The Major Differences Between IT and Health IT
December 17, 2013
•General, Health Care
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IT, also known as information technology, is a field that is intertwined in some way with almost every industry. Health IT refers to the particular branch of information technology that relates to health care. There are some big differences between health IT and the general field of IT, and these differences must be understood and accounted for so that patients, providers, and IT professionals can all benefit from health IT systems.
More Security Required
While IT generally needs to be secure, when it comes to health IT security is extremely important because of the sensitive nature of the information that is being passed along through the technology. Electronic health records, also known as EHRs, have to be stored and sent properly over the web so that patient information is kept confidential. Providers that fail to follow the rules and regulations of health IT under the HIPAA could be subject to severe penalties. The United States Department of Health & Human Services has published materials that go over ways that HIPAA privacy regulations apply to health IT.
Direct Link to Revenue Streams
It is true that in a normal IT setting, the effectiveness of these systems has a big impact on how productive a business is, which in turn affects how much revenue it can bring in. However, in a healthcare setting, IT systems that are responsible for medical coding and billing send information to insurance groups so that they can be compensated. This means that if a healthcare IT system is not functioning properly, a practice will not receive what they are supposed to for their services.
More Centralized Regulation
When it comes to health IT, there are certain rules and regulations created by organized groups that govern healthcare providers. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, dictates the way that healthcare professionals have to account for privacy in health IT. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides standards that define the meaningful use of EHRs. There is often less regulation of normal IT systems when compared to healthcare IT.
Information technology continues to advance as time goes on and software and hardware become more sophisticated. The field of health IT is unique because of its regulation and the importance that it places on privacy. Acknowledging these differences can help both IT professionals and healthcare providers successfully attain their goals.