The Impact of Technology on Medical Sector

In today’s market climate, the role of technology is one of the indicators used to determine an organization’s performance. Every aspect of human life is affected by the ever-changing technological landscape. Technology innovation has had a different impact on each segment of modern society. Communication, finance and banking, defense, transportation, and healthcare all rely on technology to operate their businesses. Though technological advances have impacted all industries, the medical and healthcare fields have been especially affected. The healthcare industry is continually faced with tremendous challenges, including increasing operating costs and increased employee workload. Such occurrences call for an effective and efficient Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) as the most viable solution to the problem (Fasano 33). Medical technology has seen advancement in bio-medical engineering, electronic methods of keeping data, and better ways of delivering healthcare to patients. Technological innovations in the medicine field have not only given doctors a better way of getting information on their patients, but also lead to specific personalized care (Hays, John and Van 9). Further, some studies indicate that if healthcare organizations invest in advanced technology, then there will be a reduction in medical errors, patient mortality rates, and enhanced financial performance (Fasano 33). This study shall analyze how technological advances revolutionized the medical fields and particularly areas that have improved.

Medical Sectors Affected by Technology

Technological advancement affects various sections under the healthcare system. The sections include:

Communication

Work efficiency

Research

Effective Treatment

Work Efficiency.

The new medical records model has reduced the time spent in retrieving required records pertaining to a patient or a disease being investigated. It has enhanced the seamless flow of information between the concerned parties since the information is readily available on the Electronic Health Records (EHR) information as and when needed (Hitt and Tambe 834). As patients’ records are well-kept in the Electronic Medical Record (EMR), it has improved the ability to make well-informed treatment decisions quickly and safely. Through EMRs, doctors exchange information concerning patients across the health care setting to allow critical patients have a more specific treatment plans and improved care (Kabene 7-8)

Medical technologies, for example, efficient monitoring systems and effective scanning equipment, allow patients to spend less time in recovery (Sridhar 38). Nevertheless, the tablets used in hospitals have optimized to run on medical applications to allow easier measurement of patient features such as temperature and heart rate (Riga 44).

Keeping of medical and health records has advanced from mere paperwork to electronic methods of keeping records. Electronic medical reports (EMRs) and electronic health records (EMRs) are taking over from the manual system, which is hectic. The new systems allow easier and quicker search of patients’ records when required. It is easy to record more information on a patient on top of the available one (Kabene 12-15)

Research.

Technology has enhanced the levels and speed of doing research. Currently, medical researchers can come up with effective ways of fighting infections more quickly and efficiently using technology. For instance, vaccines have been developed to prevent fatal diseases such as tuberculosis, swine flu, and tetanus quickly, and this is a research that could take long before the onset of technology in the field of medicine (Fesenko, Yatsenko and Brodin 147)

Genome sequence is another step that technology has been incorporated. This is the development of personalized medicine. This has increased creation of treatment plans for individual patients; thus reducing the costs associated with adverse drug situations and readmission of patients (Fesenko, Yatsenko and Brodin 151).

Communication.

Communication is a vital element in every hospital. It increases efficiency and effectiveness in coordination of various processes in a healthcare setup. Movement to respective places of need has been enhanced through communication.

Wireless communication-the introduction of wireless technology has also shaped up functions in hospitals. Beepers and overhead pagers are among wireless tools used in hospitals. They have improved internal communication in health care center. A system such as Vocera allows sending of confidential information such lab tests in a secure way (Greenberg 39).

Self service centers and portal technology-this allow patients where patients to fill in their data without talking to a medical representative. Not only does system boast of privacy but also comfort ability of patients. The centers have reduced costs of hospital staffing. They allow patients fill in registration requirements like checking their identity and signing of necessary paperwork. They have allowed patients to communicate with experts online. They have enhanced patients’ empowerment.

Telemedicine has become a useful tool in rural healthcare setting. Patients can receive assessment via video chat or Skype (Greenberg 40). This reduces time spent out of office drastically as it reduces the urge of leaving workplace to go to a heath facility.

Mobile health-Android phones and tablets nowadays do not act only as communication tools but also providers of healthcare tools where healthcare providers send and receive relevant information from their patients. They also allow patients to participate actively in their treatment through connecting for communication with biometrics (Greenberg 40)

Treatment.

The advancing technology has made treatment of patients easier in several ways. Modern surgery has greatly benefited from technology the cardiovascular and thoracic surgery fields are an example. Hospitals in association with technology institutions have come up with improved ways of surgery. An example of such technology is Robotic Surgery Simulator (RoSS)-It is an innovation that gives a real-world view of surgeries eliminating the need for invasive procedures to form a diagnostic (Thompson and Matthew 118). The RoSS gives surgeons a platform of learning about the risks involved and type of surgery before cutting open the patient (Fesenko, Yatsenko, and Brodin 146)

Robotic surgery allows for minimally–invasive procedures leaving patients with fewer scars and less recovery time. Due to improved technology in health, surgeries can be done by physicians outside the theatre room this reduces the hustle of patients travelling for medical care (Hays, John, and Van 11).

Wireless medical devices have also been introduced to assist in treatment. Medical devices implanted on the body using wires was a common site in the recent past, but with technology wireless other methods have been investigated such as ultrasound and optical. Implantable devices rely on important signals from implanted sensors to external equipment; the results are later used to guide a diagnosis on the patient. With these technological innovations complications due to wires (such as surgical complications, electrical noise and breakage during surgery) will be a thing of the past (Greenberg and Tamara 38).

The availability of CT scanners and x-ray machines has allowed a quicker detection of diseases by doctors. This has enhanced the right prognosis of a disease and right treatment for the right disease. This prevents cases of readmission of patients and wrong medication which is fatal to the patients (Fesenko, Yatsenko and Brodin 145-147).

Counterarguments

Technology in the medical field would have brought positive impacts but we cannot overlook its disadvantages.

The wireless technology has brought in a number of uses from the x-ray sector to the communication process in health facilities. These activities cannot function well in the absence of power. They are prone to fail in case of power outage. They require constant upgrades to enable them function efficiently (Riga 80-82).

Mobile clinics are cost savers. Their access to marginalized areas has benefited patients in such regions from educating them to offering low cost medical services. However, in relation to Riga, they are prone to mechanical failure. Other places are so remote to the extent of being completely inaccessible by vehicle. These factors limit the effectiveness of healthcare delivery that mobile clinics intend to achieve.

The internet reliant appliances used in hospitals such as mobile health systems or other interlinked system are prone attacks by viruses, malware or harmful software this could cause detrimental impact on information stored online and could even alter the way medical equipments work. In case of any technical hitches in patients’ medical processes maybe delayed causing complications or even death. This undesired outcome can be curbed through regular checkups and inspection of the systems to ensure no system failure (Riga 64).

Besides the advanced technology being an important aspect in the medical field it’s too expensive for most people as the medical cost increases (Kabene 61). Its usage is highly beneficial but the installation costs and maintenance costs are highly discouraging.

The e-health tools are highly efficient in linking up patients to doctors. They have also reduced employment in hospitals as no personnel is given the role of registering patients. Moreover, there is reduced patient-doctor contact. This reduces human interaction in the medical facilities (Sridhar 46). It also lacks personal appeal and may deter relevant feedback from questions asked.

Limitations of the Study

Although the research has reached its required aims, there were some unavoidable limits to it. First, because of time limit, this research was done hurriedly and conducted using few hospitals as case study. Therefore, for better results, the research should have involved more health centers and hospitals from around the country and thus more time to carry out the research. Second, data obtained was from hospitals with advanced equipment while little research was done in smaller hospitals or those in the suburbs, hence for a more detailed results sample from every type of health center should be taken. Finally, it was difficult to collect data from areas of restricted access like the intensive care unit; this is because this area is restricted from non hospital staff to prevent patients from getting contaminations that could complicate their conditions. For future research, researchers should come up with ways of getting information from such places.

Conclusion

Technology surrounds the human race. The impacts of technology are far more felt than its shortcomings. Technology has helped everybody in the healthcare sector from doctors and nurses to patients. Medical technology has experienced a revolution in its procedures, processes, and largely, the medical equipment. The technology has:

Increased work efficiency in healthcare facilities such as hospitals.

Improved communication between the medical practitioners and the patients

Improved treatment services of the critical and non-critical patients.

Enhanced research in the medical field.

Technology should be embraced far and wide for its positive impacts in the healthcare sector.

Works Cited

Fasano, Philip. Transforming health care : the financial impact of technology, electronic tools, and data mining. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2013. Print.

Fesenko, Olena, Leonid Yatsenko, and Mikhaylo Brodin. Nanomaterials Imaging Techniques, Surface Studies, and Applications: Selected Proceedings of the Fp7 International Summer School Nanotechnology: from Fundamental Research to Innovations, August 26-September 2, 2012, Bukovel, Ukraine. New York, NY: Imprint: Springer, 2013. Internet resource.

Greenberg, Tamara M. C. The Psychological Impact of Acute and Chronic Illness: a Practical Guide for Primary Care Physicians. New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, 2007. Internet resource.

Hays, John P, and Leeuwen W. B. Van. The Role of New Technologies in Medical Microbiological Research and Diagnosis. Sharjah: Bentham Science Publishers, 2012. Internet resource

Hitt, Lorin M. and Prasanna Tambe. “Health Care Information Technology, Work Organization, and Nursing Home Performance.” ILR Review, vol. 69, no. 4, Aug. 2016, pp. 834-859. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1177/0019793916640493.

Kabene, Stefane M. Healthcare and the effect of technology : developments, challenges and advancements. Hershey, PA: Medical Information Science Reference, 2010. Print.

Riga, Marina. Impact of Medical Errors and Malpractice on Health Economics, Quality, and Patient Safety. Hershey: IGI Global, 2017. Internet resource.

Sridhar, Divya S. Impact of healthcare informatics on quality of patient care and health services. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2013. Print.

Thompson, Steven M. and Matthew D. Dean. “Advancing Information Technology in Health Care.” Communications of the ACM, vol. 52, no. 6, June 2009, pp. 118-121. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1145/1516046.1516077.

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