Information Technology and the future of Healthcare

24 June 2014

by Ioannis Konstantinidis

Speaking about healthcare we always aim at making an optimal decision, hence the individuals ought to be fully informed about the price, quantity and quality of any good or service. Especially during periods of crisis, given our budget constraints, we cannot afford everything due to scarcity of resources. The question is how we choose which resources to spend on what and how effective and affordable is our Healthcare system. To answer this question, information is vital. In practice, however, there are various informational problems Before the Healthcare information age, consumers/patients were relying on their doctor’s suggestions. Nowadays, as patients are coming up on the learning curve, the relationship between patients and their physicians is rapidly turning into a partnership.

Pricing and performance, data about patients and their own body, clinical trials results and aims, is vital to be known before taking a decision as a patient or physician. Healthcare is organized around professionals trained on medicine and in general sciences that are not open to the average-educated patient. Hence, asymmetric information is a phenomenon that is always present. Asymmetric information encompasses situations where buyers and sellers have different levels of information. The world of Health IT supplied Healthcare with speeded-up solutions, and time containments always mean less cost.

There are plenty implementations of IT into healthcare already being used. A face-to-face interaction with your doctor in order to skip queues, some friendly to the user smartphone applications and new self-diagnoses systems are among the innovative means that introduce this new era of IT and Healthcare being combined. An application is able to turn cell phones into wearable tools that allow vital-sign recording, activity logging, heart-rhythm tracing and many other forms of in-depth physical examination, while avoiding waiting lists, solving the problem of accessibility and saving time for the proper registrations.

Thus, time and sources containments, as well as less workload for the medical staff are only the first positive outcomes using IT in Healthcare. Monitoring vital-sign recordings have a dramatic impact to the hospitalization rates. IT will contribute to the vision that we have to be considered as ‘patients’ before going to the hospitals. The prevention, through 3D scanning of our bodies and disease-detector pills, will be the ultimate solution for longer-living and productive citizens.

Looking at the future, the roles of patient and the preventive citizen are equal and similar. New notion borders of privacy, will give the computers access to more information. The utilization of IT will not be limited around billing and scheduling, laboratory result reporting, and diagnostic instrument systems. An era with better quality reviews and more utilization studies to manage the business aspects of health care. A new period of healthcare where our data will be used for societal purposes, such as medical research, public health management, social service and welfare system management. IT on Healthcare will prevent frauds, will ensure the law enforcement and will secure the licensing for professions, such as airline pilots, and will determine life insurance eligibility. The invention of the Gutenberg press machine liberated the human mind. IT will be for consumers and states an important apparatus to take control of the future of healthcare, and bring the unprecedented era of medical progress sooner to our daily lives.

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