Information Technology is Revolutionizing Healthcare

The healthcare industry has undergone a number of major changes over the decades as researchers constantly make new medical discoveries, but nothing has affected the way that healthcare is approached so profoundly as information technology.

Not surprisingly, the Obama administration has placed a priority on using technology to overhaul America's healthcare system. According to The Wall Street Journal, the 2009 federal stimulus law allocated $19 billion to health care-related IT. The increasing convergence of health care and information technology has businesses and entrepreneurs taking notice.

According to Forbes, even as computers were beginning to become mainstream devices, healthcare professionals envisioned a future where hospitals and physicians offices operated with entirely electronic patient record systems.

The goal was not only to improve efficiency, but to also avoid preventable errors: The Institute of Medicine estimated that 7,000 Americans were dying each year from preventable paper-related prescription errors, Forbes reported.

Although approximately 72 percent of physicians use electronic medical records, according to the Center for Disease Control, there is still plenty of room for growth and improvement, which means there are expanding job opportunities in the IT health care field.

Aside from developing and implementing better electronic medical records, researchers are also creating ways to improve the healthcare industry through another, more recently popular technology: smartphones.

The newest innovation from healthcare researchers is a wireless personal health monitoring system that uses smartphones to upload patient data to the internet. The technology uses sensors placed on the body to communicate patient health information to physicians.

For example, the Wireless Body Area Networks (WBAN) system can monitor diabetes patients using an implanted blood glucose sensor and insulin pump, compiling data to determine exactly how much insulin should be released.

The researchers hope that implementing technology such as WBAN will give physicians and patients more effective and inexpensive solutions to health care, according to HealthTech Zone. Of course, this is just one component of what is sure to be a flood of innovations in the industry.

The constant need for improved patient care means that the intertwining of the information technology and health care fields is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, providing numerous opportunities for IT graduates to put their skills to practical use.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online bachelor's and master's degree programs in IT. To find out more, please visit our website at

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