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10/5/2010
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9 Ways Health IT Improves Patient Care

The HITECH legislation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is allocating more than $20 billion to push for the adoption of health IT nationwide, including e-health records and e-prescription systems. Health IT can boost patient's quality of care by reducing medical errors, improving clinical decision making and helping to eliminate redundant and unnecessary tests and costs. Health IT, including automated systems that check for adverse drug interactions, allergies, and confirm patient I
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Doctors can use mobile devices, such as smartphones and laptops to electronically send prescriptions to pharmacies. E-prescribing applications allow doctors to check on patient's medication history, allergies, potential adverse interaction with other drugs, as well as insurance eligibility and formularies.

Some doctors and hospitals are already deploying some of those systems, as well as other technologies not specifically highlighted in ARRA’s HITECH Act “meaningful use” programs, but can contribute to improved patient safety and better efficiencies nonetheless. Those include radio frequency ID, or RFID, robotics and mobile devices. An often quoted report by the Institute of Medicine, “To Err is Human” published nearly 10 years ago estimated that up to 98,000 Americans die each year due to preventable medical mistakes. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, the possibility for thousands more preventable mishaps soars unless healthcare providers and patients take action.

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