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Health Information Technology Adoption in California Community Health Centers Essay

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Updated: Jun 17th, 2022

California has a robust health information technology (HIT) landscape, which consequently facilitates the adoption and implementation of the electronic health records (EHR) and health information exchange (HIE). Despite the federal government’s investment in EHRs and HIE through the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act over the last decade, state and private organizations have also attempted to develop initiatives to supplement the digital healthcare infrastructure through CHCs – community health centers (Kim et al., 2015). As a result, healthcare settings within California have experienced the considerable integration of health information technology into their day-to-day practices.

Between 2008 and 2015, 97% of the state hospitals and 73% of clinicians adopted EHRs in California (“Health IT data summaries,” n.d.). As of 2017, 24% and 63% of the hospitals and office-based physicians in California, respectively, offered electronic capabilities to their clients (“Health IT data summaries,” n.d.). However, statistics pointed at heterogeneity in the HIE vendor use. A cross-study of 322 Californian hospitals in 2016 revealed that Cerner Corporation was the most popular vendor (35.4%), followed by Epic Systems Corporation (27.02%), while Allscripts was the least sort after (8.07%) (“Health IT data summaries,” n.d.). This was indicative of the potential interoperability challenges that would undermine efficient exchanges.

The electronic sharing of prescriptions plays a significant role in improving healthcare safety by minimizing or averting medication errors during clinical practice. According to the Health IT Dashboard database, there has been a considerable increase in the number of office-based physicians using Surescripts Network for medication prescriptions between 2011 and 2013 – 38%, 45%, and 56%, respectively (“Health IT data summaries,” n.d.). This is indicative of the continued acceptance of this technology in clinical practice. California’s HIE program also has individual isolated projects within the more extensive system designed to achieve specific goals to ensure the state’s overall health improvement. Some of these programs include the Beacon Community Program Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP), and the Workforce Program.

Improving the interoperable sharing of health data across the continuum of care has been identified as a national priority. The monitoring of electronic health information exchange among care professionals and hospitals is thus deemed crucial in ascertaining countrywide progress on interoperability and exchange. As of 2017, 87% of non-governmental acute care settings sent patient data, 78% received this information, and 62% and 54% found and integrated this data electronically (“Health IT data summaries,” n.d.). 21% of the state’s office-based providers sent patient data electronically, 30% received it, and 23% percent integrated it (“Health IT data summaries,” n.d.). Regarding the dissemination of e-health data among the state’s physicians, 21% and 30% sent and received clients’ information electronically (“Health IT data summaries,” n.d.). Measures that aim to promote this technology’s adoption should be incorporated by the state to improve the ease of practice.

Enhancing patients’ access to clinical data promotes significant surges in patient engagement in health management practices and triggers improved health outcomes. In California, around 24% and 67% of non-governmental acute care settings and office-based doctors (successively) offered electronic capabilities to their clients in 2017 (“Health IT data summaries,” n.d.). Irrespective of this approach’s significant implementation levels, strategies that aim to enforce this practice should be encouraged further.

As revealed by evidence, the Californian community has greatly welcomed the HIE and EHR policies, with a large proportion of providers adopting the programs. In a broader context, the EHR and HIE were established to improve healthcare through information exchanges. However, in collaboration with the various healthcare settings, the state can implement strategies to improve the adoption of HIT in clinical practice to ensure the efficiency and quality of care delivery. What is not worthy, though, is the considerable invariant sourcing of system vendors. It preludes to interoperability complexes and makes one wonder what impact different HIE software vendors pose on the homogeneity of data share and healthcare information accessibility by the broader community.

References

Health IT data summaries (n.d.). The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Web.

Kim, K. K., Rudin, R. S., & Wilson, M. D. (2015). . The American Journal of Managed Care, 21(12), e677 – e683.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Health Information Technology Adoption in California Community Health Centers'. 17 June.

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