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Health Information Technology Model

The health information technology (HIT) model involves the use of technology to improve care. HIT can be used in conjunction with other care coordination program models, such as Accountable Care Organizations, to support care coordination by:

  • Facilitating the relationship between patients, care coordinators, and healthcare providers
  • Improving communication among healthcare providers, beyond the boundaries of a single organization
  • Giving providers and patients accessible, actionable, and timely information
  • Providing clinical decision support
  • Helping providers to make appointments, recall instructions, review discharge plans and medical records, manage their medications, and provide health coaching
  • Facilitating patient care transitions from hospital to home
  • Engaging patients in their healthcare

HIT includes a multitude of tools and technologies, including the following:

  • Electronic health records (EHR): An electronic version of an individual patient's medical history that includes clinical information such as demographics, medications, conditions, vital signs, immunizations, laboratory data, and radiology reports.
  • Patient registries and chronic disease management systems (CDMS): Support population-level analysis and reporting to manage the health of specific populations and identify populations eligible for programs and services, including health homes.
  • Telehealth: The use of technology to provide long-distance clinical healthcare, health education, public health services, and health administration. Telehealth may also include remote patient monitoring, wherein patients collect and transmit clinical data (e.g., blood pressure) to providers.
  • Health information exchange (HIE): Facilitates electronic data-sharing among organizations and can enable care coordination, referrals, and care transitions. HIEs may also facilitate information exchange between clinical and social service providers.
  • Prescription assistance programs: Software that can be used to streamline the process of finding low cost or no cost medicines for chronically ill, low income patients.
  • Electronic resource directories: A tool that may contain information about clinics in rural areas that are accepting new patients and physicians who have discounted fee schedules, for example.
  • Patient portals: Provide patients with secure, 24-hour access to their health information from any location with an internet connection. They can facilitate communication and coordination between clinical providers and patients by allowing patients to schedule appointments, email their providers, review their benefits, and make payments.
  • Personal health records (PHRs): A computer-based record of a patient's medical information that patients can manage. PHRs allow patients to view their medical information in one place, schedule appointments, refill prescriptions, and communicate with their providers. PHRs can be a standalone system, connected to a single provider's EHR, or connected to multiple providers' information systems.

More about this model:

Resources to Learn More

Health IT Tools and Resources
Website
This portal contains tools describing and recommending strategies for addressing some of the common challenges organizations encounter when working with HIT systems.
Organization(s): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Improve Care Coordination
Website
A discussion of how HIT, especially electronic health records, can be leveraged to improve care coordination.
Organization(s): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

ONC Implementation Support for Critical Access Hospitals and Other Small Rural Hospitals
Website
Resources from government agencies, private sector partners, and grantees that can be used by rural and critical access hospitals to guide HIT implementation.
Organization(s): Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

HIT Toolkit for Critical Access and Small Hospitals
Website
This toolkit provides organizations with tools, tested in the Critical Access Hospital environment, to aid in planning for and making informed choices for HIT.
Organization(s): Stratis Health

Using Health IT for Care Coordination Across Inpatient and Outpatient Settings
Video/Multimedia
This webinar focuses on using HIT to help coordinate care among outpatient and inpatient safety net providers.
Organization(s): Health Resources and Services Administration
Date: 6/2012

AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange: Personal Health Records
Website
This website provides an overview of personal health records, case studies of providers and community-based organizations implementing PHR systems, and PHR tools.
Organization(s): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality