Health IT Vital To Quality CareNovember 16, 2011
Article written by Ken Congdon, editor in chief, Healthcare Technology Online
For years, the federal government has championed the idea that effective use of health IT systems can go a long way to improving the quality of healthcare in the U.S. Now, a new report by Healthgrades, an independent source for physician information and quality hospital outcomes, seems to confirm the federal government’s position. Healthgrades’ Healthcare Consumerism and Hospital Quality in America report documents the patient outcomes at nearly 5,000 U.S. hospitals and provided some interesting insights into the impact IT systems, particularly, the Internet and EHRs, can have on improving patient outcomes and satisfaction.
One point made abundantly clear by Healthgrades’ research is the fact that some pretty serious quality gaps are still present in U.S. hospitals. For example, patients that received treatment at a 5-star rated hospital had a 73% lower mortality rate than patients at 1-star rated hospitals. According to the report, if all hospitals performed at the 5-star hospital level, more than 240,000 lives could have been saved over the past three years.
This disconcerting statistic reinforces the importance of being able to track key core measures (e.g. mortality rates, readmission rates, length of stay, etc.) via EHR, clinical reporting, and business intelligence tools. Not only that, it reinforces the ACO (Accountable Care Organization) concept of measuring performance and reimbursing healthcare networks based on these outcomes.
Another interesting finding of the Healthgrades’ study is the fact that patients are leveraging the Internet more and more for health-related purposes. The report notes that patients are not only using the Internet to search for disease/condition diagnosis and treatment specifics, they are now using the Web to research hospital and physician quality information. In fact, the survey showed a 47% increase in the number of patients that now use the Web to look for physician quality information, and a 38% increase in the number of patients that now use the Internet to look for hospital quality information.
Healthgrades’ study also showed that patient satisfaction increased when easy access to physician, hospital, and other health-related information was easily accessible via the Internet. These findings point to the value of providing patients with secure access to more health information and services online. Whether it’s online scheduling, billing, or online access to lab results, the Internet is becoming a preferred means of information gathering and interaction for patients in today’s healthcare system.
Frank J.Rosello is CEO & Co-Founder of Environmental Intelligence LLC.
Environmental Intelligence LLC is a Complete Outsourced Health IT Company providing End-to-End meaningful physician workflows consulting, integration, and implementation in (EHR) Electronic Health Records and Practice Management to private and public medical practices and facilities differentiated by our experienced, physician driven administrative staff and dedicated IT team.
To learn more about our Physician Focused – Patient Driven approach to EHR & Health IT Visit our website: www.goeillc.com