Technology In Healthcare Final Paper Topic: Critically evaluate the use of technology in healthcare and the challenges it presents in healthcare delivery. Offer specific examples or situations addressing technology’s contributions to improving the quality of health and healthcare; consider impact on healthcare costs and analyze trade-offs. Introduction The use of technology in healthcare and the delivery of this technology to healthcare present many challenges, technology contributes to improving the quality of healthcare but it does impact healthcare cost, however there are some trade-offs. The term “medical technology” refers to procedures, equipment, and processes by which medical care is delivered. ” (Goyen, Mathias. 2009) Some of the current challenges in healthcare are patient privacy and protection when using wireless technology, tracking patients and staff while in the healthcare environment, and transitioning medical records to electronic medical records to help reduce mistakes and improve patient safety. Technology does contribute to improving the quality of healthcare but it does impact healthcare cost, which has been one of the reasons why insurance premiums have been high. Goyen, Mathias. 2009) Some of the trade-offs are the medical advancements that can be made with medical technology. (Thomas, RL. 2011) Medical technology can help improve both patient and user safety, reduce medical errors when documenting patient information or using equipment, and also helping with employee job satisfaction which will in turn help the keep the staff employed at the healthcare organization. “One might not readily associate technology with work force shortage issues; however, it is an area rich with the potential for effective technological solutions. (Larsen, Marc G. 2012) These kinds of improvements can only be achieved if a healthcare organization decides to change the way they deliver care and the way that they operate. (Larsen, Marc G. 2012) Technology will help the medical staff become more productive and will decrease the amount of walking around that they have to do from patient to patient allowing the staff to multi-task, while checking in on all their patients. (Larsen, Marc G. 2012) Can keeping up medical technology bring valve to a healthcare organization?
Wireless Technology and Security & Privacy A lot of medical technology is moving towards wireless equipment, 85% if not more of the world has access to a wireless signal. (Pierce, N. 2012) Wireless technology is quickly growing everyday and it has changed the way that we deliver care in the health care system today. Technology in healthcare organizations is keeping IT departments along with Clinical Engineering departments more challenged and busier then ever, with the life span of this equipment also being shorter then even due to the quickly changing technology.
Clinical engineering is responsible for making sure equipment is working and maintaining that equipment on a yearly bases if not more often. The IT department will be responsible with the setting up of the wireless network making sure it is secure. Both of these departments will have to continue to adapt with changing hardware and software until necessary standards are put in place to stabilize the life of wireless technology. (Pierce, N. 012) When working with wireless technology maintaining privacy and security is always at the top of the hospital’s list. Protecting the patient’s information is very important when exposing this new wireless technology to a healthcare organization due to dangers like, hacking, identity theft, and viral attacks, which can all, be possible. Protecting patient’s information is necessary for a health care organization to maintain its integrity for both their services and their products. Pierce, N. 2012) “The consolidation of multiple platforms made possible by wireless communication technology can enhance clinician and technician productivity, facilitate communication, save time, boost employee satisfaction by making jobs easier and, ultimately, increase retention. ” (Larsen, Marc G. 2012) Electronic whiteboards in one of the well-known wireless technologies being used in hospitals to help locate patients test results, equipment and room status. Larsen, Marc G. 2012) Wireless technology is at almost every healthcare organization from my experince, they are as advance as their budget will allow them to be. Radio Frequency Identification Radio frequency identification (RFID) can help track patients and record their readings, track equipment, and employee location in the hospital. (Larsen, Marc G. 2012) Radio frequency identification is a technology that captures data using electric or magnetic fields at radio frequencies.
Depending on the type of radio frequency identification that is being used an individual can be tracked any where from 10 feet away to 300 feet away, this will allow for both patients and staff to be tracked and or monitored. The three main things radio frequency identification is used for is tracking, monitoring, and identification. This technology can also help improve speed of lab test and monitoring and logging of temperature for refrigerated storage. (McGrady, Elizabeth. 2012) This technology is capable of helping organizations decrease cost, but will require a big investment up front.
A possible way that this can help save cost would be by tracking expensive equipment and most commonly used equipment and medication as well throughout the healthcare environment. This equipment and medication would be tracked with an radio frequency identification tag, which has a battery and can be continuously monitored. (McGrady, Elizabeth. 2012) “RFID has been in existence for more than 50 years but has lacked applications that provide a positive return on the substantial initial investment. ” (McGrady, Elizabeth. 012) With the continuing advances in technology radio frequency identification has proven to be a cost benefit and is expected to continue to grow in this technology rich era. (McGrady, Elizabeth. 2012) Electronic Medical Records Electronic medical records (EMR) have been around since the 1960’s, the implementation of these records allow for patient data to be stored on a computer system versus being stored away in a cabinet. Having these records allows for easy access to information of patient data to sync up with the patient records. Thomas, RL. 2011) “A review paper comparing the time efficiencies of paper-based and computer-based health records used by both nurses and physicians found that overall, the computer improved time efficiencies of nurses by 2-45% while the physicians also saw some improvements but on average increased time was required. ” (Probst, Yasmine. 2011) Electronic medical records also allows for integration of mobile technology such as IPADs and other mobile devices to can be used, although this also may present a risk.
If a mobile device is lost or stolen the data can possibly be removed from the mobile device and the patient’s information can be stolen, which in this case would be violating HIPAA laws. At my current healthcare organization they only mobile computer stations to avoid this kind of issues. Wireless connectivity can also become an issue with all the wireless technology being used in a health care environment, a lack bandwidth can add to the many challenges. Electronic medical records add great value to healthcare systems for the patients, the healthcare providers, and insurance companies. Levin, David. 2012) Cost of new technology Cost of new technology is a primary reason why cost of care has increase and will continue to increase every year. The cost of this medical technology is one of the main drivers to the increase cost of healthcare and this is one of the reasons why insurance premiums have become so high. (Goyen, Mathias. 2009) Medical technology has been designed to improve our healthcare system and also improve the health of our patients.
Due to the US having the most advanced medical system in the world, this has caused a significant increase of healthcare cost, 20% to be exact in the mid 1990’s. (Barton, P. L. 2009) Medical technology has been identified as the most significant factor increasing the cost of care in a hospital, but also the growing technology of pharmaceuticals is also guilty. (Barton, P. L. 2009) The most use of technology a patient will receive is when a patient’s life is getting towards the end, which at this point the patient may be on Medicare and may be on fixed income. Barton, P. L. 2009) The United State is in a position where they need to make improvements to our healthcare system by adding financial incentives to improve care while expanding the use of technology to upgrade efficiency and accuracy. (Lack of. 2009) While new medical technology contributes to increase in health care cost, it also helps with development of new treatment, new procedures, clinical advances and much more just to name a few. (Goyen, Mathias. 2009) “The effect of a particular new technology on healthcare expenditure depends on a variety of factors. (Goyen, Mathias. 2009) How often will this new medical technology be used and can more patients be treated? The answer to this question and the delivery of this new technology will vary depending on the type of system that is in place. (Goyen, Mathias. 2009) “It is not possible to directly measure the impact of new medical technology on total healthcare spending. ” (Goyen, Mathias. 2009) The cost of technology can be beneficial from my experience depending on what technology they choose to invest in, however the research needs to be done.
Risk & Rewards Advancing medical technology can come with risk and rewards. “The mantra that health care is ‘data rich and information poor’ will be truer than ever! ” (Thomas, R. L. 2011) At my hospital the current wireless and advance technology system has constant information feeding back to the main patient monitoring system, filtering information can become overwhelming and certain patient alarms may be missed, which is a risk that has been taken, but is being worked on to correct.
A reward would be that medical errors would be reduced and there would be an increase to access these medical records, a doctor can easily access them from another part of the country. (Probst, Yasmine. 2011) By the time that some of this equipment finally get put into service in the medical field it is obsolete if not out dated, and if a hospital can’t keep up it will be at a disadvantage with the growing number of competition. Healthcare organizations need to not only focus on technology but they also need to focus on providing excellent care so that they can withstand changing technology. Pierce, N. 2012) From personal experience a risk would be when patient information is stored on medical equipment that is obsolete or damaged and is being removed from the hospital. Protecting the patient’s information and removing it from this equipment before it leaves the hospital is a priority, some of the equipment has hard drives that need to be removed and destroyed. Understanding what medical technology equipment stores patient information need to be identified, before it becomes a risk. Conclusion
The use of technology in healthcare and the delivery of this technology to healthcare present many challenges, technology contributes to improving the quality of healthcare but it does impact healthcare cost, however there are some trade-offs. Some of the current challenges in healthcare are patient privacy and protection when using wireless technology, tracking patients and staff while in the healthcare environment, and transitioning medical records to electronic medical records to help reduce mistakes and improve patient safety. Regardless of the industry (health, gaming, retail, etc. ), the consumer will not stay with a product of service long if it does not bring immediate value. ” Medical technology privacy and security will always be a major challenge as technology continues to change everyday. (Pierce, N. 2012) Medical technology life cycles in healthcare organizations will continue to be shorten, as new technology comes out, for example tablets and mobile devices are redesigned multiple times per year for consumer use. (Pierce, N. 012) “The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, passed in 1996, could not have anticipated the extent to which mobile technology would expand access to information. ” (Pierce, N. 2012) Healthcare organizations will have to continue to guide their ever-changing business along with their technology managers as medical technology continues to evolve. Work Cited Barton, P. L. (2009). Understanding the U. S. Health Services System, 4th Edition(4th ed. ). Chicago: Health Administration Press. Goyen, Mathias, and Jorg F. Debatin. Healthcare cost for new technologies. ” European Journal of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging 36. 1 (2009): 139-143. Print. “Lack of Technology Stressing Healthcare System. ” Healthcare Management Technology 30. 12 (2009): 6. Print. ??? Larsen, Marc G. . “Technology In Healthcare Leveraging New Innovations. ” Healthcare Executive 23. 5 (2008): 9-14. Print. ??? Levin, David. “mHealth: Promise and Pitfalls. ” Frontiers of Health Services Management 29. 2 (2012): 33-39. Print. McGrady, Elizabeth, Sue Conger, Sandra Blanke, and Brett J. L. Landry. Emerging Technologies in Healthcare: Navigating Risks, Evaluating Rewards. ” Journal of Healthcare Management 55. 5 (2010): 353-364. Print. ??? Pierce, N. “Keeping up with a fast-moving target–mHealth. ” Frontiers of Health Services Management 29. 2 (2012): 28-32. Print. ??? Probst, Yasmine. “Dietitians in the electronic age: Progressing towards e-health. ” Nutrition & Dietetics 68. 3 (2011): 177-178. Print. Thomas, RL. “Convergence: it’s what’s next in healthcare IT. ” Healthcare Financial Management: Journal Of The Healthcare Financial Management Association 65. 1 (2011): 130-132. Print.