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How Technology Can Improve the Management of Health Services

February 6, 2008 By

Local and state officials and representatives from the health care IT industry, gathered January 30-31 in Atlanta for their first Health Care IT Summit. The Public Technology Institute (PTI) presented this event with the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). Presentations are archived online.

The goals of the summit were to help bridge the gap between IT practitioners and those responsible for providing health care, to show how technology can be deployed to more effectively manage health services, to help improve the common links between local, state and federal health systems, and to identify and begin to break down some of the existing technology-related barriers that impede the delivery of health services.
Some common themes that came up during the summit:

  • Local governments are the true innovators -- many of the successes in the delivery of health services come from state and local government technology practitioners.
  • A bottom-up approach can help to spur innovation at other agencies and levels of government.
  • Don't do it alone -- look for opportunities for collaboration with other communities, agencies and the private sector.
  • IT is a tool and an asset to help solve a problem. Many in the public health field may view technology with skepticism and dread. All involved need to work together to show the positive impacts that technology can make in improving business processes and ultimately, service to the community.

At the summit, PTI announced the development of the book "Health Care Information Technology: Strategies for State and Local Government." Over the next 12 months, leading officials and industry experts will share their insight and expertise by contributing chapters and real-world examples. The book will be published in the spring of 2009.

The summit ended with the announcement that the PTI Health IT Task Force, made up of government officials and industry leaders, will identify other government-related organizations that PTI will work with to showcase the issue of health IT, and that PTI will convene a second Health IT Summit in early 2009.

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