News | Published January 18, 2013

Transforming healthcare through information technology

As the current U.S. healthcare system is on the brink of change, a major component of that transformation is the existence and utilization of robust information technology. At Mount Nittany Health, the future goal is to provide a seamless flow of patient-centric information in order to perform state-of-the-art clinical care, utilizing best practice guidelines in both medicine and informatics. While immeasurably improving patient outcomes, this will position Mount Nittany Health as a leader in both medical education and community medical care. As Mount Nittany Health aims to become an academic medical facility, this structure will also augment the learning environment, and in turn, provide our medical students with the invaluable educational and practice opportunity of taking part in transforming the way in which patients receive care in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

In addition, Mount Nittany Health is creating a Health Information Exchance (HIE). The HIE is an effort to incrementally build the structure and capabilities necessary for a secure exchange of data with partners and affiliates in the region. The HIE will further enable Mount Nittany Health's providers and patients to access vital clinical information at the time and place it is needed.

Typically, an individual's health information is stored in many different places across the community - at the doctor's office, at the pharmacy, at the hospital, at the insurance company. However, each set of data is owned and used by that particular place and historically the computer systems do not communicate well with one another. Standardized information exchance, with privacy and security protections, makes it easier for healthcare providers to share relevant patient information and for public health professionals to identify emerging public health concerns and threats. This also makes portable health records more likely and easily achievable. Mount Nittany Health's HIE will also communicate with other regional and national HIEs to bring together health plans, doctors, hospitals, medical students, consumers, public agencies, researchers, policy leaders, and others around a common vision: the use of information technology to make healthcare safer and more efficient.