Medical IT in the era of Obama

The inauguration of the 44th US President is around the corner, and with it comes a new promise to fix what’s broken, as all incoming presidents do.  In the case of President-elect Obama, the biggest item on the table is to get the economy moving again, and one of those things is the implementation of ‘new’ technology within the health-care industry, getting medical records ‘online’, most likely in a nationalized database.  The last time I went to the doctor, they had a laptop in the room and the nurse practitioner that saw me for my lingering cold turned sinus infection could see my records and send in my prescription to the exact pharmacy I wanted, within seconds.  I thought this was pretty cool, even in my line of work.  This is what every doctor’s office and emergency room should have.

The greatest part of the upcoming stimulus plan is that it has huge net gains for everyone involved.  It will build a better infrastructure in the medical community, records will be at hand rather than scattered around on millions of pieces of paper.  If you head into a hospital while on vacation for some mystery illness you’ll have the same medical history available as  the MP that you’ve been seeing.  Not only will the benefit be to you but after initial start-up costs, it should save the health-care industry billions of dollars a year.   Of course you’ll need qualified medical IT people in programming, networking, security, and support.  This will spark up some medical IT jobs, whether it’s simple data entry or more specialized networking and security, along with those who are good at working with the medical staff to teach them how to use the new systems.

The interesting part about how all of this will work is the fact that these applications will nearly always have to be a web based system.  With data access being necessary everywhere from any location, I can’t even imagine the amount of work that is going to go into the applications themselves but the security systems as well.  Could you imagine thousands of medical websites being accessed constantly?  The amount of legal and malicious access would be tremendous.   Luckily that won’t be my job, though every day I have to be concerned about that on a smaller scale  with our medical websites group.