Health Care Industry Proves Slow to Get on Info Highway

By Paulson, Tom | THE JOURNAL RECORD, February 15, 1995 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Health Care Industry Proves Slow to Get on Info Highway


SEATTLE _ A woman, at home in front of the family's multimedia screen, calls up a medical clinic to ask about her child's allergic reaction.

A nurse appears on the screen, interviews the mother and child about symptoms, disappears briefly from the screen and then returns. The physician has confirmed the recommended treatment and a prescription order is filled.

The nurse also notes that the woman's records indicate she's overdue for a mammogram. An appointment is scheduled.

A physician encounters a man in a parking lot suffering from severe chest pains. He pulls a cellular phone and lap-top computer from his car and _ with the man's permission and access code _ checks his medical history, alerts the man's physician and begins administering emergency aid on the scene.

These are just two visions of health care on the information highway. Though technically possible today, they remain just visions of the future largely because the health care industry's use of information technology lags far behind what exists today in banking, transportation and telecommunications.

For example, if the health care industry ran the television networks, your home would need a TV set for every station and a different electrical socket for each set.

"You'd need an NBC set, a CBS set or five hundred sets to watch all of those cable shows," said Rick Rubin, president of the non-profit Foundation for Health Care Quality, a Seattle-based consortium of large employers, insurers, health care provider organizations and others working to build a health care on-ramp to the information highway.

Health care remains a fragmented landscape of proprietary systems of information with little or no common link, he said.

"That's one of the problems we're trying to solve," Rubin said.

The solution, though years away, could someday allow consumers to do their own research when comparing health plans, shopping for a family doctor or considering elective surgery.

"Roughly 80 percent of what health care professionals do is move information," said Mark Wheeler, a physician and senior vice-president at PHAMIS Inc., a Seattle-based company that develops automated health information systems.

Technology is not the real barrier to transforming that activity from paper to a seamless electronic network, Wheeler said. The difficulty is the inertia involved in trying to change human behavior and a lack of uniform standards for health care information.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Health Care Industry Proves Slow to Get on Info Highway


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?