With the Supreme Court's decision to affirm the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), healthcare IT managers face the prospect of setting up state-based health insurance exchanges (HIX), according to InformationWeek Healthcare. HIX are expected to create a more organized and competitive market for buying health insurance by offering different plans and providing consumers with the information to make choices that fit their needs, the Kaiser Family Foundation explains. They are scheduled to be launched in 2014.
The state of Massachusetts passed its own healthcare law in 2006 that was the model for the nationwide individual mandate and the HIX, according to Boston.com. The state has one of the lowest rates of uninsured individuals in the country as a result.
As increasingly more individuals obtain health insurance, hospitals need to strategize to improve the efficiency of care delivery to accommodate the growing number of patients. Rich Umbdenstock, president of the American Hospital Association, explained that the healthcare reform law calls for the entire healthcare community to work together to streamline care utilization, a process that should include patients and insurers, as quoted by InformationWeek Healthcare. Ultimately, the whole system needs to implement better-coordinated, high-quality care, according to Umbdenstock.
This can be achieved through the use of resources such as electronic medical records (EMRs) and enterprise imaging to allow universal viewing of diagnostic imaging, which can help hospital staff to more efficiently communicate across different departments.
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