HIMSS chair: IT will transform healthcare

March 11, 2010

"Healthcare information technology is the instrument that will transform healthcare . . . [and] improve quality, safety, access, and cost-efficiency," said Barry P. Chaiken, MD, MPH, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society board chairman, March 1 in his opening remarks at the HIMSS annual conference in Atlanta.

"Healthcare information technology is the instrument that will transform healthcare . . . [and] improve quality, safety, access, and cost-efficiency," said Barry P. Chaiken, MD, MPH, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) board chairman, March 1 in his opening remarks at the HIMSS annual conference in Atlanta.

"In many respects, our healthcare system still operates like the typical business of 1969," Chaiken said. "It is still largely paper-based, it ignores information tools that can facilitate evidence-based best practices, and it functions without analytics to qualify and quantify the care we provide. Too many providers are not taking advantage of 21st-century technologies to access 21st-century information, choosing instead to provide care the same way it was done 40 years ago."

Heavy adoption of electronic systems will occur, Chaiken predicted, once the IT industry "provide[s] clinical decision support tools that reduce the burden of recalling facts and help to assess patients, form diagnoses, and choose therapeutic paths." When that happens, doctors and nurses will be able to "concentrate on examining, interacting, and motivating patients while technology handles the burdens of collecting, storing, and accessing data.

"The knowledge of best practices and evidence-based care must be delivered to every single clinician at every point of care so that every patient everywhere receives care according this latest knowledge rather than according to the habits of a clinician disconnected from this knowledge," Chaiken said.