The quality of modern health care delivery can be significantly improved with the adequate utilization of patient care technologies (Cassano, 2014). The evolution of IT industry provided the basis for the continuous drive for innovation in the medical field. Health care organizations (HCOs) recognized the need for the development of new technological solutions to the existing problems in the clinical process a long time ago (Cassano, 2014). Nowadays, virtually every department of modern health care facility has implemented information systems for more efficient delivery of medical services. Numerous studies have garnered sufficient empirical evidence that testifies to the improvement of safety and quality of patient care with the emergence or computerized solutions such as tele-health, mobile laboratories, electronic health records and online appointment scheduling (Cassano, 2014).
One of the core elements of health care information technologies is the management of nursing documentation. Health care practitioners can benefit greatly from the use of information systems for synchronization and exchange of patients’ files, clinical and technical data as well as other records related to individualized care (Cassano, 2014). It could facilitate seamless flow of information between medical professionals thus enhancing the quality of health care and significantly reducing chances of error occurrence (Cassano, 2014). There are other reasons to implement patient care technologies such as shortages of health care professionals and rising costs of services (Kvedar, Coye, & Everett, 2014). Moreover, if the current trend of the growth of medical care costs continues, the annual national spending on Medicare and Medicaid Services might reach 20 percent of the country’s GDP in less than 10 years (Kvedar et al., 2014).
Telemedicine is the systematic use of electronic means of communication for transferring medical information from a health care specialist to a patient and vice versa. Telemedicine is the promising solution for managing patients’ illnesses and providing them better access to health education. The adoption of this technology might significantly improve the state of health of chronically ill patients who have limited access to health care. There are many applications for such technology; however, among the most popular ones are the transmission of test and analysis data, exchange of education and health promotion materials, consultation and long distance diagnosis (Huges, 2014). The patients living in rural areas with limited access to quality specialists might greatly benefit from the implementation of such technological solutions. Moreover, they can also be used to conduct web conferences between health care professionals for consultation purposes (Huges, 2014).
The spread of telemedicine promises the drastic changes in health care infrastructure. Namely, it can significantly shift the constitution of clinical workload and reduce the need for personnel (Huges, 2014). However, the opponents of telemedicine argue that rather than diminish the amount of work it redistributes it. I appreciate how informational technologies redefine the traditional role of health care specialist. Considering that the application of telemedicine is almost limitless, I find it challenging to manage ever-increasing adoption of new technologies that demand more technical sophistication.
Electronic Health Records
The mass implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) started with establishing new technological agenda for the National Health Information Infrastructure in 2004 (Huges, 2014). Although the technology is still in its infancy, it has already proven to be highly beneficial to the health care system. It makes the process of communication and collection and storage of data on patients’ health much easier thus contributing to better quality of medical care. The implementation of EHRs helps to increase the time health care professionals spend with their patients by improving the way files are being managed. Moreover, the use of automatic medical documentation significantly eliminates the possibility of data error in medical records (Chun-Ju, 2010). Furthermore, unlike conventional ways of storing information, EHRs allow the data to be remotely accessed by many health care professionals simultaneously. They can also be easily updated regardless of its amounts. Another significant benefit of EHRs is that they offer time effective process of managing information thus decreasing the average time of working shift (Chun-Ju, 2010). The data from the research conducted by the Institute of Medicine suggests that implementation and active use of EHRs could substantially reduce the costs of ambulatory care (Chun-Ju, 2010).
Even though there are many benefits to the adoption of EHRs, there are some negative implications to it as well (Simpson, 2015). The recent study suggests that automatic phrases that are being used for the purpose of simplifying data entry process could significantly obfuscate the clarity of the records (Simpson, 2015). Moreover, standardized features of the electronic documentation complicate the task of their revision: it oversimplifies the original thoughts of a care provider. My personal experience of working with EHRs taught me that screens are often positioned in a manner that prevents nurses from looking directly at patients. It could be improved by changing the ergonomics of working space location. However, I liked that admission information could be processed faster and with less chance of error that could have negative implications for the patient care.
It could be safely assumed that the growth of patient care technologies will increase in the following decades. The technological solutions to medical problems will provide reliable avenues for the increase of safety and quality or patient care. My nursing care could significantly benefit from the deeper understanding of such patient care technologies as telemedicine and EHRs.
Cassano, C. (2014). The Right Balance -Technology and Patient Care. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics, 18(3).
Hughes, C. (2014). The informatics and technology in professional nursing practice. Web.
Kvedar, J., Coye, M.J., & Everett, W. (2014). Connected Health: A Review of Technologies and Strategies to Improve Patient, Health Affairs, 33(2), 194-199.
Simpson, K. (2015). Electronic Health Records. MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 40(1), 68.