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The Impact of Technology in Healthcare

The Impact of Technology in Healthcare - AIMS Education

There are no two ways about it: technological developments in healthcare have saved countless patients and are continuously improving our quality of life. Not only that, but technology in the medical field has had a massive impact on nearly all processes and practices of healthcare professionals.

In this article, we look at the benefits and disadvantages of technology in healthcare and their relationship to both patients and professionals alike.

Digitalization of Health Records

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) replacing outdated paper records has been a massive game changer for everyone in the medical world. Medical assistants to medical coding professionals to registered nurses are just a handful of roles that have been impacted by this industry-wide implementation.

Nurses and technicians are responsible for inputting patient data into a central, digitized system. Medical billers and coders appointments update patient records with diagnostic codes (such as test results) and submit medical claims to insurance companies.

Not only can patients access their records at the click of a button, but it’s also ensured that mistakes are caught more quickly (without needing to pore over unreadable physicians’ handwriting).

Among the many benefits that electronic health records have brought to healthcare include:

Greater Patient Care

EHR - AIMS Education

EHR can automatically alert the treating physician to potential issues (such as allergies or intolerances to certain medicines). EHRs can be accessed from nearly any medical facility, which is extremely useful for doctors assessing non-local patients (and crucial if the patient is unresponsive).

Improved Public Health

EHRs provide invaluable data to clinical researchers, helping to advance medical knowledge and the development of treatments for common health problems (like viral outbreaks).

A standardized health IT system can provide insights into how widespread an outbreak is, enabling preventative measures (such as increased flu shot production) to be put in place much more quickly.

Ease of Workflow

Medical billers and coders are some of the most-impacted allied health workers, and – according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – demand for this sector is expected to increase by 13% from 2016 to 2026. The introduction of EHRs has only made life easier for medical billers and coders.

Entering data into a computerized system is much less time-consuming than paper-based methods, and it reduces the risk of errors in patient data and financial details. Accessing patient records digitally also allows medical coding experts to work from home, increasing efficiency and productivity.

Lower Healthcare Costs

According to a study from the University of Michigan, shifting from paper to electronic health records reduced the cost of outpatient care by 3%. These researchers estimated this as $5.14 in savings per patient each month. In a large city hospital network, that amount is incalculable.

Disadvantages of Electronic Health Records

Theoretically, shifting to EHRs should change everything for the better. Unfortunately, there are some kinks that still need to be ironed out. Rather than a records system that works fluidly, many networks lack interconnectivity, which means that many don’t have the ability to communicate between one another. Sometimes, this lack of communication can put patients’ health in danger.

Big Data and The Cloud

Big Data and The Cloud - Medical Records

‘Big Data’ is the buzzword of the digital age, and often intertwined with electronic health records. The term refers to enormous amounts of data which are collected, processed, and used for analytics.

When analyzed by data experts, this information has multiple benefits, such as:

  • Reducing healthcare costs
  • Predicting epidemics
  • Avoiding preventable deaths
  • Improving quality of life
  • Reducing healthcare waste
  • Improving efficiency and quality of care
  • Developing new drugs and treatments

Healthcare collects and stores huge amounts of data every single second (one research study can amount to 100 terabytes of data), so these facilities require expandable, cost-effective, and safe storage solutions. This is where The Cloud comes in.

The Cloud then uses hardware and software to deliver services across the internet. Healthcare professionals and patients are both able to access certain data and use applications from any internet-enabled device – anywhere in the world.

Better and Safer Data Storage

Cloud computer technology allows for masses of information to be stored at an unbelievably low cost, all without the limitations (and expense) of additional hardware or servers. With an increased reliance on EHR systems, Cloud storage protects against the loss of sensitive data with strong backup and recovery services.

Improved Access to Big Data

The Cloud is an invaluable tool for medical research and sharing medical information. Back in 2014, it was primarily used to exchange health information and store data, but by 2016, its capabilities were better understood. From mobilizing workforces to sharing big data to improve the accuracy of research studies, this full range of functions is changing the medical landscape.

Dangers Associated with Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

We can’t deny the many advantages of technology in healthcare, but as with all tech breakthroughs, there are a handful of issues that require attention

Centralized Data Point

While having a central point for all data information is extremely useful, overdependence may result in serious repercussions if there are connectivity or bandwidth problems.

However, the main concern rising from Cloud computing technology and increased mobile use is security and data protection.

The Risk of Medical Records Hacking

The Risk of Medical Records Hacking

In 2015, hackers stole records for almost 80 million Anthem customers and employees, the second-largest health insurance company in the US. Only names and addresses were stolen, (no details of illnesses or treatments were exposed), but if this can occur to an insurance giant such as Anthem, it raises questions about how safe patient records really are in your local clinic.

Patient records are apparently big business, with stolen health credentials fetching upwards of $10 each – about 10 or 20 times the value of a credit card number. The information on these records can then be used to create fake IDs (to purchase medical equipment/drugs or submit false insurance claims).

Information and Communication Technology

Information and Communication Technology

As of 2019, approximately 95% of Americans have a mobile phone of some kind, and like any sector, healthcare has had to transform its processes to connect with people easily and efficiently.

Information and communication technology (ICT) link healthcare professionals – as well as professionals with patients. Email, smartphones, telemedicine, and telemonitoring systems are all used to share information and are especially useful for more rural areas and locations with a lack of facilities and/or specialists.

From diagnostics to management, counseling, education, and support, there’s seemingly no end to custom healthcare software development.

Disadvantages of Information and Communication in Healthcare

While these technological developments offer countless benefits, the number one concern revolves around increasingly impersonal patient-doctor interactions. Studies, however, state that artificial intelligence might be able to free up a doctor’s time, affording them more time to interact with their patients. Only time will tell, but the data is promising.

 

Telemedicine

The terms ‘telemedicine’ and ‘telehealth’ can be used to refer to two-way video consultations (or the transmission of healthcare data like electrocardiograms). Telemedicine can be used in many fields, especially in a sector like cardiovascular healthcare.

Telemonitoring technology can monitor vital signs, symptoms, and even blood levels from a remote location. Future cardiac monitor technicians will be happy to learn that AliveCor is developing a device to detect potassium blood levels to prevent hyperkalemia. Though not yet approved by the FDA, this is a perfect example of how technology is meeting the needs of at-risk patients.

What Are The Benefits of Telemedicine?

Telehealth is improving allied healthcare jobs, including some of the top-paying roles in the field. The implementation of these telemedicine options means fewer patients in waiting rooms and less pressure on front desk teams.

Other benefits include:

  • Shorter patient waiting times
  • Improved access in rural areas
  • Improved efficiency, leading to savings

Mobile Health

Mobile Health

Mobile health (or ‘mhealth’) refers to healthcare and medical information that’s supported by mobile technology. In 2015, approximately 80% of physicians used mobile devices and medical apps, and 25% applied them to providing patient care.

The Advantages of Using Mobile Equipment

From accessing a patient’s EHR, reviewing medical histories, writing follow-up emails, and sending prescriptions to pharmacies, smartphones allow practitioners to complete tasks from nearly everywhere in the world.

Improved communication aids the role of medical billers, allowing them to send text message alerts about payment schedules and outstanding bills. Mobile communication can also cut down on snail mail, paper use, and unnecessary time spent on phone calls.

The Disadvantages of Mobility

Even with the most advanced technology, human error can’t be erased completely. Mobile devices can be easily lost or stolen, and they’re also vulnerable to hacking, malware, and viruses (especially if the devices are used on unsecured internet connections).

Mobile App Technology in the Medical Field

Mobile App Technology in the Medical Field

There’s an app for almost everything these days, and healthcare apps are constantly being developed for both healthcare and patient use. As one of the fastest-growing markets in mobile application development, there are a plethora to choose from – perhaps the greatest downside!

What Do Mobile Health Apps Do?

Mobile health apps offer greater flexibility to all parties. They’re one of the most inexpensive ways for facilities to provide stronger services to their patients.

Some work to create better health awareness while others facilitate communication between patient and care providers. Some of the areas that ‘mhealth’ apps assist with include:

  • Chronic care management
  • Medication management
  • Medical reference
  • Diagnostics
  • Personal health records
  • Women’s health
  • Fitness and weight-loss
  • Mental health

The Verdict on Healthcare Technology

Despite the obvious concerns (and even dangers), the importance of technology in healthcare means that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

If you’re interested in starting a fast-paced career with hands-on experience in healthcare technology, check out the 8 Healthcare Certificates you can gain in 1 year or less!

24 thoughts on “The Impact of Technology in Healthcare

  • kush says:

    nice info useful

  • culo says:

    Seriously? Where are the comments, someone comment PLEASE!

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    […] The Impact of Technology on Healthcare – AIMS EDUCATION. Technology today affects every single aspect of modern society. In fact, there isn’t an industry out there that hasn’t been affected by the hi-tech revolution. Whether we are talking about transportation, communication, security, banking or healthcare, they all rely on technology in one way or another. But nowhere is this immense impact more apparent than in the field of medicine and healthcare. Technological breakthroughs are revolutionizing the way healthcare is being delivered.Modern technology has changed the structure and organization of the entire medical field. From widespread adoption of electronic medical records, to advances in bio-medical engineering and technology, modern healthcare and its delivery methods are changing at an ever increasing rate. […]

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  • Adam says:

    This helped me with my ninth grade Health assignment.:)

  • Emerging Technologies in Healthcare says:

    Emerging technologies are helping organizations implement cost-effective healthcare software solutions on a global scale. These new technologies will change the future of healthcare and impact several areas such synthetic biology, 3D printing and diagnostics.

    1. Enhanced Care:
    2. Digital Patient Experience:
    3. Talent Development:
    4. Operational Efficiencies:

    • ebrahim says:

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  • James Barnes says:

    Bianca Banova, thank you for sharing this blog. Technology has indeed brought about a drastic transformation in the healthcare sector. It has simplified time management and space management for healthcare professionals. It has also taken the healthcare industry to the next level. Thank you for sharing this post.

  • CME says:

    It’s amazing to look back and see just how far our world has come technologically. If someone from 100 years ago suddenly found themselves in today’s world, they would think they had been teleported into another dimension

  • Tim Yaotome says:

    It is interesting to know that technology and healthcare have benefitted each other in a way that would help “implement cost-effective solutions on a global scale.” Aside from the advancements with regards to medical data that you have mentioned in your article, another advancement in medicine using technology is the introduction of new medical equipment tasked to either improve how to get patient health data or create a new medical treatment to improve a patient’s health. I am glad that the field of medicine and technology has already taken leaps and bounds in order to benefit from not only each other but also to human kind as well.

  • retired MD says:

    EHRs are the major factor
    leading to physician burnout. I spent considerably more time generating an EHR encounter note as I did talking with and examining each patient. The EHR mandate was the primary reason for my early retirement last year.

  • David Sandberg says:

    This article is a joke. EHR doesn’t help work flow or reduces cost. It does the complete opposite. Garbage in garbage out as they say.

  • Dave Anderson says:

    That is really cool that practitioners can use mobile devices to complete tasks in other locations. That is something that I think would prove to be useful so that they don’t have to drag a clipboard around with them. Then they wouldn’t have to wait to enter medical care information on the computer.

  • Traveler905 says:

    In order to meet the demand to see more and more patients, provide the documentation to satisfy the bean counters and finish at a reasonable amount of time each day, providers spend most of every patient encounter typing on a keyboard. This frustrates patients and providers alike. Add to that the innumerable “tasks” like Med refills, prior authorizations and patients that need to be called everyday and you can see why the EMR has contributed to physical burnout.

  • Judith Higbee says:

    I have noticed on my MD visits the MD looks more at the computer screen than the patient…how does that help…DX is a complex thing..it should be patient centered not tech centered…we need to bring all this onto balance

  • Louise casino says:

    I worked many years as a nurse computers slow you down and gathering info is helpful but the pt.gets less time and your on the computer in front of them appears less professional not good to chart in an emergency after All your focus is on the pt saving life.chart later after verbal report.

  • Mustafa Yacoob says:

    Technology impacts diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. The business side is also impacted heavily through the increasing use of software to handle multiple processes. I think we are very much in a transition period that will last several years or more than a decade possibly. Thanks for sharing.

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