Healthcare qa :discussion: new technology
In responses to your peers, identify if you believe they recommended the best new technologies for the problems, or suggest an alternative technology.
Technology is amazing, and provides many opportunities in all areas of life. Technology improves healthcare quality for patients in regards to communication and care. Electronic Health Records (EHR) are one example of technology that benefits healthcare organizations and their staff. EHR’s provide efficiency in that no one is “chasing” or hunting charts, reduces paperwork, information is readily available, less time spent deciphering handwriting, and it links appointments, coding, and claims. Many health organizations systems are now connected, which allows EHR’s to provide enhanced information sharing for “easy or even automatic delivery of information from laboratories or other providers, saving staff time that would otherwise be spent manually entering information into patient records” (How can electronic health records improve the efficiency of my staff?, 2019). Telemedicine is another advanced technology that allows patients to meet virtually with doctors through telecommunication. There are now home health monitoring systems that reduces the need for patients to go to the doctor’s office. For example, “Pacemakers for patients with heart disease can automatically send data to remote health centers” (5 Ways Technology is Improving Health, n.d.). There are many new ideas and technology that benefit the patients, doctors and staff by increasing communication and thus increasing quality of care.
Telehealth is a great advancement in technology, especially for those who cannot or do not need to get out of their house and around crowds during this time. Unfortunately, telehealth is difficult for low-income families or those in rural areas who have poor internet service or access, as well as for those with disabilities. Therefore, telehealth has room for improvement in this areas.
There are many evidence-based practices that increase communication and quality of care for individuals. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an example of evidence-based practices that have benefited patients. “The Task Force works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications” (About the USPSTF, 2020). Another evidence-based practice is The Center for Health Leadership & Practice. They provide programs to include the National Overdose Prevention Network, and the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health. “Our programs provide capacity building, coaching, and proven strategies to address issues in your community and create lasting change” (Building healthier, more equitable communities, 2020).
5 Ways Technology is Improving Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from University of Illinois Chicago: https://healthinformatics.uic.edu/blog/5-ways-technology-is-improving-health/
About the USPSTF. (2020). Retrieved from U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: https://uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/about-uspstf
Building healthier, more equitable communities. (2020). Retrieved from Center for Health Leadership & Practice: https://healthleadership.org/
How can electronic health records improve the efficiency of my staff? (2019, July 9). Retrieved from HealthIT.gov: https://www.healthit.gov/faq/how-can-electronic-health-records-improve-efficiency-my-staff
Jercich, K. (2020, November 23). Telehealth may worsen digital divide for people with disabilities. Retrieved from HealthcareITnews: https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/telehealth-may-worsen-digital-divide-people-disabilities
I have only been in healthcare since 2011-2012 and I can already see the drastic increase in technology in the healthcare sector. From completely getting rid of paper charts, to the new medical devices inside the hospitals all the way to different policies and procedures due to technology it has a direct influence on healthcare quality. I would say that overall technology greatly improves healthcare quality, but certainly not without certain flaws. I would say that in regard to communication it goes either way. With patients to physicians or caretakers sometimes it takes away from the personal interactions because all visits with medical professionals now involves an iPad or some type of computer and the entire time they are talking the healthcare professional is entering information into the electronic device. However, this also allows for telehealth which can let the physician spend “more time” with the patient. For example one article states, “for providers, e-health is a way to improve efficiency, communication, and reduction in administrative costs.” (Sneha & Straub, 2017). This goes hand in hand with caring as technology has made it easier in some ways to care for the patients. Right now especially at least in Boston we are not allowing any visitors into the hospital. So for patients, we are giving them all iPads if they do not have their own to facetime their family. Also, with Zoom and other platforms caregivers can have chart rounds and different meetings with providers from home or other medical facilities which can help in tremendous ways. I believe that overall patients are more and more comfortable with technology and although there are some pitfalls, overall any patient would rather be at a hospital with the most up to date technology than not.
I believe that with communication although the pandemic has forced our hand into communicating via Zoom meetings and facetime whether it is co-worker to co-worker or provider to patient I believe that this is the future of healthcare and it needs to be improved going forward. I think that for the most part, many appointments can be and should be telehealth only. Especially with the aging baby boomer population, many elder people do not want to go to the doctor or maybe they have a fear of going to the doctor. According to Sneha and Straub, “E-health can also be used to conduct online consultations with patients and medical specialists . Web based tools can be very beneficial in early detection and prevention of diseases” (2017). The aging population needs a lot of screening and their health is going to start deteriorating as they age. In order to be able to keep up with the demand we need physicians and providers to be sure that they offer tele-health services. A European survey reports that only 10% of general practitioners use the online consultation system and less than 16% of general practitioners consult with other medical specialists online (Sneha & Straub, 2017). This is not sufficient going forward in the future healthcare landscape. One article stated that,
Physicians and other health professionals are now seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than they did before the pandemic. The report notes that 46% of patients are now using telehealth to replace canceled in-person visits, up from the just 11% of patients who used telehealth in 2019.
The shift will continue post-pandemic, meaning that “new ways of working for a broad set of providers, step-change improvements in information exchange and broadening access and integration of technology” will be required, says the report. (Henry, 2020).
With data such as this it is vital to recognize that technology and tele-health is the future. There are children that are having tele-therapy, patients that are checking in with physicians via telehealth, this can save a lot of time and save a ton of money for physicians practices and potentially bring in more. This can also save emergency room wait times as well if you can tele-health before showing up to an emergency room which will save very important time and space for actual emergencies. I believe telehealth is the future, as much as I may not necessarily like it, it works and it can save a lot of lives and provide care to people who would normally not seek care.
Sneha, S. & Straub, D. (2017). E-Health: Value Proposition and Technologies Enabling Collaborative Healthcare. https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/10125/41260/paper0111.pdf