Handbook of Healthcare Management
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Handbook of Healthcare Management

Edited by Myron D. Fottler, Donna Malvey and Donna J. Slovensky

The Handbook of Healthcare Management is a comprehensive examination of key management practices for global healthcare organizations, arguing that insight into and implementation of these practices is essential for success and sustainability.
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Chapter 15: HIT to enhance patient care and organizational performance

Nir Menachemi, Saurabh Rahurkar and Willi L. Tarver


Health information technology (HIT) is defined 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” (Thompson and Brailer, 2004, p. 38). It is a term closely related to and overlapping with the term “health informatics.” In its initial definition, health informatics was concerned with the application of methods and technologies from the information sciences to assure the highest quality of healthcare by aiding in problem-solving and decision-making based on archived health information (Graham, 1994). More recently, it has evolved to include “the design, development, adoption, and application of information technology based innovations in healthcare services delivery, management and planning” (Health Services Research Information Central, 2009). Health informatics has a broad scope due to its interdisciplinary nature with specializations covering basic and applied areas of biomedical sciences (Graham, 1994). The ubiquity of the Internet contributed to the convergence of biomedical, information, and computer sciences in the form of new opportunities and challenges to the healthcare industry. Concerted efforts by healthcare and information technology leaders led to the creation of the term “e-health.”

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