How emerging technologies will build on IT successes to improve care

The widespread adoption of health IT offers the potential to move beyond the basics and harness emerging technologies to improve individual care and population health, according to a new issue brief from The Center for Health Affairs.

Health IT offers more than just the storage, retrieval, sharing and use of healthcare data for decision making, according to an announcement.

"Technology's greatest strength has long been its ability to build upon itself, which makes the future of healthcare so promising ... If history is any indication of the future, technology will continue to push the healthcare industry to new heights; which means greater efficiencies for providers and a more personalized, effective system for patients," the brief states.

It points to several health IT opportunities, including self-tracking--with increasingly smaller devices. Google is testing a "smart contact lens," for example, that can monitor a diabetic's glucose level every second.

Self-tracking enables patients to take control of their own health--and that will become the norm, the brief says. These innovations will be tweaked along the way to ensure the data not only can be collected, but used effectively.

Another opportunity: using genomics to develop the most effective treatment based on the patient's individual characteristics and improve treatment for groups with similar characteristics

And it's imperative that these new healthcare technologies integrate into the larger national structure, it says. The paper urges stakeholders to embrace change and to work both inside their organizations and in the larger healthcare community to facilitate it.

To learn more:
- find the issue brief
- read the announcement

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