Health Information Technology and Care Coordination: The Next Big Opportunity for Informatics?

Journal: IMIA Yearbook
ISSN: 0943-4747

Patient-Centered Care Coordination

Issue: 2015: IMIA Yearbook 2015
Pages: 11-14
Ahead of Print: 2015-06-30

Health Information Technology and Care Coordination: The Next Big Opportunity for Informatics?


D. W. Bates

 (1) Division of General Internal Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; (2) Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; (3) Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA


quality, Electronic health records, efficiency, Health information technology, meaningful use, accountable care organization


The costs of care in the U.S. are very high, in part because canre is relatively uncoordinated. To begin to address this and other issues, health care reform was passed, including the notion of accountable care. Under acountable care arrangements, providers are at risk for the costs of the care they provide to groups of patients. Evaluation of costs has made it clear that a large proportion of these costs are in the post-acute setting, and also that many specific problems such as adverse events and unnecessary readmissions occur following transitions. However, the electronic health records of today do not provide a great deal of assistance with the coordination of care, and even the best organizations have relatively primitive systems with respect to care coordination, even though communication is absolutely central to better coordination of care and health information technology (HIT) is a powerful lever for improving communication. This paper identifies specific gaps in care coordination today, presents a framework for better coordinating care using HIT, then describes how specific technologies can be leveraged. Also discussed are the need to build and test specific interventions to improve HIT-related care coordination tools, and the key policy steps needed to accomplish this.

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