From the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
What Is Health IT?
The term “health information technology” (health IT) refers to the electronic systems health care professionals – and increasingly, patients – use to store, share, and analyze health information. Health IT includes:
- ▪ Electronic health records (EHRs). EHRs allow doctors to better keep track of your health information and may enable them to see it when you have a problem even if their office is closed. EHRs also make it easier for your doctor to share information with specialists, so that specialists who need your information have it available when it’s needed.
- ▪ Personal health records (PHRs). A PHR is a lot like an EHR, except that you control what kind of information goes into it. You can use a PHR to keep track of information from your doctor visits, but the PHR can also reflect your life outside the doctor’s office and your health priorities, such as tracking what you eat, how much you exercise, and your blood pressure. Sometimes, your PHR can link with your doctor’s EHR.
- ▪ Electronic prescribing (E-prescribing). A paper prescription can get lost or misread. E-prescribing allows your doctor to communicate directly with your pharmacy. This means you can go to the pharmacy to pick up medicine without having to bring the paper prescription.
- ▪ Privacy and security. All of these electronic systems can increase the protections of your health information. For example, electronic information can be encrypted so that only authorized people can read it. Health IT can also make it easier to record and track who has accessed your information.
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