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Technology’s Impact on Population Health
Technology’s Impact on Population Health
Innovation in technology has brought significant impacts on the healthcare system. Today, healthcare institutions are able to achieve efficiency in the delivery of quality care through the application of different technologies. Particularly, computer technology has led to the accessibility of data and information that are necessary for the delivery of quality and effective care to patients. Data capture systems, the internet, search features, and the ability of healthcare professionals to rapidly share information have been possible through the advancement in technology (Kumar et al., 2018). The innovation in technology has allowed healthcare professionals to remain on top of the healthcare trends, technologies, and techniques. Technology is commonly applied to identify risk factors and to determine the correct and most relevant preventative treatment through making a comparison of the patient data from thousands of other patients. Through technology, healthcare institutions have been able to significantly reduce costs and generally improve the quality of life.
Advances in technology have fed the explosion of wearable devices as well as patient self-monitoring. Nurses can leverage the above technology to promote healthy lifestyles and improve compliance with the self-care system and monitoring in different ways. With the increase in knowledge in technology, there has been the development of devices that are used to manage different patients. Specifically, there is increased development and application of the self-monitoring devices that are mostly applied among diabetic patients in remote areas to improve the quality of life. Nurse and other healthcare professionals continue self-monitoring devices to enhance the quality of care among the patients in home-based care. Additionally, nurses can apply wearable devices and patient self-monitoring to direct treatment processes and eliminate healthcare processes associated with healthcare-acquired infections. Through the application of different devices, healthcare professionals have been able to eliminate errors that are always associated with the healthcare delivery processes.
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Data is an important resource in different industries; it should therefore be captured and handled carefully to avoid falling into the hands of the wrong people. Healthcare institutions can capture and analyze data to inform different treatment processes. Data is commonly applied to facilitate evidence-based practices as well as research processes in the healthcare process. Therefore, while engaging in the collection of data, there is always the need to secure databases as well as devices to apply. Data can also be applied in the development of different programs that can be applied to treatment processes. The same data in the hands of health insurance plans could lead to higher insurance costs of denial of insurance. There is always the need for regulations on how consumer data can be used in healthcare processes and in other industries.
Regulations can control sharing of data and enhance efficiency in the operational processes. As consumers become more careful about the sharing of data, regulators often step up the privacy requirements. Some of the major companies and healthcare institutions are learning that data privacy and protection can lead to a business advantage (Edwards, 2018). There is a need for regulation in the sharing of data among consumers and different organizations. Data protection regulations often ensure the security of personal data. The security measures also ensure that there is the regulation of collection, application, transfer, as well as disclosure of the data.
Edwards, L. (2018). Privacy, security and data protection in smart cities: A critical EU law perspective. Eur. Data Prot. L. Rev., 2, 28. https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/edpl2&div=8&id=&page
Kumar, P. R., Raj, P. H., & Jelciana, P. (2018). Exploring data security issues and solutions in cloud computing. Procedia Computer Science, 125, 691-697. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877050917328570
Thank you Fatmata for your in-depth discussion about health care technology trends and I agree that the sector is evolving and embracing innovative ideas as well as implementation of evidence-based practices to enhance patient care outcomes. The increased use of telehealth as a health technology emanates from the need to expand services for patients in remote locations (Totten et al., 2022). Telehealth has been a prominent part of care delivery as the health system battles the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to reduce exposure to the infectious disease, especially among patients with terminal illnesses and weakened immunity (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018). Telehealth also improves quality of care and patient’s well-being.
Conversely, the technology entails risks as you observe, like coverage setbacks and lack of regulatory guidelines, particularly from federal agencies like Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Organizations are leveraging benefits of telehealth and this will ensure that more patients have access to healthcare services despite their location.
As you note, despite its risks and challenges, telehealth remains one of the promising technology trends that will define and influence care delivery for patients and improve nursing practice due to seamless exchange of information and better decision making for providers (Rutledge & Gustin, 2021). For instance, the use of telehealth in triage seems revolutionary but is possible while mobile applications can improve the intervention to help patients get access to their providers and monitor their status, particularly those with chronic conditions (Mishra et al., 2022). As you observe, telehealth will health providers and patients lower the overall cost of healthcare and improve interventions accessible to diverse populations. The implication is that these benefits will lead to better care provision, efficiencies and effective decision making for all stakeholders.
Healthcare Information Technology Trends
In my current organization, Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) has been utilized to remotely track patients in long-term care. For instance, a patient living with diabetes mellitus is assigned a remotely connected glucometer, which reads blood glucose levels, and the reading is sent in real time for review, storage, and decision-making. Besides, the hospital uses Telemedicine to review patients with stable chronic conditions. For example, a physician can hold a zoom meeting with the patient to review progress and modify treatment (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2022). The meeting is recorded and transcribed for medical records updating.
First, patients’ lack of technical skills can make both IoMT and Telemedicine difficult to accomplish. The patient should be able to operate technological devices and follow instructions accurately (Srivastava et al., 2022). For instance, if a patient incorrectly places blood on a glucometer strip, a wrong reading will be sent for review and subsequently, a wrong decision will be made. Next, continuity of care can be compromised if poor integration of records from both IoMT and Telemedicine is done (Chaet et al., 2017). There must be a competent system to combine information from the internet with the existing medical records to ease physician and nursing workflows.
Data Safety, Legislation, and Patient Care
Information obtained from IoMT, and Telemedicine is digitized records, which can be easily encrypted and stored for retrieval. This benefit improves data safety and rapidity of decision-making relating to patient care (Srivastava et al., 2022). Conversely, information obtained via the internet is prone to eavesdropping, espionage, hacking, and theft. All identifying information, voice, and videos need consent from the patient before they can be stored for use (Chaet et al., 2017). Breaching patient privacy and commercializing patient data may lead to litigation.
Promising Health Technologies
Both IoMT and Telemedicine are very promising in nursing practice because they ease nursing care. Information obtained remotely with patient parameters from IoMT devices can be used to adjust nursing management and patient education on health improvement and promotion (Srivastava et al., 2022). In addition, Telemedicine enables the nurse to remotely follow up with the patient, provide education, and modify current nursing management.
Contribution to Outcomes
Both IoMT and Telemedicine have been demonstrated to improve patient care outcomes. First, these technologies improve patient adherence to medications and treatment plans (Nelson, 2017). Since the patient is monitored remotely, it is an efficient and cost-effective approach since the patient saves costs related to transport and utilization of hospital facilities. Besides, both IoMT and Telemedicine decongest hospitals, which reduces long queues that delay the delivery of services (Nelson, 2017). Lastly, data management is easy because the data obtained is digitized and it can be recorded in health records in real time without having to manually type it or transcribe it from other records (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2022).
Chaet, D., Clearfield, R., Sabin, J. E., Skimming, K., & Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs American Medical Association (2017). Ethical practice in Telehealth and Telemedicine. Journal of general internal medicine, 32(10), 1136–1140. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-017-4082-2
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2022). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Nelson R. (2017). Telemedicine and Telehealth: The Potential to Improve Rural Access to Care. The American journal of nursing, 117(6), 17–18. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.NAJ.0000520244.60138.1cLinks to an external site.
Srivastava, J., Routray, S., Ahmad, S., & Waris, M. M. (2022). Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)-Based Smart Healthcare System: Trends and Progress. Computational intelligence and neuroscience, 2022, 7218113. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/7218113