InformationWeek 500 healthcare companies and hospitals are using technology in inventive ways to improve care. These innovations include a unique virtual reality system for burn victims, "Smart Rooms," and a customized program to track application and system performance problems. Take a quick peek at 10 of these IT initiatives in our slideshow.
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As any experienced IT manager knows, health IT can contribute to improved quality of care and decision making, but it can also introduce new types of errors. With that in mind, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka is focusing on ways to ensure that HIT itself is safe. His team is working with other stakeholders in Massachusetts to create a health information exchange supporting safety, quality, and efficiency. That includes the patient summaries needed when a hospital patient is transferred to a skilled nursing facility or home, for example. In situations like this, BIDMC produces a Continuity of Care Document with discharge instructions for patients via a multidisciplinary Web application used by doctors, nurses, social workers, and case managers.
BIDMC also provides patients with a CCD when they want to transfer data from their BIDMC health records to a personal health record such as HealthVault. That data includes demographics, medications, allergies, and problems. BIDMC goes a step further, however. While most commercial personal health records don't provide for exchange of clinician office notes, BIDMC is piloting the exchange of that information through its PatientSite OpenNotes Project.
Halamka sums up this innovation/safety partnership succinctly: "Safety is improved by sharing data between providers and patients, making the patient the steward of their own records. This transparency encourages a dialog about treatment plans, patient care preferences, and the accuracy of data in the medical record."