IDG Connect, (UK) - The Global IT Series, Part 6: North America

Oklahoma and Arkansas may share a history of cowboys and a common border - but like all of the U.S states they still are very separate. Now Electronic Health Records (EHR) could help bring them closer together....

Last month, when two year old Brody Anderson* became sick while visiting Arkansas his parents took him straight to the doctor and a steroid shot was administered. This action was immediately viewable by his regular doctor back in Oklahoma. The ability to track health across state lines is brand new and could deliver incredible advances in public health.

EHR forms an integral part of Obama's March reform bills. What is more it shows how technology and social change could well go hand in hand in the future. As early as January 2009, the president pledged that every American will have an electronic record by 2014. Now measures are in place to put this plan into action.

New health reform measures represent a bid to use ICT to improve efficiency and administration. This is set to have an impact across the entire technology industry. There is real money behind this: only last week the US Federal Government announced it has allocated $83.9 Million to expand the use of ICT in healthcare delivery. This will be used to improve operational effectiveness and clinical quality for networks of health centres by providing management, financial, technology and clinical support services.

Changes to Medicare are also likely to drive innovation in hospital delivery system and primary care. This is because the health reform law has established a program to pay hospitals based on the quality of their performance. Soon medical professionals will face real pressure to prove all decisions decrease costs while improving quality. The only way to achieve this is through technology which properly measures performance.

Advances in efficiency should also help reduce healthcare fraud across America. This problem is rife; spanning the whole health care value chain: from nefarious interactions between employees and suppliers, right through to large scale insider theft. Smarter systems that generate advanced levels of insight should, at the very least, help weed out these activities and ultimately move resources to areas which really need them.

Revolution is taking place. However, like any public change positives and negatives go hand in hand. Soon medical histories will be electronically stored, shared... and ultimately searchable. This brings the need for maximum IT security and efficiency to the forefront of everyone's attention. The fact is - it makes first class IT more important than ever before!

IDG Connect's series on North America is set to continue throughout the Summer:

  • 29th June -Visibility into 4G Networks, VSS Monitoring, North America
  • 22nd July Green IT, Richard Casselberry, North America
  • 10th August - Systems & Data Governance (BI), Daria Harbrov, North America

Based in North America? What do you think the biggest challenges for your unique region will be over the next 18 months? Please comment below - or if you would like to submit a blog post simply email the editor.

* The Edmond Sun

Read Part 1, Africa
Read part 2, Asia
Read part 3, Australia
Read part 4, Europe
Read part 5, Middle East



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