Healthcare IT Systems Are Improving Patient Care
Our modern healthcare systems have been around for decades. However, the Age of Information is a relatively new paradigm that seems to be evolving at an exponential rate, leaving the healthcare system scrambling to keep up. Some recent implementations in healthcare information technology promises to bring about some positive changes for both patients and the healthcare system. Read on to learn more about how healthcare IT systems are improving patient care:
Information Technology improvements. So what, exactly, are IT systems? Simply put, any computer programming and hardware that contributes to the operations of an entity are IT (or, Information Technology) systems. The United States government recently made an investment of over $25 billion into IT for the American healthcare system, as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. This has resulted in improved IT systems that have, in turn, improved the methods in which healthcare providers administer their services.
Advances in patient care. Just what types of improvements to patient care are these IT implementations providing? It seems that they generally center around improved methods of communicating and tracking patient care. When it comes to patient care, IT systems enable medical staff to track examinations, diagnoses, patient requests, and make more informed clinical decisions. The use of IT systems in healthcare is relatively new, so it is likely that we have only just begun to see the first of many positive changes in the healthcare industry due to technology.
Privacy protection. Before information technology changed the landscape of communication in healthcare, it used to be that that medical staff (doctors, nurses, administration, etc.) had to use verbal, visual, or physical means of communicating patient needs with each other. For example, if a patient in a nursing home needed to be toileted, a nursing aide might place a sign on the patient’s door, indicating the need, or inform the nurse in charge by mouth. This presented obvious challenges to patient privacy. Information technology allows medical staff the unique opportunity to communicate by means that are more respective of the patient’s privacy; for example, using the previous nursing home example, the nursing aide in this case would be able to put a request into a computer system and the nurse in charge would be notified electronically.
As you can see, information technology is changing the way healthcare is administered, managed, and documented, as well as the way in which sensitive medical data is shared among healthcare providers. While there is no way that technology can completely replace or invalidate the importance of face to face communication, it is plain to see that technology can dramatically alter how we view healthcare, and for the better.