Current Use of Communication Technology in Healthcare
The issue of reforms in healthcare is at the peak of agendas that demand urgent address. Using technology is one of the most prudent means to reform our health care. Effecting this reform will assist to reduce healthcare costs and also serve to improve health workers productivity which are the significant factors that have been considered to spark healthcare reforms in America. This paper will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using current Information Communications Technology.
The introduction of computers in our clinics, hospitals and other private practice settings has enabled these establishments to work out more effectively and efficiently as more focus is now being directed to the patients care. Still, computers remain underutilized. With the current changes in aspects of healthcare paper technology has proven to be handicapped and thus on the verge of extinction. The most appropriate solution to this issue is thus embracing health information technology that will introduce change to the means of keeping and maintaining records.
Personal health records, electronic medical records, and electronic health records are the three key components of health information system. Personal health records grant access to an individual’s health information and give the capacity for them to share it electronically with the people they deem to. Electronic health records are shared with multiple medical institutions to provide an accurate medical history of a patient. This is important as it facilitates for sharing of patients information among the electronically. Electronic medical records that are being used currently are complete with an up-to-date medical history of patients all stored in a database that is accessible. This use of current information communication in health can help to better various aspects of the healthcare system. Also, it can facilitate access to accurate and complete patient information, assist in coordinating care means by which to safely and securely share patient information, lead to a decrease in medication errors and provide safe care at a more cost friendly price (Pincus, 2014, pp. 1–3).
Just like for the other scientific establishments a variety of ethical concerns have been fronted by the prospects of health information technology. Ethical concerns have arisen from the security of patient health records. An unsecured database could create room for health workers to search up for patient health records unethically. Information found in medical records is of great value. The health facility can use this information to obtain funds in the form of grants; insurance companies too can source this information to validate insurance claims. Privacy and security risks is an issue that may erupt due to hackers, identity theft, getting unauthorized access to patient information or corrupting stored patient information (Goodman et al., 2010, pp. 1–2).
Security is a problem of concern because the condition that the patient has could cause embarrassment to them, employees and insurance companies might source the information and use to strike off costly enrollees. Pharmaceutical companies would consider stored information on patient medical data very significant for marketing reasons. There are also legitimacy issues on whether or not the government should be granted access to patient’s data (William Saffady Ph.D., 2015, p. 1). For this reasons, privacy protection measures need to be instituted to enable patient to regain trust in the use of an integrated system for sharing of information. The owner of the patient information and who is granted power to alter it is the other contentious issue, though an old assumption holds that the healthcare provider owns the medical records and not the patient though this is subject to debate. This Information sharing is subject to risks of reproducing incorrect information and becomes difficult to trace and amend the errors on the part of a patient (William Saffady Ph.D., 2015, p. 1).
An issue of ethical significance that I have been encountered in my area of work is the loss of data. This is an issue that all institution’s that use computers are prone to facing. After all, computers are not all perfect are they too are bound to errors or loss of data. To check this data loses all the information fed into the computers should be backed up on a daily basis, to secure data loss even if individual computers get infected with malware or data gets distorted by persons that get unauthorized access. It therefore very patent that the implementation of communication technology in the healthcare set up must ensure that both legal and ethical reinforcements are looked into to prevent loss of data caused by technicalities in functioning, disasters, corporate financial implications and intended destruction.
The future of reform in healthcare rests upon the progressive use of information technology countrywide. The possible advantages that emanate from the implementation of this technological advances in health have proven that it is a significant aspect of the endeavor to better health care delivery in our health facilities. Despite the current concerted efforts to see to it that information technology in health becomes functional nationally, complete computerization has not been achieved though. As we proceed to make amends and advancements in technology establishing better means to make information technology cheaper to use in our clinics and hospitals could help better our healthcare.
1. Goodman, J., Gorman, L., Herrick, D., 2010. Health Information Technology: Benefits and Problems. Natl. Cent. Policy Anal. Wash.
2. Pincus, T., 2014. Electronic medical history (emh) data management system for standard medical care, clinical medical research, and analysis of long-term outcomes. 20140330578.
3. William Saffady Ph.D., F.A.I., 2015. Count the Cost: Quantifying Your Vital Records’ Risks. Inf. Manage. 49, 27.