Patient-centered IT tools improve outcomes

Health IT applications geared toward patient-centered care actually do have a positive impact on patient outcomes, in an assessment of several hundred articles examining their effectiveness by the Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center. Researchers conducted the review, published this month, on behalf of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Researchers reviewed data from 327 total articles in eight different databases. Despite concluding that "significant evidence exists confirming the positive impact on healthcare outcomes of health IT applications having PCC-related components," the researchers also said that not enough evidence exists to guide hospitals and health systems in their use of such technology.

"Much more research is needed … to determine the extent to which health IT interventions will enhance the delivery of PCC and improve clinical outcomes for patients with different types of clinical conditions," the researchers said. "More research also is needed to give healthcare providers better information on how to weigh the value of health IT applications for promoting PCC relative to the investment of resources needed."

Patient-centered care is a goal of recent genomics efforts in healthcare that focus on treating individual patients as opposed to just treating their ailments. What's more, researchers increasingly have been looking to create predictive models for treatment, primarily with patient-centered care in mind.

In a commentary published earlier this year, Ken Terry said he believes the key to patient-centered care taking off is physicians convincing patients of the benefits of its related technologies.

To learn more:
- here's the AHRQ report (.pdf)

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