Title

Health Care Information Technology and Provider Accountability: A Symbiotic Relationship

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2000

Editor(s)

Michael Freeman and Andrew Lewis

ISBN

9780198299189

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Language

en-US

Abstract

This chapter first briefly describes the increasing connection between information technology and accountability in the health sector. It then reviews recent legal proceedings in Britain, the USA, and Australia, wherein health care provider accountability was a core issue, and the legal analysis was significantly affected by evidence that information technology can produce. It describes selected examples of health service databases about providers and argues that information technology functions as a powerful stimulus to health care quality improvement. The data this technology is capable of generating have already greatly enhanced the accountability of health service providers, but sometimes in ways that were not entirely expected. Rather than functioning primarily as an aid to third parties in monitoring, improving, and policing the quality of care, US experience demonstrates that information technology turns out to be an equally powerful stimulus to provider self-improvement and quality innovation. Making the fruits of information technology more widely accessible to all can substantially improve overall patient health.

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