Information technology transforming health care

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The new information technology being used in my health organization is a tele-visit. The organization has linked up with American Well and has been able to be interacting with the patients via video conferences as well as text messages online with the doctors and nurses on call. What this has done is not to decrease the number of patients the organization has but rather has increased them. This new initiative has ensured that patients are able to consult medical health services at all times and have their questions answered by experts they can trust (Athina, 2006).

Other than  increasing the number of patients, this new initiative has ensured that the patients with serious medical conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases or even respiratory diseases can schedule their appointments, have their prescription order refilled as well as have doctors available for questioning of their symptoms, advice on nutrition and constant monitoring of their vitals which is necessary. The rate of readmission has also been on the decrease as patients are able to capture any complications immediately and have it attended. They are able to show through video any swellings, infections or cuts that they may experience and hence taught what to do.

With this new innovation in technology and health, patients as well as the hospitals are in a better position to keep tabs of the patient’s health records that are much more detailed. Patients on the other hand are also able to learn about their bodies, health and even education on first aid for the adults and children as well (Athina, 2006).

Scheduling of appointments have been able to be much easier and less of a hustle as the patients using the online technology handle this part of the hospital requirements. Before the tele-visits were introduced in the hospital, most of the patients were able to have their schedules when they wanted to and especially if they forgot to call ahead and book the visits on time. With the new innovation however, patients are able to schedule their appointments the time they want them and this has increased their attendance and patient satisfaction as well.

The other area the online initiative has improved is when it comes to handling of the patients with critical health conditions and who need constant monitoring and cannot afford in-house nurse. These patients are able to have their symptoms and vitals monitored on a regular basis through the new innovation. Any changes that indicate their conditions is compromised necessitates the hospital to act immediately and call in the patient, change their medication or even suggest alternative forms of nutrition for them. This has reduced the hospital visits for these patients which are cumbersome, risky and expensive for most of them.

Lastly, positive changes have been seen in the increase in new patients that are a long distance from this hospital even though they need specialized services and care provided by the physicians in this health care facility. Using this new online initiative, these patients are able to receive care, have their questions answered and even receive guidance about their health.

There has been an increase in the number of health care organizations that have implemented the different forms of information technology. In other industries, information technology has been used to attract more clients, increase competitive advantage as well as improve their service delivery. This is the same thing that this innovation has provided to the health care industry. The online medical services have reduced the workload of patients in the health care organizations physically. This has ensured that the manpower in the organization is able to cater better for the patients that are currently in the hospital as well as have enough time to handle the online patients (Watkins, et al. 2012).

With specialization of services in the hospital, the team assigned to the online service delivery is given better education and training on how to handle such patients, reply in detail but in simple language they can understand about their health care and symptoms among others. It is also through the online service delivery that preventive care works at its best. When dealing with the diabetes patients for example, their readings on sugar levels is monitored as well as their diet. In case of any changes in the readings, then the nurse can simply advice on change in nutrition without the patient having to seek hospital services. Hospitals are therefore left with the handling of the emergency cases as well as serious medical conditions alone. This is better for patient satisfaction and offering quality medical care to these patients as well.

A successful IT transformation is indicated by patients responding to the online services constantly and even increasing in number. When the number of patients participating in the online discussion forum such as through sending of emails, scheduling, making requests about their prescriptions being refilled or even making video chats, then then it is an indication that this online IT forum is successful (HealthIT.gov, 2011). This is only one way of measuring success.

The other way to measure success is through the number of complaints being made by the patients engaging in this form of health care provision. If most of the patients complain about either delay in having their emails replied, the treatment being provided, or availability of physician when they make the video chat, then there is a problem with the IT. If the complaints for example per week are minimal and the number keeps on reducing, then it is an indication that the system is successful.

Lastly the success of the IT is indicated by the other health care organizations seeking to adopt a similar system and hence requesting for training or even advice on how they can successfully implement such a similar system as well. This is an indication that the system implemented in the hospital is successful to the extent that others want such a system to be put in place. All these are simply a few of the examples of a successful IT system and they transformation it can ensure that they take place.

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  1. Athina, L. (2006). Handbook of Research on Informatics in Healthcare and Biomedicine. New York: Idea Group Inc.
  2. HealthIT.gov. (2011). Patient portal increases communication between patients and providers. Meaningful Use Case Studies. Retrieved from http://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/blackstone-valley-community-health-care-case-study
  3. Watkins, N., Kennedy, M., Lee, N., O’Neill, M., Peavey, E., DuCharme, M., & Padula, C. (2012). Destination bedside: Using research findings to visualize optimal unit layouts and health information technology in support of bedside care. Journal of Nursing Administration, 42(5), 256–265.

 

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