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Health IT experts say data revolution still has a ways to go

11/7/17, 12:00 AM

The digital revolution has swept over health care, as wearable devices, electronic medical records and other computerized innovations have become pervasive. Yet some frustrating connection problems and other technical hiccups have often thwarted the potential payoff of these breakthroughs, with improvements in the quality of care not always as dramatic as one would hope.

That was a central message of experts during two panel discussions at the Health IT Leadership Summit, held Tuesday in the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody.

The metro Atlanta site for the conference reflected the growth of the area, and Georgia in general, as a hub of health care IT. Georgia is home to more than 225 health IT companies, which employ about 26,000 people in the state.

The summit was established in 2010 by the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber and Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Health.

Companies in the industry offer a range of products and services, from electronic health records, medical billing and revenue management to diagnostics, preserving the security of information exchanges, and consumer health information. They may also work with companies like to improve their data management and security. One such company is TQIntelligence, whose CEO, Yared Alemu, told a summit audience, “The digital revolution is unfolding as we speak.”

Technology can help identify chronically ill patients and help with their care, thus lowering these medical costs, he said.

Those electronic connections currently can be “clunky,’’ said Patrick Hammond, CEO of Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare Network. Electronic medical records haven’t delivered on the promise of making the doctor’s world simpler and easier, he said.

Compared to the past, a physician treating a patient “is getting a ton of information” now, but it should be more functional than it is, Hammond said.

11/7/17, 12:00 AM

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