Table of Contents
Digital technologies have revolutionized the world in numerous ways through enhancing the transfer and storage of information. They enable the sharing of information from one individual to the other so as to improve the delivery of services and decision-making. The healthcare is one of the sectors that have benefited in a big way from the introduction of the digital media. Volumes of information are passed between the hospital administrators, doctors, nurses, supporting staff and the patients (Sarasohn-Kahn, 2010). The information helps the health professionals to learn about the patients and the available procedures. It also helps the supporting staff to liaise with the specialists and connect them with the patients so that they can give the correct medication and treatment services. Ultimately sufficient information helps the patient to be aware of the directions issued by the doctor from the satisfactory diagnosis done with the aid of the data they provide (Halvorson, Goldsbrough, Kent, Close, & Becker, 2012). Digital networks provide a medium through which information is stored and transferred. Therefore, it is necessary to establish laws and resources that will mandate the implementation of digital technologies in hospitals to enhance the provision of services in healthcare.
Strategies to reach the stakeholders
I will approach a particular legislator that has shown interest in the incorporation of technology in healthcare. I will then raise the concern about the need of enactment of a law that will mandate the installation of digital systems and supply of the accompanying devices in hospitals to aid the delivery of services. If the lawmaker is convinced that there is a significant reason for the changing of the law, they will present it as an amendment of a bill to the respective state or federal legislative House for debating and enactment to law (Dudley, 2010). I will present my argument in a face-to-face sitting with the chosen lawmaker where I’ll to explain to them about the benefits of modern communication and information systems in the handling of medical data and operations. I will also highlight for them the current situation of digitization of healthcare so as to identify the gaps and the way that they can be addressed. The US Constitution grants any citizen the right to participate in the changing of the law. Therefore, the primary sources of draft proposals for the change of the law include individuals or public groups, lobbyists, and members of the legislative assemblies or committees.
The legislative process in the US states is similar to the one in the federal system where both require the draft bill to be sponsored by a sitting legislator who will present the draft motion in the house for debating and ascension to law (Dudley, 2010). Therefore, I will liaise with the elected leaders that have the mandate of forming law through the activities of the legislative houses. They have the have the capacity to influence the formulation and the conditions provided by the various laws presented in the house. Also, they can propose amendments to a law so as to accommodate various changes in the environment. The legislature also debates and passes government budgeting, where they can also propose changes. The function will be relevant because they will be able to assign funding to the digitization of healthcare.
I will also conduct a meeting with the local administrator in the local government in-charge of healthcare to seek their support for the changes to the system to include modern technologies. I will provide to them examples of areas where modern information technologies have been successfully used to improve the treatment outcomes. The aim will be to get their support for such systems in hospitals so that they can push for the assignment of funds to install them.
Relevance of information technologies in healthcare delivery
Digital information technologies refer to the computer systems used to receive, process and transfer content in text, audio, video or graphical form. Therefore, it includes any information transmitted through digital platforms such as the internet, websites, social networking platforms, blogs among other means (Ventola, 2014). The incorporation of digital technologies in healthcare has led to the concept of connected health or technologically-enabled care (TEC) which refers to the convergence of health technology, digital media and mobile devices. TEC involves the utilization of technology to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care and support and enhance the results of the patients through the application of various technologies such as telecare, telehealth, telemedicine, mHealth, digital health and eHealth services (Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, 2014). TEC refers to the use of computer technology to ensure communication and interaction between stakeholders in the health sector to improve the results. They enable the smooth running of health services without unnecessary delays that would be caused by manual conduction of activities. The information systems support planning, control, coordination, decision-making and forecasting in hospitals for efficient functioning and the attainment of the healthcare objectives. The systems include resources to collect, store, analyze and distribute information within the various departments and levels in the institutions. They comprise of different devices and software, networks and databases that work together to convert data into information that is used to support the functions of a healthcare institution (Halvorson, Goldsbrough, Kent, Close & Becker, 2012). They enhance different practices in healthcare.
Integration of Digital Technologies in clinical practice or healthcare
Some of the ways that digital technologies are applied is through telemedicine, telecare, telehealth, mHealth, and eHealth services. Telemedicine involves the use of IT communication systems to provide healthcare services to people at a distance and to enhance their access to specialists and medical services. It enables communication and transmission of medical, imaging and health informatics data, video telephony, diagnostics and telemedical devices to support home care. E-Health refers to the transfer of healthcare services through electronic means. Health information is passed on through the internet and telecommunication technologies. The training and education of health workers are enhanced through IT systems and e-commerce so as to improve public health services (Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, 2014). Health information is passed on through the internet and telecommunication technologies to enhance decision-making.
Remote monitoring also known as home-telehealth refers to the use of technological systems to monitor patients through the recovery process out of the health center settings. Patients perform routine tests and then send the data to a specialist for analysis and advice. Historically, the practice was based on fixed-line technologies. Testing has also been enhanced through the use of bio-sensing wearable equipment that monitors an individual’s health status and performance and converts the data into outputs through the use of advanced connectivity and computer technology. Health specialists provide care to patients remotely through e-visits, e-prescriptions and remote monitoring that ensured through voice and video calling, teleconferencing, direct messaging and chat rooms(Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, 2014).With the advance in digital technologies, there has evolved more efficient ways for the HCPs and patients to communicate in real time for effective decision-making
Examples of clinical application
Health practitioners use devices such as iPads and smartphone devices to access information about the patients or to communicate with them at home. They use video and voice calling, teleconferencing, direct messaging and chat rooms to connect to the patients so as to attend to them no matter the distance between them. Such technologies enhance the outcome of the treatment process, make it more convenient and personalized, enable two-way remote monitoring and the improvement of the adherence to the treatment guidelines. Other apps like Patients Like Me that has more than three million users that present information concerning more than 2, 300 health complications and like 400 ongoing trials provide the health experts with an opportunity to timely access timely data (Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, 2014). The sharing ensures a better outcome for the entire treatment process. It derives from the experiences of the patients to develop the best course of action and the most effective treatment solution.
The digital technologies are also used to send electronic alerts to patients through direct messages, voice and video calls, app notifications among other strategies so as to remind them of the need to adhere to the prescribed regimens and therapies (Sarasohn-Kahn, 2014). Adequate adherence to medication helps the patient to get better while at the same time allowing practitioners and drugs manufacturers to have a better understanding of the prescriptions, their efficiencies and the way to utilize them.
Digital media technologies are used in different ways to enhance the effectiveness of medical services. Primarily, such networks allow a better interaction between the healthcare providers and the patients. They enable the easier access to information about the patients for effective decision-making about treatments. As a result, health experts can readily be informed about the conditions of the patients which enable them to develop the most efficient response. Modern information systems are preferable because they are secured through extensive security systems that prevent the access to confidential information by unauthorized individuals. The information is stored in databases where it is either encrypted or protected by passwords. Only the authorized personnel in the hospital can access such data through designated computers or other devices. The information is also backed to prevent loss of crucial health information. However, technological advancements are happening at lightning speed. Therefore, in a few years, there will be other advancements that will perform different roles in healthcare. As a result, there is the need to keep updating the systems so as to utilize the most recent and efficient systems.
- Dudley, S. (2010). Regulatory consultation in the United States. Washington, D.C. The George Washington University. Retrieved from https://regulatorystudies.columbian.gwu.edu/files/downloads/US_Regulatory_Consultation.pdf
- Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. (2014). Connected health: how digital technology is transforming health and social care. Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/life-sciences-health-care/deloitte-uk-connected-health.pdf
- Halvorson, G., Goldsbrough, P., Kent, J., Close, K., & Becker, D. (2012). The digital dimension of healthcare. Retrieved from The Global Health Policy Summit website: http://international.kaiserpermanente.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/The-Digital-Dimension-of-Healthcare.pdf
- Sarahsohn-Kahn, J. (2010). How smartphones are changing health care for consumer and providers. Retrieved from California HealthCare Foundation website: http://www.chcf.org/~/media/MEDIA%20LIBRARY%20Files/PDF/PDF%20H/PDF%20HowSmartphonesChangingHealthCare.pdf
- Ventola, C. L. (2014). Social media and health care professionals: benefits, risks, and best practices. PT, 39(7), 491-499. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103576/