How Information Technology Can Reduce the Cost of Health Care

Health care is an essential aspect of society. Health care services promote better living through medical, dental, pharmaceutical and nursing professions. Unfortunately, though, health care is also an expensive commodity. Prescription drugs can be very costly, due to the need to undertake much research and development.

New medicines, new procedures and new equipment contribute to the high costs of health care. However, new technologies can also lead to cost savings and efficiency. And so the problem of expensive health care can be solved by adequate use of information technology in the health care system.

The integration of information technology to health care, or the use of software and hardware to process information more efficiently, can have a strong impact on cost reduction. Less expensive health care means accessibility and availability of health services to everyone. Here are some ways by which IT can help lower the costs of health care.

  • Health Information Technology HIT provides the umbrella framework of comprehensively managing health related information. HIT, in general, is seen as one of the most promising tools for enhancing the quality, efficiency and safety of the health delivery system. HIT is described as the hardware and software that process information pertinent to storing, retrieving, sharing, and use of healthcare knowledge. This knowledge is then used for more effective communication among healthcare professionals, and for better decision making. This includes maintaining health records online, so doctors can more easily access information when the need arises.
  • Internet Research for Home Health Care If a patient communicates with a physician through the Internet, it could reduce the percentage of in-office visits. People will reduce instances of having to go for an actual visit to the clinic, saving time and money. Thirty percent of health care costs are spent on clinical inefficiency and redundant administrative costs. By communicating online, the healthcare system can reduce costs by streamlining and merging back office administrative processes of plans and providers.
  • Approval of Electronic Health Records Prescription error is common in today's health care setting, and this can prove to be serious or even fatal. The use of online health records can help significantly reduce errors, and therefore the cost of healthcare. Such as system will allow the physician to enter notes about a patient's care and condition into a computerized record. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to have to physically retrieve a patient's charts from office files. The electronic health record also prompts providers to prescribe generic drugs instead of more costly brand name medications, which gives a patient more flexibility in choosing the brands that are affordable to him. The record can also instantly identify harmful drug interactions and possible allergic reactions to prescribed drugs.
  • E-Prescribing This is the ability to send an accurate, error-free and comprehensible prescription directly to a pharmacy from the point-of-care. This further reduces possible mistakes and errors arising from buying medicine from over the counter or incorrectly filled prescriptions.

Combining the efficiency of computers and the client-centered health care system would pave the way to better health and improved sickness prevention. You can learn how these different elements interact to drive health care costs by taking online information technology courses.  In any case, these innovations show how health care is fast adapting to the computer age, thus reducing human error, decreasing transaction costs, and improving efficiency.


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