I. Technology in the healthcare industry today and its impact The state of technology in the healthcare industry is that it is developing very rapidly. 10 or 20 years ago, you wouldn’t be able to find very many computers or technology at a typical doctor’s office. Most of the stuff was done with analog equipment and manual paperwork. Now, if you go into a doctor’s office, you will find it laden with advanced technical equipment and computer technology. You may not even find a pen or pad on the doctor’s desk! Technology has the ability to change the face of the whole healthcare delivery system and improve the quality of health and healthcare. Although there are many challenges that it represents, overcoming these challenges will lead to a more effective and better quality healthcare system in general.
First of all, the use of technology in managing the healthcare system is currently in the stages of being implemented to a great extent. There is a big push to standardize medical records, for example, in an electronic format. The government is currently offering incentives for those who convert over to and put in use some form of electronic medical records system (Versel, 2011). They are also putting into place penalties for those who do not by 2015 (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2011). In terms of the actual impact on the healthcare system, this shift to electronic records will not only reduce our premiums for insurance, but also streamline and speed up healthcare delivery twofold. It also cuts administrative costs for healthcare organizations and increases space, as they will no longer have to store bulky files or paperwork. They can replace all of that with digital records.
In the long term, this transition to digital records will benefit everyone involved in the healthcare industry; however, in the short term there will be increased costs for all of us. The reason why is because there will be associated costs in developing and buying the systems to house the medical records. Not only that, but the training associated with getting everyone up to speed on how to use the new medical records system is an effort that will take both time and money. There will likely be some resistance to the change, but overall, this is a development in technology in the healthcare industry that stands to benefit all parties involved once it gets up to speed.
Another way that technology is making an impact on the healthcare industry is in the treatment of patients. Complex microsurgeries and drug administration are a thing of the past. Now, a lot of the new facilities have specialized information systems and technology that utilize robots to administer medication and perform surgeries with a much higher level of accuracy than humans could do (Feder, 2008). Not only that, but technology and information systems are improving the treatment and diagnosis of patients for various diseases. We use technology to analyze blood and tissue samples, and also to take a look at internal parts of the body that normally would have required invasive surgery to diagnose and treat. This is clearly a move in the right direction for the healthcare industry in that the quality of care will improve without teaching human resources how to improve. We simply have to teach the human resources how to use the equipment and analyze the results.
Unfortunately, not every facility has the latest and greatest technology. The drawback to this improvement technology has brought is that not all facilities will be able to afford the new equipment straight away. There are even places in other countries that really need the equipment the most, but don’t have the ability or the resources to afford them. Often at times, patients will need to be transported to other facilities to get the treatment that they need, and end up worsening in condition or dying along the way. The technology that drives the healthcare industry does have the power to save lives,...
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