I was recently asked to comment on my thoughts about the "Top Medical Advances of the Decade". Clearly, I'm biased towards the Use of Information Technology in Healthcare – but this made me put down my reasons on paper, which was a good exercise. Here is what I wrote:
Although it has not yet met its potential, HIT has created the ability for patients to have the following:
- Widespread health-based communities to develop online, supporting research, care, education and social support
- Online management of health, from ordering medications to tracking blood pressure, to communicating with your physician
- Transparency with respect to quality, cost, and other metrics
For physicians, the age of Electronic medical records is upon us and have an increasingly profound impact on how we as physicians manage patient care. Although not fully adopted yet, there are pockets of excellent use creating improved quality and efficiency – via a combination of better access, improved legibility, point of care decision support and the ability to do retrospective data analysis to support process improvement projects. But there is a long way to go, as robust adoption is still under 10% of physicians, and many implementations still do not show significant care improvements. Future systems need to be easier to use, cheaper to implement, and they need to truly meet the needs of the end-users.
Let's hope the new year and decade brings with it the full potential of all HIT can do!
FYI- Here is the eventual article that was published about these advances. Besides HIT, the other nine were: Human Genome Decoded, Anti-Smoking Laws, Heart Disease drops by 40%, Stem Cell Research, Targeted Cancer Therapies (eg HER-2), HIV Therapy, Minimally Invasive Surgical Techniques, HRT Controversy, and Functional Brain MRIs.