1.) Use of patient care technologies to deliver and enhance care
Electronic Health Records (EHRs), devices (blood glucose monitors, vital signs monitors, EKG monitors, etc.) that interface with electronic health records, technology that allows minimally invasive, more efficient surgeries - all these are examples of patient care technology, and there are many more - basically, technology that makes it possible for the caregivers on the front-lines to provide high quality, safe, resource-efficient, and time-efficient care.
The portion of the EHR that is utilized for patients in the Surgery and Emergency Departments enhance efficiency by way of tracking patients in various stages or locations of care (tracking boards). Some places track equipment like IV pumps and poles and other monitoring and care devices and equipment as well using a similar concept. This minimizes pilferage, wastage, and overstocking on inventory. The EHR makes it possible for multiple care providers to access the health record simultaneously, and gain access to as well as to input information that is vital for patient safety (like histories, assessments, allergies, progress) as well as to document care provided.
2.) Communication technologies to integrate and coordinate care
Authenticated connectivity enables off-site providers to gain access to hospital EHRs remotely. Within the record, caregivers have access to view each others' documentation. Patients can access their results and such via channels commonly referred to as 'patient portals.' At transition of care from the hospital to the community, the patient's record can be transmitted to their primary physician or other physicians of the patient's choosing in the community. All various examples of communication technology that helps to plug the holes in communication among caregivers as well as between caregivers and patients.
3.) Data Management to analyze and improve outcomes of care
This brings to mind reports formulated, written, and monitored for various core measures sets and other such areas of care, where analyzing the existing state of affairs helps teams formulate evidence-based plans and set goals to improve care outcomes, and gather data to demonstrate the measurable difference between the before and after states. Also useful in meeting regulatory reporting and requirements.
4.) Health Information Management for Evidence-based care & health education
Closely related to the data analysis discussed in point 3 above. The quality and extent of the 'evidence' measured and/gathered can vary from a single institution to a health system to a county or state or region or nation and so on. Once best practices are established based on evidence that is deemed adequate, they can be pivotal in helping to drive improvements in patient care as well as serve as the foundation upon which health care education should be based.
5.) Facilitation and use of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) to improve patient care
Like I mentioned earlier, the value of the EHR lies in its ability to provide better, safer, high-quality care using the least time and resources (money, equipment, supplies, personnel) in a manner that would have been impossible with the paper and pen processes. The vision for the future is a highly interoperable (where data can be seamlessly transferred between different systems) health information exchange or network with the goal of enhancing timely access to potentially life-saving health information as well as curbing the highly rampant wastage of resources resulting from fraud as well as duplication of care and services.