Health information technology (HIT) has the potential to change patient care in the future, but reality needs to catch up with the aspiration.
Wellness incentives given to doctors could increase adoption of HIT practices. However, before that can happen, doctors and the HIT industry need to quell patient anxiety about the security of their personal health data, and prove the value of the technology in improving their healthcare.
Addressing Patients’ Security Concerns
According to a Black Book survey, 70 percent of the 12,000-plus Americans surveyed distrust HIT practices.
Patients fear that their prescription, mental health and chronic condition information will be shared with retailers, the government and even their employer without their consent.
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Before providers and payers can be incentivized to use HIT, the industry needs to ensure patients that their data will be secure because without their consent it cannot move forward.
A recent Healthcare IT News survey of healthcare executives revealed 52 percent of those surveyed plan to make improvements on HIT security this year.
The commitment to change could be viewed as an incentive from the healthcare industry to get patients and providers on board with a digital standard of care.
First and foremost, healthcare industry leaders cannot mandate a digital standard of care without the security required to ensure that patients and doctors will actually participate in the new system.
Step two involves getting providers and payers to actually engage with HIT. They need to use the technology for it to be effective.
How is this going to be tackled? With incentives.
Payment incentives and technical support coming from federal programs such as Medicare Access and the CHIP Authorization Act will help get physicians up to speed quickly on how to use HIT to improve their standard of care.
Incentives not only make HIT easier to adapt to by ensuring systems work, but they are being endorsed by major players in the industry, which is also an intrinsic incentive for providers to get involved.
Here’s the aspirational outcome: We need steps one and two to get to step three, which is an improved care for patients who are confident in a digital system, and doctors who use that system to communicate with each other and their patients more easily.
The incentives used within the budding health tech industry to make patients comfortable and get doctors active are a means to an important end: better and more transparent patient healthcare.
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