traditional way, the digital revolution may seem like a nightmare. However, the new regulations and people’s access to the web is poised to change healthcare for the better. No longer will it take days or even hours to transfer a patient’s medical records from one location to another. The current emphasis on interoperability (transferring data from one software system to another) increases the ease with which doctors can communicate with other doctors re: the care of a patient.
However, there’s a sweeping trend in the IT world which may change the healthcare field even more. It has been estimated that by the year, 2017, all Internet access will be made via mobile devices. Now medical facilities will be expected to provide not only web content, but content which is formatted specifically for mobile devices.
All the new advancements can seem overwhelming, but there are specialists dedicated to helping medical facilities and physician offices handle the ever changing world of healthcare IT. For any medical facility, the top priority has to be caring for patients. However, keeping up with new rules and regulations can sometimes get in the way. This is why healthcare professionals would be wise to rely upon a company, such as Netgain which specializes in IT services, so the facility and employees can focus on providing quality patient care.
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