How Information Technology Can Be a Competitive Advantage in Healthcare

New book reveals Cleveland Clinic’s successful IT model

In just 30 years, information technology (IT) has profoundly changed healthcare. Electronic medical records, online second opinions, real-time virtual visits, eHospital critical care monitoring — it’s just the beginning of how IT systems are enhancing healthcare delivery in the 21st century, says C. Martin Harris, MD, MBA, Chief Information Officer at Cleveland Clinic.

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Dr. Harris has been at the forefront of integrating advanced technology and compassionate patient care at Cleveland Clinic for 20 years. Under his leadership, Cleveland Clinic became one of the largest academic medical centers in the world to adopt electronic medical records across the enterprise. He then led efforts to make those records accessible to patients, empowering people to take more control of their own healthcare.

Dr. Harris shares that journey in his new book, IT’s About Patient Care: Transforming Healthcare Information Technology the Cleveland Clinic Way, co-edited by Gene Lazuta, Senior Director of Strategic Communication in Cleveland Clinic’s Division of Information Technology.

Four benefits of healthcare IT

IT’s About Patient Care reveals Cleveland Clinic’s proven model of healthcare IT and demonstrates how it powers the No. 2 U.S. health system’s clinical and business engine. Go behind the scenes to see how Cleveland Clinic caregivers have executed their IT strategy in a working environment and how patients have benefitted.

Learn how your practice can do the same, using IT to:

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  1. Collaborate with patients. Track and monitor patients’ progress and communicate with them any time, anywhere.
  2. Coordinate multiple caregivers and care teams. Build a network of communication among healthcare professionals, across disciplines, in different locations, that are caring for the same patient. Integrate various IT systems into a fully functioning network.
  3. Optimize electronic medical records. Quickly pull up and share patient histories, test results and other essential data to provide timely care. Expand real-time access to clinical data and research.
  4. Gain a competitive advantage. Enable live chats, virtual visits and online second opinions. Create user-friendly websites and build a social media strategy that engages patients and caregivers.

What’s next: The internet of healthcare

“Long before the Affordable Care Act catalyzed a digital revolution in healthcare, Dr. Harris and his colleagues at Cleveland Clinic were leading the way in technology-enabled, integrated, patient-centric care designed to deliver optimal clinical outcomes,” says Dana Mead, a strategic advisor at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “IT’s About Patient Care leverages these experiences to provide a uniquely informed view of what’s next in Healthcare IT.”

According to Dr. Harris, IT will remain key to making high-quality healthcare more affordable and accessible at Cleveland Clinic and medical practices around the world. He predicts an “Internet of Healthcare” — a virtual network of clinicians, educators, medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, insurance providers and other medical industry stakeholders.

“The future of healthcare is on your computer, your phone, your tablet, your network and the World Wide Web,” says Dr. Harris. “By connecting patients with caregivers ― and caregivers with each other ― we will be better equipped to diagnose conditions, recommend treatments and monitor patients in ways that weren’t possible 10 years ago.”

About the “Cleveland Clinic Way”

IT’s About Patient Care was published by McGraw-Hill Education as part of the Cleveland Clinic Way series. Other books in the series include:

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Books in the Cleveland Clinic Way series are available for purchase in print or eBook at or wherever books are sold.

Learn to become a physician leader with Cleveland Clinic Global Executive Education programs, including The Cleveland Clinic Way: IntensivesSamson Global Leadership Academy and the Executive Visitors’ Program.