The Health Information Revolution
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Healthcare quality improvement is an economic and moral necessity. The transformation, which is needed to improve productivity and effectiveness, will rely on computer interoperability to deliver information when and where required, support soundly-based decision-making, eliminate unnecessary repetition, reduce delays and avoid errors.
Interoperability is one of the core themes of the US Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan, which states: “to effectively exchange health information, health IT systems and products must use consistent, specific data and technical standards.”
Health interoperability has been given a massive impetus in the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) initiative, which encapsulates in its name the economic and clinical necessities for healthcare IT. The nominal focus is to deliver the promise of an interoperable electronic healthcare record (EHR) for all Americans by 2014, but the real goal is to improve value for money (Blumenthal 2009).