The Joint Commission (JC) has just released a white paper entitled Health Care at the Crossroads: Guiding Principles for the Development of the Hospital of the Future. Not surprisingly, information technology (IT) permeates its recommendations. Surprisingly, the term "informatics" does not appear anywhere.
From the press release on the JC site (‘Hospital of the Future’ Report Urges Major Changes):
A report released today from The Joint Commission offers guiding principles and actions for the hospital of the future to meet the daunting challenges of older and sicker patients, patient safety and quality of care, economics and the work force. As these challenges escalate, hospitals can lead the effort to meet these demands.
Health Care at the Crossroads: Guiding Principles for the Development of the Hospital of the Future contends that hospitals must respond in new ways as escalating health care costs are hitting record highs and the conditions and care needs of hospitalized patients are growing more complex. The report is the work of an expert panel comprising hospital executives and clinical leaders, as well as experts in technology, health care economics, hospital design and patient safety. The roundtable analyzed how socio-economic trends, technology, the physical environment of care, patient-centered care values and ongoing staffing challenges will impact the hospital of the future.
It may be sad and disturbing that informatics isn't mentioned, because it could be indicative of two possibilities:
- The JC panel of experts don't understand the difference between IT and informatics; or
- They don't understand the valuable role biomedical informatics is playing in medicine at the moment on many fronts, including but not limited to the *omics revolution to evidence-based practice.
I may be sounding disappointed without reason, if for example the two concepts were deliberately conflated so as not to confuse the target audience, who I assume to be health system executive decisionmakers. As a cohort, they are not yet familiar with the nuances of informatics (by which I mean applied information science) and IT. I've yet to read the report, so I'm withholding final judgment.
I am happy to see socio-economic trends appearing first in the list of items the experts analyzed. That is highly likely to be a positive sign with respect to the validity of their recommendations, but I'm only cautiously optimistic. Here too, I'll see how I feel after reading the report.