Understanding the different types of health information technology

Before deciding to implement health information technology into your practice, it is important to understand exactly what Health IT is and the different types that are offered. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, health information technology is defined as the exchange of health information throughout electronic outlets. The use of health IT was designed to improve the quality of health care, prevent errors, increase the efficiency of administration, reduce costs, and decrease the amount of paperwork used in the practice. Health IT maintains a reputation to ensure the utmost privacy for patients as the information is transmitted into a secured database.

Now that you have a better understanding of the meaning of health information technology, take a closer look at the different types to make certain you understand which would best fit your practice.


Electronic health record

Electronic health records, sometimes known as electronic medical records, are electronic systems that store your health records in place of the paper copy, according to Health IT. The point of the EHR is to give doctors easy access to your health information through a database that allows certain people access to your information even if your immediate doctor’s office is closed.



Sometimes, a paper prescription can easily get lost or even misread if the handwriting isn’t legible. E-prescribing replaces the paperwork by allowing the doctors to communicate directly to the pharmacy through a database. Instead of showing up to pick up a prescription with the piece of paper the doctor wrote, the patient’s pharmacy can just pull up the information on their computer through the database.


Personal health record

According to the Alliance for Health Reform, a personal health record is defined as a record that is “owned” by the individual patient instead of by the providers. This helps a patient keep track of information from visits with the doctor, but it can also help them track their blood pressure, food intake, and exercising routines on their own time to help get a better understanding of their overall health.


Electronic dental records

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, an electronic dental record is simply a dental chart that is available in an electronic database. The point of an EDR is just the same as an EHR, as it is meant to provide the oral health professional with the information necessary to chart electronically instead of using paperwork. The electronic method entails all of the same charting as before, such as procedures, diagnoses, x-ray charts, dental diseases, clinical notes, and more, it just makes collecting all information easier by combining and organizing it all together.


Secure messaging

Secure messaging is the communication system that allows patients and providers to transmit personal and medical information through a streamlined database. It basically entails the same direction as email does, but it is under higher protection and privacy. This allows the provider and the patient more convenience to communicate on a regular basis without worrying if they can fit it into each other’s schedule.

It’s crucial to find an EHR solution that offers the best workflow options for your practice and can optimize everything that pertains to your specialty.

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