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Phoebe Putney Healthcare System’s Business Problem

How Phoebe Putney Healthcare system in Albany, GA, Can Refine Rural Healthcare Through Telemedicine with the Use of HoloLens by Microsoft Technology

The Phoebe Putney Healthcare System is a non-profit group of physicians, nurses, medical professionals, and volunteers striving to provide high-quality care for Georgian residents (Phoebe Putney Health System, 2021). The System was created after Judge Francis Flagg Putney donated 25,000 dollars in the effort to establish a hospital for Southwest Georgia (Phoebe Putney Health System, 2021). One of the original main conditions of the Judge was for the hospital to treat all people equally, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status (Phoebe Putney Health System, 2021). The organization, active in all of the Georgian counties, provides continuous and consistent access to high-quality medical care for all.

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The Use of Telemedicine and the HoloLens by Microsoft Technology

The Phoebe Putney Healthcare System prides itself in being innovative and finding new ways to adapt to the changing world and overcome the existing and emerging issues. Telemedicine has been proven to be of enormous help in the cases of remote health care, such as in rural areas (Nittari, Khuman, Baldoni, Pallotta, Battineni, Sirignano, Amenta, and Ricci, 2020). One of the ways that the PPHS has advanced recently is introducing the TeleSitter and the TeleHealth, technology that allows doctors and nurses to monitor patients in the comfort of their homes (Phoebe Putney Health System, 2021). This approach revolutionizes traditional rural healthcare, as it overcomes the healthcare shortage typical for rural areas. However, the use of the HoloLens technology, in addition to the existing technological structures, would further refine rural health care in Georgia.

The HoloLens is extremely helpful in medical education, as it allows visualization of various concepts in front of the student. When used to explain diagnoses and potential risks and complications to patients, as an addition to the more traditional Telemedicine, HoloLens would help the aforementioned patients understand their conditions. Furthermore, it would aid the patients in assessing their own health conditions and educate them on the necessary preventive and healing actions. Most importantly, introducing the HoloLens would allow medical staff to be instructed about their actions in real-time, meaning that the more qualified professionals do not have to waste time on travel.

Business Problem

Limited Access to Health Services and Increased Health Issues in Rural Areas

The United States is a vast country, which inevitably leads to some complications related to resource access, specifically health services. Small towns are often scattered, which means that many rural residents have to travel for hours to the nearest hospital or grocery store. In Brooklet, southeastern Georgia, the only practicing doctor in Scott Bohlke has been practicing for over 20 years (Miller, 2019). The challenges that Dr. Bohlke faces every day, with the lives of everyone in the town on his shoulders, are not unique to Brooklet. According to Siegler (2019), as of the end of 2018, over 7,000 areas in the US experienced health care shortages. Furthermore, over 60% of the affected areas were rural, with some people having to endure a 4-hour round trip to receive medical help (Siegler, 2019). In some situations, quick and safe access to medical care can be life-saving. Furthermore, having access to medical professionals is likely to decrease potential health issues, as people are advised of beneficial life changes. Therefore, it is crucial to solving the issue of limited access to medical care.

Context of Business and the Business Problem

In today’s largely digitalized world, it is no surprise that medical services are also modernizing their ways and the way they appeal to the general population. Presenting the necessary information online, as well as providing individuals with 24/7 access to physicians and other doctors in the area, can potentially save lives. In this case, the largely rural Georgia needs alternative solutions to the shortage of medical staff. The introduction of HoloLens by Microsoft Technologies as one of the Telemedicine tools, in addition to the existing methods, can transform the quality of medical care. This would be done by reducing the pressure on the nursing and other medical staff since the patients would be able to self-assess.

Furthermore, according to Hanna, Ahmed, Nine, Prajapati, and Pantanowitz (2018), wearing the HoloLens provides the staff with real-time diagrams and instructions. This is crucial, as mentioned above, as it allows the more qualified doctors, that are often rare in rural areas, to remain remote from the actual patients. Such changes would be incredibly helpful to the issue of limited access to health care as they would allow more patients to be treated in the same amount of time. This would mean that the rural areas could experience an increase in health care quality and quantity.

Problem Analysis: Root Causes

As mentioned by Siegler (2019), over 100 rural hospitals have closed in the past decade. This decline means that thousands of people do not receive the medical care needed, often not willing to travel far to get to the nearest health care provider (Siegler, 2019). Some of the underlying reasons for these changes might lie in generational shifts. Most medical school graduates choose to continue practicing in the urban areas, where they are more likely to receive higher pay (Siegler, 2019). The appeal of the rural areas is extremely weak for the younger generations, with the costs and efforts of running small private practices often exceeding the benefits (Siegler, 2019). Furthermore, the pressure of being the only available doctor in town can be difficult, especially for young doctors hoping to balance work with at least some kind of a personal life. The use of technology such as HoloLens can be the salvation rural areas need.

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References

Hanna, M. G., Ahmed, I., Nine, J., Prajapati, S. & Pantanowitz, L. (2018). Augmented Reality Technology Using Microsoft HoloLens in Anatomic Pathology. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, 142(5), 638–644.

Miller, A. (2019). Fighting the Doctor Shortage in Rural Georgia. Georgia Health News.

Nittari, G., Khuman, R., Baldoni, S., Pallotta, G., Battineni, G., Sirignano, A., Amenta, F. & Ricci, G. (2020). Telemedicine Practice: Review of the Current Ethical and Legal Challenges. Telemedicine and e-Health, 26(12), 1427-1437.

Phoebe Putney Health System. (2021).

Siegler, K. (2019). The Struggle To Hire And Keep Doctors In Rural Areas Means Patients Go Without Care. NPR.

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