Technological Advances in Healthcare
Evaluate at a minimum two different historical perspectives regarding the delivery of health care in the United States. How has technology and the lack of developing technology affected and shaped these perspectives?
Two different historical perspectives regarding healthcare delivery in the United States are public opinions about hospitals and accessibility to healthcare information. Historically, the doctor has always been seen as the only authoritative figure that can provide treatment and administer medication to an invalid. With a limited amount of technology, doctors were the only source of medical information and patients relied solely on doctors to convey information about their ailments. Currently, with innovative technology, patients are becoming more involved in their treatment. When it comes to public opinions on hospitals, historically, hospitals were seen as places where individuals went to die. Today, patients see hospitals as places where they can find relief due to newfound technology that provides enhanced features such as pain management. The lack of technology made individuals believe that medical facilities were places to be dreaded; however, with improved technology, this perspective has changed and people are now embracing the care provided in medical facilities.
Contrast and describe two technological advances that have positively impacted healthcare delivery in the United States.
Two technological advances that have positively impacted healthcare delivery are Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and Telemedicine. Previously, medical information recorded during a visit to a general practitioner, dentist, or medical specialist was filed and stored separately. Now, EMRs allow patient information to be kept centrally in an online location (Hillestad et al., 2005). EMRs allow for more focused and accurate medical care and the ability to view health trends for each patient. Telemedicine services such as video conferencing are cost-efficient methods of complementing health services. Telemedicine services are especially advantageous to individuals who live in remote communities and require standard access to health professionals who reside kilometers away (Moffatt, 2010). Generally, with telemedicine services healthcare providers can successfully provide face-to-face clinical services to an invalid while a medical specialist is present to ensure the right procedures are followed. Telemedicine also benefits healthcare workers on location because specialist can provide training virtually.
Explain how the two technological advances you selected have influenced public opinion of the changing health care system in the United States? Provide a summary of both positive and negative views.
Electronic Medical Records and Telemedicine services have influenced public opinions both negatively and positively. The public has developed positive views about electronic medical records because previously, access to medical files required physical labor. For instance, each time a patient visited a hospital, their chart had to be retrieved from a storage unit, transported, delivered, stamped, and sorted all in a single visit. Due to this back and forth, there was a possibility of human error. ERHs have eliminated physical transporting of patient charts, sorting and filing of charts, and have made data accessible at all times (Hillestad et al., 2005). Despite the growing benefits of various EMR functionalities, there are some negative public opinions regarding the increased risk of privacy violations. Some individuals think that EMRs may facilitate intentional “snooping” which is an increasing concern because of the significant amount of health data exchanged electronically (Westin, 2005). The public has some concerns regarding the potential vulnerability to security breaches which causes a rise in patients’ privacy concerns.
Telemedicine services have spurred some positive opinions especially when it comes to convenience and time-saving. Previously, patients had to wait for hours before getting a consultation but with telemedicine services, patients can access healthcare anywhere, anytime; it is the fastest way to access a provider. Patients also embrace telemedicine services because they can receive medical attention in minutes versus hours by logging into a telemedicine system via a computer or Smartphone. The negative opinions about telemedicine services are mainly about suitability and efficiency. Many people are of the opinion that you will receive a swift assessment of your symptoms with telemedicine; however, you cannot receive a full routine physical exam. In some cases where you need a strep throat tests that requires a swab, telemedicine services may not be sufficient. Also, because a patient’s appointment depends on technology – the patient is at the mercy of anything that can interrupt an internet connection – power outage, or bad weather.
Forecast how you believe these two technological advances will affect delivery and utilization of healthcare in the United States in the future. What other factors may simultaneously affect health care utilization?
Telemedicine is purposed to cater to the needs of healthcare consumers and it has the capacity to revolutionize healthcare delivery. Telemedicine supports efforts to improve the quality of healthcare by increasing efficiency and accessibility by providing clinical support, reducing the need to travel, overcoming geographical barriers, and improving patient outcomes. Thus, with the current focus on enhancing healthcare delivery to all segments of the population, meting consumer demand, and diagnosing diseases faster, telemedicine is an attractive tool for success in these areas. Some people hold this opinion that going electronic will not guarantee the advancement of healthcare delivery; however, various studies conducted by prestigious organizations have stated otherwise. EMR features such as reminders and alerts radically improve safety when utilized in ambulatory facilities and hospitals. EMRs not only guarantee the security of patients’ data, EMRs streamline communication between clinicians and allows them to effortlessly transfer patient records amongst themselves. In an incident where a patient is unconscious or incapable of communicating, EMRs can alert the physician about existing conditions, life threatening allergies, and other relevant medical information. EMRs provide access to resources and information that ultimately result in improved approaches to treatment.