Just last month, I was at my doctor’s office for a routine checkup. Thankfully there were no needles involved with my visit, and in fact, I was in and out in less than 20 minutes. What struck me about my experience was how efficient and smooth everything was. When the doctor walked into the exam room, he had instant access to my medical history on the screen. When he took my blood pressure, the cuff was linked to the database to automatically record the information. And finally, when it came to a prescription, a simple series of clicks and I was told my medication would be waiting for me at my local pharmacy.
Obviously, none of this would be possible without the innovation that is occurring in the healthcare industry. My experience was just the tip of the iceberg. From Electronic Medical Records (EMR), to mHealth, to telemedicine initiatives, the adoption of technology is fundamentally changing how care providers operate day to day, and more importantly, improving the quality of patient care.
When you pause to think about these new care models, it’s worth considering everything that has to happen in order for this to work. My personal information and health history has to be stored and transmitted on-demand in a safe and secure fashion. The applications have to be easy to use, totally resilient, and any information must have complete integrity. For IT professionals, everything has to be working in concert – from the device, to the application, and of course, to the network.
This level of coordination is no accident. That’s why next week more than 35,000 healthcare information technology experts will meet together during the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference gathered around a single focus. That focus is improving the way our healthcare system uses technology to improve the kind of care we all receive.
So next time I visit the doctor’s office, I am sure that I’ll continue to marvel at how technology is being used to improve my experience. And since I don’t think they’ve figured out how to virtualize a needle, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for good health.