The understanding of the need for a robust healthcare IT infrastructure has far outpaced adoption of applications and components of that infrastructure. Factors such as the complexity of the technology, perceived high total costs for implementation and operation, and reluctance to change are key inhibitors. Many health plans are leaders in recognizing the need for change and the importance of IT in enabling that change. The reason is simple: Health plans are witnessing fundamental changes to the purchasing, consumption, and delivery of health care that is redefining the way health plans compete and operate. As the health care industry moves from a volume-based, fragmented healthcare system to a value-based system, a robust IT and information infrastructure will become a necessity. The ability to manage and use knowledge and information may well be a key competitive differentiator. It will not be able to successfully transform to a value-based, affordable, sustainable healthcare system without a robust IT infrastructure.
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