Effects of Technology on Health Care
The healthcare sector has been characterized by rapid technological advancement in the last half a century. These technologies have revolutionized the way of the healthcare system operates. This paper examines the impact of these technological advancements on the health care system.
Technology has improved quality of care by improving the management of health information. The introduction of electronic medical record has made easy for the healthcare system to store, share and convey patient information (Fitchman & Kohli, 2011). Today, patients’ record can be conveyed across departments, organizations and geographical locations with the help of this technological innovation. In the future, it may be possible for organizations to share information beyond national boundaries. Technologies such as social media have also made it easy for healthcare practitioners to reach patients. Physician-patient communication has been enhanced by these technologies. Modern technology has also improved health awareness by providing efficient means for conveying awareness messages.
Technology is also likely to reduce medical errors. For instance, the electronic medical record makes it easier for medical practitioners to retrieve patient information (Krueger, 2010). Thus, the physicians become informed about issues such as allergies or previous treatment. The e-prescription technology also reduced the chance of the pharmacist misinterpreting the physician’s prescriptions. The e-prescription technology also provides the physician with information about drug interaction and also makes payment easy. Technologies such as Computed Tomography (CT) Scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have also improved the accuracy of diagnostic processes thus minimizing errors. The CT scan and MRI technologies have also reduced suffering and inconveniences’, among patients, as they are least intrusive diagnostic methods (Krueger, 2010).
Technology has also enhanced the management of healthcare institutions. Technology enables healthcare establishment to utilize health information in other areas such as quality management, staffing and financial management (Haux, 2006). Modern health information system has enabled the sharing of health information across departments and among healthcare organization. This has minimized administrative costs. The online databases created to store patient information also enable the hospital manage to observe various trends. This information is useful in information managerial decisions. For instance, the hospital management may use the data base to observe patient admission trends in different months of the year. This information may be useful in determining the staffing level of the hospital in different months.
Technology has also made the health care system patient centered (Haux, 2006). Traditional methods of managing health information limited the accessibility of this information to physicians and hospital administrators. The electronic medical system makes it easy for other health information users such as patients to access this information. Technology has also led to medical advancement by aiding research (Fitchman & Kohli, 2011). Technologies such as the electronic medical records provide research with easy access to information. The digital system of managing information makes it possible for research to sort out data and get access to the required information.
Technology has also raised several ethical concerns. Security and privacy of patient information is one of these ethical concerns (Tan & Ong, 2009). Technologies such as the electronic medical system make patient information easily accessible. This exposes patients to privacy and security threats as their personal information can easily be accessed by unauthorized persons. Ethical issues such as patient autonomy and individual rights have been fueled by advancement in technology. Medical technologies such as life support system make it possible for physicians to preserve life (Tan & Ong, 2009). A huge dilemma emerges concerning whether it right for physicians to withdraw these life support system when the patient or his family demand. Modern technologies have also enabled procedures such as tissue culture, abortion, organ transplant and test tube babies. Some scientists have also tried to develop human cloning technologies. These developments have raised ethical arguments concerning how far man can go in manipulating the natural environment.
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Haux R. (2006). Health Information System: Past, Present and Future. 75: 268- 281
Krueger A. (2010). Six Ways Technology is Improving Healthcare. June 28, 2013. http://www.businessinsider.com/6-ways-technology-is-improving-healthcare-2010-12?op=1
Tan L. & Ong K. (2009). The Impact of Medical Technology on Healthcare Today. Hong Kong Medical Journal. 9 (4): 232- 236