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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
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Health Information Technology

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How Can Health IT Help Coordinate Complex Care?

HIV/AIDS care requires that patients have timely access to necessary medical and support services and that these services are coordinated. EHRs can support care coordination by documenting services that have been received, sharing medical information among providers, and assisting with the development of care plans. Care coordination functions may be included within the EHR; alternatively, data from the EHR can be imported into a care coordination application.

EHR functions support the following:

  • Targeted and Timely Health Care. Health IT tools can help you provide high-quality care that is responsive and targeted to the needs of the individual patient. They can also provide patient-specific reminders that identify patients in need of additional intervention or support. In addition, health IT tools can retrieve and manage patient information and provide clinicians with easy and prompt access to treatment information and lab results.  This HRSA HAB Publication go to exit disclaimer describes how health IT can improve HIV/AIDS care.
  • Decision Support.  Decision support functions can provide clinicians with the information necessary to make treatment decisions according to clinical guidelines.  These functions can alert providers of potential medication or treatment errors, prompt them to recommend preventive health screenings and procedures, and inform them of patients’ adherence to their drug regimen.
  • Coordination of Care. HIV/AIDS patients often have complex care needs and receive services across a variety of settings. Some EHR systems support care decisions by sharing patient information between and among provider sites. Features such as email consultation and electronic referrals to specialists enhance care providers’ ability to communicate.  Kaiser Permanente’s quality improvement project go to exit disclaimer is an example of how EHR use combined with care coordination can improve chronic disease management.
  • Patient support. Patient education materials and PHRs can encourage patients to become more involved in their healthcare and improve their adherence to medication regimens and care plans.  Such tools can also facilitate patient-provider communication, help patients locate medical providers and services, and foster self-management and independence. Other patient support tools, such as secure email and mobile phone texting, have been used successfully by providers to communicate with their HIV/AIDS patients.

Related Resources:

Personal Health Records and People Living with HIV – This blog article from AIDS.gov discusses PHRs and their benefit for patients with HIV/AIDS. Included is information on University of California San Francisco’s myHERO PHR.

‘Mobile’ Health Needs And Opportunities In Developing Countries go to exit disclaimer – This article addresses the potential of mobile applications for improving health and the need for wider evaluation of these devices and applications.

Grants Aim To Improve HIV/AIDS Care Through Health IT Initiatives go to exit disclaimer – This article summarizes the findings from recent projects that have used health IT to improve care coordination for the HIV/AIDS community.

Managing HIV/AIDS - HIV and Managed Care go to exit disclaimer – This webpage contains care coordination information, specifically related to HIV/AIDS.

Evolving Trends in Medical Care-coordination for Patients with HIV and AIDS go to exit disclaimer – This article discusses the need for comprehensive care coordination for the HIV/AIDS population and strategies for coordinating care.

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a resource for health centers and other safety net and ambulatory care providers who are seeking to implement health IT.
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