Technology has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, but it must be implemented carefully and safely if it is to improve patient outcomes. Electronic Health Records (EHRs), telemedicine, and patient portals are promising healthcare technology applications.
EHRs may have outdated information on medications or allergies, telemedicine may cause delays in clinicians’ urgent requests for a specialist, and patient portals may give fraudsters access to sensitive data. The promise and pitfalls of healthcare technology are covered in the sections below.
Technology develops along with the healthcare sector. The promise of what technology can do for society and our health comes with this new era.
One of the most encouraging aspects of healthcare technology is its potential to enhance outcomes, lower costs, raise quality, and boost efficiency, patient engagement, and satisfaction while enhancing the patient experience and lowering hospital readmissions.
Overreliance on technology and lack of integration are two potential pitfalls of technology in healthcare. Technology is only useful when used with others. If you want your care team to be able to share data and collaborate more effectively as a department easily, you need to ensure they are all using the same systems (such as doctors and nurses).
Overreliance on technology and lack of integration are two potential pitfalls of technology in healthcare. Technology is only useful when used with others. If you want your care team to be able to share data and collaborate more effectively and efficiently as a department, you need to ensure they are all using the same systems (such as doctors and nurses).
Serious problems with patient care could arise if your system malfunctions or breaks down, as no one on staff would be able to access the patient’s information at any time during their stay at the hospital or clinic.
During this period, patients may see several doctors before being released back home after being successfully treated by medical professionals. These medical professionals specialize in treating specific diseases, such as cancer patients, who need chemotherapy treatments before their condition worsens without proper intervention from these specialists.
Healthcare Technology helps, but not always
Technology is not a cure-all in healthcare. There may be better options than this, but they can solve problems. The promise of technology in healthcare is that it will revolutionize the industry by enhancing patient outcomes while simultaneously lowering costs. However, there are pitfalls: organizations without adequate cybersecurity measures face serious risks from data breaches, security threats, and hacking.
Technology is Funded Without a Plan in the Healthcare Industry
Healthcare technology is funded without a plan, which may affect patients, healthcare professionals, and technology. A very common example is technology that a hospital has bought but isn’t using because it’s separate from the workflow or patient care. The result? No significant improvement in patient outcomes or cost savings (or both).
The Promise of Technology in Healthcare
Technology holds a lot of promise for the healthcare industry, which can become more patient-centered and improve patient outcomes.
Promise 1: Better Outcomes
The most recent medical information, easy access to patient records, and virtual training simulations that allow new doctors to learn from experienced ones are all ways technology can assist doctors and nurses in making better decisions.
Technology can also help doctors and nurses provide the best care possible for their patients by allowing them to communicate more effectively with one another while working on a case or procedure. For instance, sharing images of X-rays or CT scans between different locations where specialists may be needed (e.g., an operating room) will help everyone know what needs to be done next so that things can go smoothly and without any surprises.
Promise 2: Patient-Centered Care.
With the help of technology, patients can take an active role in their healthcare and can help patients make healthier decisions about their health.
Medication adherence, diet, exercise, sleep, and mood can all be tracked by technology. Thanks to technology, doctors and patients can talk more easily. Emailing medical records, live video chats with doctors, remote monitoring devices that track vital signs (such as blood pressure cuffs), mobile apps that remind people about appointments or refill prescriptions automatically without having to fill out paperwork each time they need something filled at the pharmacy counter; these are all examples of how technology helps patients take an active role in their healthcare.
Promise 3: Increased Productivity, Improved Quality, and Decreased Prices.
The promises are increased productivity, improved quality, and decreased prices.
When pondering over the promise of technology in healthcare, it’s tempting to concentrate on effectiveness. Decisions and information need to be accessed rapidly. However, there are additional ways in which technology can be beneficial:
Technology can boost quality if the right data is used to make decisions. Your health insurance provider might not pay for a costly test if one doctor recommends it but another disagrees with it (or only partially covers it). Doctors will be able to see what tests have already been performed and will thus prefer to save money by ordering duplicate tests. Additionally, they’ll know if those duplicated tests were necessary with accurate and up-to-date patient records available to all providers through the cloud or another central location.
Technology can also help hospitals save money. Many hospitals waste funds on equipment and services that aren’t required, like overprescribing medication or using surgical supplies.
Some Pitfalls in the Road to Better Healthcare
There are many obstacles in the way of technology’s advancement in healthcare, the first being that funding for technology is done frequently without a plan.
Another problem is that many organizations need the right people to implement new technologies based on evidence-based research and data-driven outcomes, as opposed to subjective opinions or anecdotes from those who have already used the technology.
Pitfall 1: Poorly Designed Medical Technology
The first pitfall is the improper application of technology. It’s easy to forget that while technology can improve healthcare, it can also harm patients. A patient from Florida died in 2017 after a robotic surgery tool pierced her heart.
While attempting to remove cancerous tissue from the patient’s lung, the surgeon accidentally drove the robotic arm through her chest wall and into her heart cavity, where it became stuck and tore through another part of her body while attempting (in vain) to pull itself out again.
This tragic incident illustrates how risky these machines can be. If not adequately tested or maintained after being used on other people, they can cause unwanted harm.
Pitfall 2: Unintended Consequences of Reliance.
The second risk associated with the use of technology in healthcare is overreliance. Overreliance on technology can result in poor judgment and unfavorable outcomes, such as:
- Diagnostic imaging for low-risk conditions that could be treated with non-invasive or minimally invasive techniques, like physical therapy or exercise;
- CT scans on patients who don’t need them, improper use of antibiotics, and refilling prescriptions without checking in with patients first.
Pitfall 3: Immediate Gains Bury Long-Term Problems
Although technology can be useful, it is not always the best option. In the healthcare industry, this is frequently done without a plan, which leads to temporary improvements that don’t address underlying problems or patient needs.
Many wearable devices don’t provide enough information for people to truly understand what they’re doing wrong or how they could improve their health outcomes. If they could see them clearly with enough information provided, it would enable them to monitor their health data and make better decisions.
Although technology in healthcare holds a lot of promise, it must be used responsibly and safely to improve patient outcomes. Overreliance on technology without a plan is the biggest pitfall along this road. Without careful planning and consideration of the human element of care delivery, we risk losing sight of what’s most important; patient safety and high-quality care delivery.