Health information technology (HIT) will prove positive for health quality and expanded access to health care, according to 3 in 4 American adults. 64% of Americans believe HIT implementation will help to reduce health care costs.

A poll supported by the Career College Association and TechAmerica found broad-based support for HIT. While many health reform alternatives appear to be splitting American sentiment, HIT seems to be a unifying force for health improvement in the U.S.

The positive sentiment toward HIT crosses age, gender, and socioeconomic status.

Most health citizens see HIT as a personal health enabler, as well: 3 in 5 Americans (61%) believe that people would adopt healthier behaviors if, “IT systems and well-trained personnel to help them use the technology were more widely available in venues such as drug stores, health clubs, recreation centers, school and other places readily accessible to the public.”

35% of Americans are worried about the impact of HIT on privacy; 25% believe there are adequate protections in place to ensure confidentiality of personal health information.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive among 2,175 U.S. adults between August 28 and September 1, 2009.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: It’s encouraging to see Americans largely agreeing about something in the health sphere these days; HIT has been a rallying objective among legislators on both sides of the aisle for some time, and this is translating to the larger health citizenry.

It’s even more encouraging that most Americans see the potential for HIT to be a health-enabler — and that means the recognition of the role that people can be empowered and engaged in their own health through the use of health information tools. This finding echoes a survey done earlier this year by Deloitte, who found that 2 in 3 Americans like the idea of home health monitoring, as well as communicating “my numbers” back to my health provider for more continuous monitoring and support.

That this poll was sponsored by the Career College Association (CCA) is fascinating. CCA represents educators — colleges and universities that provide career-specific educational programs. Part of the survey analyzed whether America’s intellectual capital is sufficiently trained to manage the impending era of health information technology implementation. There remain gaps in training, according to consumers, who, based on the survey results, lack confidence the current state of HIT knowledge among health workers. This is an opportunity for the educational system to fill that gap asap, and an area where job growth can be expected — if funding is available for such positions.

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