In this report, ITIF Senior Analyst Daniel Castro identifies which countries are leading in the deployment of health IT and highlights lessons that might be useful for other countries. The first section of the report gives an overview of the current state of and trends in health IT adoption in the United States and several other developed countries, particularly focusing on Denmark, Finland and Sweden. The second section of the report identifies the factors that have led to success in these countries and the lessons that can be learned by other nations to drive health IT adoption. Finally, the report concludes with specific recommendations for policymakers to jumpstart progress on health IT in the United States.
Digital Quality of Life: Understanding the Benefits of the IT Revolution
In the new global economy information technology (IT) is the major driver of both economic growth and improved quality of life. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) in its 2007 report Digital Prosperity: Understanding the Economic Benefits of the Information Technology Revolution documented how IT, since the mid-1990s, has been the principal driver of increased economic growth not only in the United States but also in many other nations. However, IT is also at the core of dramatic improvements in the quality of life for individuals around the world. In our new report, we show how IT is the key enabler of many, if not most, of today’s key innovations and improvements in our lives and society—from better education and health care, to a cleaner and more energy-efficient environment, to safer and more secure communities and nations.
Table of Contents
Part I – The Digital Information Revolution
- 1. Why is the Digital Information Revolution So Powerful?
- 2. Why is the Information Revolution Happening Now?
- 3. Public Policy Principles for Driving Digital Quality of Life
Part II – Improving the Lives of Individuals
- 4. Education and Training
- 5. Health Care
- 6. Personal Safety
- 7. Accessibility for People with Disabilities
- 8. Recreation and Entertainment
- 9. Access to Information
Part III – Improving our World
- 10. Environment
- 11. Energy
- 12. Transportation
- 13. Public Safety
- 14. Government
- 15. Communities
- 16. Developing Countries
Part IV – Challenges Moving Forward
Improving Health Care: Why a Dose of IT May Be Just What the Doctor Ordered
Information technology (IT) is a major driver of innovation and economic growth. Health IT promises to revolutionize health care by improving the quality and containing the costs of care. For the American health care system to benefit from advances in IT, it must adopt electronic health records (EHRs). An EHR contains the complete medical history of a patient, including a full listing of illnesses, laboratory tests, treatments, drugs administered, and allergies.
Health IT is not just about merely digitizing medical records to create a paperless office, although doing this will achieve considerable savings-it is also about fundamentally transforming the health care system so that both doctors and patients have access to information and tools that allow them to better manage their care. This new IT-enabled model of health care has the potential to improve preventive health care and chronic disease management and reward medical practices with financial incentives for effective and efficient care. It has the potential to give health care researchers the data they need to identify and deliver best practice care and continuously improve the quality of health care. Finally, health IT has the potential to empower consumers to better understand and manage their own health care conditions, needs, and treatments.
This paper explores the benefits of using information technology in the health care sector, such as reduced medical costs, improved medical care, and increased access to personal health information. It then reviews the obstacles that have prevented the widespread adoption of EHRs and proposes a number of policy recommendations to speed adoption. Specifically, the paper discusses the benefits of establishing independent health record data banks as a sustainable and market-based approach to implementing EHRs. ITIF also recommends other methods to leverage federal resources to speed EHR adoption.