alexa Association for Electronic Health Care Transactions (AFEHCT) internet, MIS

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Association for Electronic Health Care Transactions (AFEHCT) internet, MIS

AFEHCT, the Association For Electronic Health Care Transactions, is a national association of health care technology vendors. Founded in 1992, our members include software vendors, health care clearinghouses, health care information technology remediation vendors and others who share the goals of promoting the application of health information technology solutions to improve the delivery, financing, and administration of health care. AFEHCT and our member companies are firmly committed to the efficient and cost-effective implementation of the HIPAA transaction standards. Health care organizations have had to adapt to many changes in the world around them, from advances in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to the emergence of administrative innovations such as managed care and the invention of new information technologies. The Internet represents a particularly profound change that will enable or force significant changes in organizational form and processes—a transformation as profound as any that have gone before. The Internet's capability to empower consumers, support dynamic information exchanges among organizations, and "flatten" organizational hierarchies promises to result in new operational strategies, business models, service delivery modes, and management mechanisms. The changes will have such far-reaching implications that health care organizations need to start preparing now to adopt the advanced Internet applications that are expected to appear in the near future. Organizations need to evaluate the potential and implications of new Internet technologies, adapt them to local needs and conditions, minimize the risks associated with new product and service deployment, and plan to demonstrate the value of their efforts. The returns to health care organizations on investments in Internet-based applications are not yet clear, but the early evidence is encouraging. Kaiser-Permanente of Northern California, for example, reports that a pilot program to test a consumer-oriented Web site for 100,000 members reduced the number of visits to physicians' offices by 11 percent, reduced the number of calls to nurses by 46 percent, and allowed 14 percent of the patients to treat their illnesses at home. The result was not only significant cost savings for the organization but also improved consumer perceptions of Kaiser-Permanente and better understanding of health concerns. Partners Healthcare System, an integrated delivery organization based in Boston, reports that Internet-based systems reduced the time needed to return a radiology report to a health center from 72 hours to 4 hours. The organization expects to realize a 20 percent reduction in the cost of specialist dermatology by using telemedicine.

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