Health IT (information technology) is the area of IT involving the design, development, creation, use and maintenance of information systems for the healthcare industry. It is defined by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) as “the application of information processing involving both computer hardware and software that deals with the storage, retrieval, sharing, and use of health care information, data, and knowledge for communication and decision making.”
Automated and interoperable healthcare information systems are expected to lower costs, improve efficiency and reduce error, while also providing better consumer care and service.
The PCMH Model holds that primary care should be accessible, continuous, and comprehensive care. Healthcare system cost-savings goals are defeated if patients aren’t able to have timely or after-hours access to their primary care doctor and so turn to the ER instead, or let conditions worsen to the point where it will take more time and resources to restore the patient’s health. With health information technology, patients and physicians can adopt alternative means of communications, such as email, telephone, text messaging, or teleconferencing to communicate outside of the office.