Technology once thought to be unattainable in health care is now within reach, and "Big Data" is here to stay.
The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology defines health information technology (HIT) as “the application of information processing involving both computer hardware and software that deals with the storage, retrieval, sharing, and use of health care information, data, and knowledge for communication and decision making.” Much like social media, sharing health information across platforms is fast becoming the norm. Technology once thought to be unattainable in health care is now within reach, and “Big Data” is here to stay. As an entrepreneur on the forefront of health communications, this is an exciting time to be in the health care industry.
Providing high-quality, affordable health care is the goal across the globe, and innovations that address this issue are created every day. All stakeholders want to make health care more affordable and more accessible, and maximize the potential of Big Data. The emphasis is on value; namely, value for the patient. Innovators need to demonstrate this value to all stakeholders. Each article highlighted in this issue addresses a specific solution that leads to better patient outcomes. One such example is telehealth, a cost-saving way to use telecommunications and informatics technology to expand health care outside the walls of the pharmacy and into the community.
This issue of Directions in Pharmacy also explains how the interoperability of HIT will help in the collection, documentation, and exchange of data on pharmacist-provided patient care services among other health care providers, patients, and payers, and how technological upgrades will change the way pharmacists practice. Since accurate analysis of Big Data is a must in today’s business environment, this issue contains an article on the importance of Big Data and its relationship with pharmacy. Let’s not forget the social media component in all of this: there is a growing movement to leverage the capabilities of social media and gamification for health care, and in this issue we address their roles as new members on the health care team.
We are at the forefront of this vital and changing industry, and as the leading provider for health care information, we are proud to bring you a taste of what’s to come. Thanks for reading!
Chairman and CEO