Health IT has revamped our healthcare systems. IT solutions are now engaged in strengthening the foundations of our healthcare infrastructure. IT is gradually picking up pace to integrate the economy from the forefront.  Medical practices in underserved communities will continue to face challenges if they are unable to adopt IT in healthcare. Not only corporate, but also stand-alone small and mid-size hospitals have woken up to the adoption of hospital information systems (HIS) making it an integral part of hospital management. Similarly, electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health re-cords (EHR) are making their way into the hospitals, albeit at a slow pace.

While both EHR and EMR refer electronic version of records, EMR is limited to a specific institution or a group of institutions, while EHR relates to a common platform that will allow disparate institutions in the private and government sector to share medical charts electronically. Similarly, mHealth pro-vides great benefits to patient through a system of medicine reminders and appointment reminders, conducting research on confusing symptoms or connecting to systems such as iPath to ask for assis-tance in diagnosis. It enables last mile communication with the patients, who gain access health to all kinds of information.

The complexity of the current healthcare delivery system is the biggest bottleneck for communication among caregivers. It results in fragmentation of patient care. To address these issues, hospitals across the world, are now implementing processes to facilitate clinical integration in an effort to improve patient care and safety. Clinical informatics, including image storage in PACS, represents a tool by which clinical integration can be accomplished. It leads to the creation of a seamlessworking envi-ronment.

To gain an insight into the present scenario for IT in healthcare, and the future prospects of the industry, we have conducted a nationwide health IT survey.  The respondents are concerned that there exists a huge digital divide in healthcare sector in India. In response to concerns, some panels have recommended relaxing certain standards and easing of the implementation of timeframes for rural facilities.

The current issue of eHealth covers key health IT segments such as hospital information systems, electronic medical records, radiology information systems, picture archiving and communication systems, mHealth, telemedicine, and technology in health insurance.
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Related April 2012