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NLM Director’s Comments Transcript
Status of Intelligent Health Information Systems: 01/05/2015
Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov
Regards to all our listeners!
I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff U.S. National Library of Medicine for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Intelligent health information systems (HIT) that assist physicians are accepted in some corners of clinical care but health care provider acceptance might increase with more thoughtful initiatives in clinically useful areas, NLM’s Deputy Director for Research and Education told National Institutes of Health peers in a recent speech.
Milton Corn M.D. acknowledged some clinicians have resisted the routine use of intelligent HIT within medical practice, hospitals, and clinics. Dr. Corn explained some initial intelligent HIT efforts often required time-consuming and duplicate data entry, which turned off busy health care providers.
Dr. Corn added other intelligent HIT programs may not have yielded insightful clinical information, or required clinicians to learn an array of programs dedicated to different diseases and conditions, which sometimes was not perceived as an efficient use of physicians’ time and energy.
Nevertheless, Dr. Corn, the former Dean of Georgetown University School of Medicine, noted intelligent HIT currently is accepted in at least three areas of clinical care and is seen as a valuable contributor within a fourth. For example, Dr. Corn noted robotic surgical tools now assist in operations for: bladder cancer, colorectal cancer, and coronary artery disease.
Second, Dr. Corn explained intelligent HIT is used by providers to assess the technical information provided by clinical indicators in areas such as hyperkalemia (which is a high concentration of calcium in one’s blood).
Third, Dr. Corn noted HIT now enhances the clinical interpretation of information from Magnetic Resonance Imaging — especially in brain images.
Fourth as smart phones, tablets, and watches begin to add software and sensors that gather and send patient health information, Dr. Corn suggested intelligent HIT will be used to help health care providers identify significant clinical patterns. Dr. Corn added intelligent HIT can sift through the personal health data sent to physicians from mobile devices to detect possible clinical problems or health improvements.
Dr. Corn mentioned an expansion of intelligent HIT may be in clinical areas such as: proposing differential diagnoses, helping physicians prioritize which patients need care on the basis of electronic patient records, and providing cost alternatives to clinicians based on available care management options.
Looking further down the road, Dr. Corn noted more medical acceptance of intelligent HIT’s might occur if they address specific clinical needs, such as a search tool that answers patient and provider health questions with clinically-based evidence (to supplement the current capability to provide sources of information). In addition, Dr. Corn explained some physicians might welcome intelligent HIT that provides an insightful summary of a patient’s electronic health record.
Despite a checkered history of physician acceptance, Dr. Corn told about 100 NIH researchers he remains intrigued about the long-term clinical potential of intelligent HIT. Dr. Corn concluded the integration of intelligent HIT into routine health care depends on the quality of the information it provides and ease-of-use for physicians and patients.
Meanwhile, MedlinePlus.gov’s personal health records health topic page provides insights into the use of patient health records, which is a current area of HIT that impacts patients and the public. A link to a helpful website that answers patient questions about personal health records (and their electronic storage) is provided by the American Health Information Management Association within the ‘overviews’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s personal health records health topic page.
A website from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology discusses how to keep health information private and secure within the ‘related issues’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s personal health records health topic page. A website from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research describes telehealth (an HIT tool) within the ‘related issues’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s personal health records health topic page.
MedlinePlus.gov’s personal health records health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the ‘journal articles’ section. You can sign up to receive updates about personal health records as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.
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