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Slow adoption in healthcare by Elizabeth Morales

The Internet is a major agent of change, with information technology poised to transform the nation's health system. The automation of clinical, financial, and administrative transactions is crucial for enhancing healthcare quality, efficiency, and consumer confidence. Particularly, the Internet can bring a significant transformation in the nation's health system. It facilitates real-time data sharing, remote medical consultations, clinical information databases, and reliable health information access, resulting in a reduction of medical errors.

Although communications and informational technology have great potential to improve healthcare quality, its accessibility, and costs, the industry has been slow to adopt these advancements. In 1996, the healthcare industry spent only $543 per worker on information technology, compared to $12,666 per worker spent by securities brokers. Health care ranked 38th among 53 industries surveyed in terms of information technology investment, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce in the year 2000.

Healthcare delivery hasn't been as transformed as other aspects of society. Clinical information is, most of the time, still stored in poorly organized paper records. Most patients don't have access to the emails of their caregivers, and payment to providers is based on face-to-face visits. Existing systems lack automation, computerization, integration, and data entry support, causing a variety of medical errors.

The lack of national standards for health information technology and privacy concerns are major due to its widespread use, as highlighted by the Work Group on Computerization of Patient Records (2000). While regulatory requirements like HIPAA have been put in place to protect patient privacy, without national commitment and financial support for building a national health information infrastructure progress in this area will be slow.

1.National Academies Press (US). “Challenges Facing the Health System and Implications for

Educational Reform.” Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality - NCBI

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