Health IT is one of the keys to improving the quality of care provided under the U.K.'s National Health Service, according to a commentary published in The Guardian newspaper's Health Innovation Hub.
A recent review of 14 NHS hospital trusts found that infrastructure and technology must be upgraded to support quality improvement efforts, writes Orlando Agrippa, associate director of business informatics at Colchester Hospital University NHS Trust.
"A number of the smallest and largest provider and commissioner organisations have realised that financial, quality, performance and limited time issues can be addressed, in part, through embracing technology," Agrippa wrote. Several NHS organizations "have been transforming the delivery of care and driving down costs through the use of analytics."
Providers and commissioning organizations also must be trained to know how to use data and efficiently utilize their resources, he wrote.
He cited one example in which a hospital's efficient use of technology made it the only hospital among 18 to meet a required standard for timely emergency department care. Another foundation trust uses a quality dashboard to save money while improving patient care, he wrote.
In the Netherlands, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Information Association found that data from electronic health records can be used to assess the quality of care, but first the quality of clinical reporting must be improved.
The problem is that data recorded is often incomplete. Better recording of clinical information will reduced the workload of general practitioners and give them a better overview of patients, the researchers found.