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9/29/2009
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Americans Optimistic On Healthcare IT's Potential

Survey respondents like what they see of healthcare technology but fear there's a lack of trained practitioners.

With proposed legislation for healthcare reform dividing the country, a surprising consensus is emerging on healthcare IT: Most Americans like its promise for improving health care, holding down costs, and increasing access.

Those are some of the conclusions revealed in a broad survey of the U.S. population conducted by Harris Interactive for TechAmerica and the Career College Association.

Healthcare IT covers a broad range of technologies, including electronic medical records, bedside diagnostics, remote monitoring software and devices, and e-prescription systems. HIT also refers to clinical and back office systems at healthcare facilities.

The survey of more than 2,000 respondents found that 75% think "a fully implemented HIT system" will impact healthcare positively, and 64% think it will help control costs.

"Healthcare IT is long overdue, and the people get that," said Career College Association president Harris N. Miller in a statement Tuesday. "We need to get the workforce prepared so that HIT can help healthcare organizations eliminate mistakes, improve coordination and outcomes, and speed services to patients."

The CCA has more than 1600 member organizations, most of which provide adult educational services in the United States. TechAmerica represents 1,500 technology companies.

Most survey respondents--62%--said there's a shortage of educated healthcare workers to use HIT properly. Nearly 45% of the respondents said they're familiar with HIT applications through their doctor, while nearly 60% said they had seen electronic medical records in use.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).

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