Terri Steinberg, MD, MBA, is the chief health information officer at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Delaware. Before taking on her current role, she held the position of chief medical information officer, where she implemented clinical systems in patient and ambulatory departments, and represented the needs of doctors in various systems integrations. In this #DrHIT blog, we sat down with Dr. Steinberg to discuss the potential of informatics for improving medical facilities and care.
Intel: What does health information technology mean to you?
Steinberg: In the grand scheme, improved technology in the medical industry offers advanced capabilities to providers without taking up a significant amount of their already limited time. We want to improve the wellbeing of both practitioners and patients. Today, we have the ability to quickly type anything into the informatics system, from an ailment to a patient’s name, and immediately have every document, lab result and all other necessary information displayed. Gone are the days of literally turning page after page of documents for hours.
Intel: How will informatics continue to shape the healthcare industry?
Steinberg: Informatics will improve quality of work in the healthcare industry. There is a great opportunity for this technology, ranging from simple documentation to tracking vital data – a significant improvement to the obsolete paper system. What was once a glorified filing cabinet is now a clinical decision support system, running smart analytics behind the scenes, which allows providers to refresh their practice and improve care.
Intel: What’s your vision for how technology will improve patient care?
Steinberg: Going forward, there will be a lot of integrations of biometric devices into our large data platforms. I can deliver a wireless blood pressure cuff and scale, pulse oximeter and peak flow meter to a patient who only a few years ago, would have been required to physically see a physician in the office for such tests. Another example: I can utilize a tele-stethoscope, which syncs remotely after a patient’s use and provides me with a reading through the cloud. A substantial number of devices we use every day have become much smaller and more affordable, allowing patients to provide their physicians with immediate vital information, and receive an accurate diagnosis without the leaving the comfort of home.
Intel: How is your practice evolving with technology?
Steinberg: At Christina Care, we use Care Link, where our care management group connects to our practice’s interface with immediate access to the data generated from physicians and patients. If a patient plugs in their blood pressure cuff or glucometer, there’s an instant reading on our screen; a doctor makes a note, and it is immediately filed. All of our care management members are fully trained at reading biometric data coming into the office. Soon this will be the norm.
Intel: What do you feel are the next steps in healthcare technology?
Steinberg: We are working on moving technology forward as quickly as possible to establish a comprehensive electronic health program, where patients receive the exact care they need, whether in an emergency room or a regular checkup, in a much more convenient environment. A complete overhaul of the systems is a difficult project – we are integrating data unlike we’ve ever experienced before. The final frontier is really getting the entire country – all of the providers and vendors – on the same level. As the industry continues to build its technical prowess, the process will become more mainstream and we will have a much more efficient system.