Embracing The Future Of Healthcare Essay

Length: 8 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Healthcare Type: Essay Paper: #91244902 Related Topics: Accountable Care Organizations, Health Informatics, Electronic Health Records, Kenya
Excerpt from Essay :

HEALTHCARE & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

The state of healthcare in the United States is very much influenced and improved through the increased use of technology solutions. Whether it be the use of tablets, laptops, electronic healthcare records and some others, the use of technology has become more and more pervasive as the years and decades roll on. However, not everyone is sold on technology being a saving grace and those same people often think that technology solutions being added to healthcare actually do not help or that they make things worse rather than make them better. However, there is a cacophony of evidence that suggests and proves that electronic healthcare records, electronic administration and the use of information technology in a strategic and adept fashion actually makes things better over the long haul. This is true for patients, administrators, healthcare professionals and the wider network of providers that are typically also using electronic healthcare records (Campbell, 2010).

The gist of this proposal is that electronic and information technology solutions should become more robust and advanced as time goes on rather than the process stalling out and sputtering. To be sure, people will need to be trained in how to use the systems, how to keep the systems secure, general best practices and how it will look from a client facing standpoint all need to be defined and refined. However, not proceeding into the future is a disservice to the patients that will be using the services and this cannot be allowed to happen. That all being said, it should be done in an incremental way and all changes should be based on evidence-based practice rather than what "sounds cool" or what the competitors are doing. While the actions of other firms and organizations are not irrelevant, they are not necessarily doing things the right or best way. As such, a fully effective and proper solution should be figured out before making or committing to any changes (Campbell, 2010).

Statement of the Problem

The problem as it exists with the subject already mentioned comes down to several questions:

Should healthcare providers embrace electronic solutions such as electronic healthcare records (EHR) and other information services-based means?

Are there downsides from shifting from a paper- and form-based approach to one that is electronic only or electronic-complemented?

How much training and learning will be necessary to adopt and integrate technologies into the practices and capabilities of an organization?

Will existing staff and personnel resist and otherwise not buy in to the technological chains that are needed or will they embrace it?

Are there some information technology solutions that are more trouble than they are worth and/or are they just not ready for the "big time" in terms of being used in a real and active medical practice?

Are there going to be security and legal concerns involved with an electronic-only workplace such as HIPAA violations and hacking from the outside?

In a nutshell, the general vibe is that healthcare information technology is absolutely the wave of the future. However, some solutions are hard to implement, some people have or will resist the changes, making the information more accessible to healthcare providers also makes it easier for hackers to get them and so forth. The United States is a country where healthcare information leaking out to the press or the public (e.g. The health status of celebrities like Britney Spears) happens quite a bit so the clarion calls about privacy are real and legitimate (Campbell, 2010).

History of the Problem

The history of the problem is not all that long in terms of years because the "computer age" we are in right now is much larger than it was, let us say, pre-1994. Indeed, computers were used fairly extensively in the corporate sphere before the mid-1990's but it was the World Wide Web that truly got the internet going. Only twenty years have passed since then but the technologies that have emerged in the medical and other corporate spheres of the world have been massive. For example, there was a day where...

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However, nowadays such records can be sent almost instantaneously once approval from the patient is received. Similarly, when a patient gets their vitals and other information tallied by one machine or person, then that data can be uploaded into the system right away rather than there being a delay. In short, a lot of the tasks that used to be done by hand and via delivery systems is now done electronically with a lot of speed and precision. Of course, human errors and miscues are still a possibility but that is no different than with non-electronic records. Even so, many medical professionals are set in their ways and they are often hell-bent against any idea that electronic healthcare records are any better than physical ones. This is a fallacy because electronic records can be preserved much easier than physical ones and the utility of electronic records is only limited by the competence and knowledge of the people using them (Rich, 2015).

International Context

Of course, the United States is far from being the only country that has this subject as a question or conundrum. Other significantly civilized countries like those in Europe, Australia and much of the rest of North America are encountering the same upsides and travails as the United States when it comes to electronic and information technology healthcare solutions. Other countries around the world like India are indeed similar to the United States in several regards. One way in which this is true is that there is a digitial divide that exists. Meaning, the poorer and disadvantaged are lacking in access when it comes to information-technology-based solutions. This is true in the United States just as it is true in countries like India (Srivastava & Shainesh, 2015). There are other parts of the world where the idea of electronic healthcare records and other healthcare information technology solutions are a bit out of reach due to the standards seen in those areas. Those areas would include Russia, areas of Eastern Europe and Africa. However, even countries like Kenya are starting to make inroads as far as that goes and Kenya's fight against AIDS is but one example (Bloomfield et al., 2014).

Policy

When it comes to healthcare laws and policy, there is no bigger law as of late in the United States than the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The ostensible reason and motivation behind that law was to lower healthcare costs. One of the ways in which this is attempted is through the use of electronic healthcare records and other technical/IT means. Indeed, if a bit of medical information can be either mailed and then arrive in one day (at the cost of a stamp) but it could also be sent instantaneously to where it needs to go via email or other electronic means, it is obvious that the advantage is with the electronic method. Many hold that the increased use of healthcare information technology can improve quality of care, can improve patient outcomes and can save a ton of money that was spent prior on inept, iefficient and improper ways of doing business from a healthcare standpoint (Freymann-Fontenot, 2014).

Even so, there are massive risks to adopting a new healthcare information technology framework. There will be growing pains and learning phases regardless of how well things go. Training people, buying the equipment and working out the bugs takes a lot of time and money. While some people may dismiss this as being a factor, there are plenty of people that will assert that this is no small detail and this is true regardless of what the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act might say. For any initiative to work, "interoperability, connectivity, and the leveraging of clinical IT for intensive care management and data analysis will be necessary for accountable care organizations (ADO) success. Other pieces of legislation that are indirectly or directly involved in the same would be the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Great Recession stimulus) and the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) ("Risk or reward," 2011)

Recommendations

There are several recommendations that should be offered as part of any planning or initiative to add or improve existing healthcare information technology infrastructure with a healthcare organization.

The money and resources need to be there for any changeover or upgrade to work. If either one of those is lacking, this will lead to unnecessary dawdling, money being spent on the wrong technology and so forth.

Upgrades should try to be ahead of or with the curve rather than behind it. For example, if a healthcare organization is about five to ten years behind the curve, they should go for something that is current and not already dated.

A heavy and deliberate review of the technology options that exist needs to be undertaken before any commitment of funds or resources is made. Any…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Bloomfield, G.S., Hogan, J.W., Keter, A., Holland, T.L., Sang, E., Kimaiyo, S., & Velazquez, E.J. (2014). Blood pressure level impacts risk of death among HIV

seropositive adults in Kenya: a retrospective analysis of electronic health records. BMC Infectious Diseases, 14(1), 1-20. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-284

Campbell, M. (2010). Technology in Healthcare: The Wave of the Future.

Ahdbonline.com. Retrieved 24 April 2015, from http://www.ahdbonline.com/issues/2008/may-2008-vol-1-no-4/350-article-350
by Robert F. Rich. Works.bepress.com. Retrieved 24 April 2015, from http://works.bepress.com/robert_rich/1/


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