Health IT is not just dollars and cents

As the Washington Technology staff was putting together this issue with its cover
story on health information technology, I was getting an up-close look at health
IT in action as my wife gave birth to our first child, a
boy named James.

Our due date was Sept. 2, but because of some complications,
James came 10 weeks early, entering the
world with a full-throated cry.

Staying at the hospital with my wife through those
first days after James' birth and now making daily visits
as he works his way through the neonatal intensive
care unit, I've seen how important IT is to
patient care.

It includes the beautiful simplicity of a privacy
feature that allows only the user to see what is on
a PC monitor. Other systems give direct and
immediate care, such as the wireless phones that
all the nurses and doctors carry.

A white board in my wife's room listed the current shift's nurse with her
phone number. If Beth needed something, she only had to dial the number and
the nurse would answer. The nurses also wore devices the size of a luggage tag
that allowed them to know precisely where the other nurses were on the ward.

As is apparent in Alice Lipowicz's cover story, health IT is a growing business
area for government contractors, and many of them are investing heavily by
making acquisitions and hiring doctors and other domain experts.

But when you are touched by the potential of IT to improve the quality of
health care, the opportunity is about more than dollars and cents.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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