Wednesday, December 12, 2007

IT Executives Tout Technology To Transform U.S. Health Care

Representatives of three major IT firms said that consumer technologies could transform U.S. health care and its delivery, Government Health IT reports. The IT executives spoke at a National Cancer Institute-sponsored symposium, called "The Future: Consumer Health Information Technology."

Adam Bosworth, former director of Google Health, said failure to leverage IT has hampered the dissemination of medical research, stunted the growth of evidence-based medicine and focused doctors on sickness rather than keeping patients healthy.

He added that IT could have an immediate impact if the health care model was altered to give patients ownership of their medical data and allow researchers to more easily test new protocols.

Bill Crounse, Microsoft's worldwide health director, said that among advanced nations, the use of health IT in the U.S. ranks among the "worst of the worst."

The United Kingdom spends 10 times as much as the U.S. on health IT, according to Bradford Hesse, chief of the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute.

Bern Shen, chief health care strategist at Intel Digital Health, predicted that technology-enabled health care could move from hospitals and medical centers to the home similar to how computing evolved from mainframes to personal computers.

All the panelists agreed that the Internet in recent years has empowered health care users (Pulley, Government Health IT, 12/11).

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