Health Care Informatics - Next Steps for "The Health State"

The concept of comprehensive health care data sharing is crucial for effective medical informatics, the study and application of computer technologies to health care. Such information sharing presents immediate and intuitive benefit as well as daunting obstacles that have long been recognized. Individuals and organizations such as physician groups, The Hawaii Health Information Exchange, The Hawaii Medical Association, The Hawaii Health Information Corp., The Hawaii Medical Services Association, private insurers, business groups, state, local and federal government agencies have been working for more than a decade toward achieving the functionality initially presented here in 2003. Since then, technology has continued to evolve, bringing us that much closer to our goal. New information technology developments such as broadband; reliable, affordable Internet access; the development and deployment of electronic medical record systems; the growth of web-based secured services (WSS); and the explosion in biotechnology research and applications have effected a change in the status quo. We are at the tipping point of widespread adoption of electronic medical records which will have far reaching impacts on health care, education, research, and the economic development of our State.

The Healthcare industry is unstable, costs soar, medical errors occur at an unacceptable rate, providers and insurers debate over reimbursement, employers chafe at the cost of health insurance, the rural underserved seek access to specialty care, the economically disadvantaged seek any care at all. Health care information management promotes better health care management overall and can mitigate many of these effects.

Information technology brings a whole spectrum of potential improvements to health care safety, accuracy, and efficiency.

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