Strategic uses of information technology in health care: a state-of-the-art survey.
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The general perception that the use of information technology (IT) in health care is ten to fifteen years behind IT in other industrial sectors such as banking, manufacturing, and airline is rapidly changing. Health care providers, faced with an unprecedented era of competition and managed care, are now exploring the opportunities for using IT to improve the quality while simultaneously reducing the cost of health care. A revolution is taking place in the health care industry, with IT playing an increasingly important role in its delivery. In recent years, for example, the industry spent approximately $12 billion to $14 billion a year on IT. Further exponential growth is expected as the health care industry implements electronic medical records, upgrades hospital information systems, sets up intranets for sharing information among key stakeholders, and uses public networks, such as the Internet, for distributing health-related information and for providing remote diagnostics. Along with these drastic changes and the new approach to health care, the field of health/medical informatics and telematics has also experienced significant growth in the last few years. This article identifies and surveys the critical information technologies that are being adopted to provide strategic benefits to the various health care constituencies including hospitals and health maintenance organizations (HMOs).
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