Full Integration of IT into Healthcare
We need the full integration of healthcare and IT. Today it’s an optional extra for clinicians, perhaps not surprising, because applications are often little more than jumped up number crunchers that are irksome to use.
However, clinicians do adopt technology—think about surgery, antisepsis, anaesthesia and angioplasty—which leads to changes in practice. But most show a profound lack of interest in information technology. Two trends may change this.
The first, is the general need for IT to help healthcare to become safer and more efficient, economical and patient-centred. This is certain to be a push.
The second, is the general integration of IT into technology and instrumentation—this will become a pull.
In a recent FHIT entry I discussed the da Vinci surgical robot, which is an example of how IT, surgery and instrumentation can integrate. Such integration, together with better sensors and wireless applications, will make IT virtually invisible. Keyboards, cables, terminals and other detritus will be banished from wards to become part of the building infrastructure.
Manufacturers are alert to this second trend. GE Healthcare’s recent merger with IDX is an example of a technological giant acquiring the skills and expertise needed to exploit it.
This pull and push will bring about full integration of IT and healthcare. It’s an exciting time!