The healthcare sector is one of the most important sectors that have been in place for as long as mankind has been in existence. For many centuries, every community had a healthcare giver who would attend to all the health-related issues in the community. However, over time, the method of collecting data and administering treatment, as well as outpatient monitoring has also changed.
Just as in other sectors, the advancement in technology has not spared the healthcare sector. Today, most healthcare facilities all over the world are incorporating technology in their infrastructure. One of the most significant technological advancement in the healthcare sector is the ‘Electronic Patient Records as well as the Sensor Networks for In-home Patient Monitoring.’ Most health facilities are moving away from paperwork based patient information; patient’s records are now being put in electronic format. This development has made it possible for patients to access their records from anywhere in the world by using the internet. Patients do not have to go to the hospitals for checkups because technology has made it possible for them to be monitored while at home through sensors placed in their respective homes. This has resulted in the reduction of medical costs and medical errors in the part of healthcare practitioners; therefore, making healthcare more personalized (Wager et al, 2009).
Even though technology focuses on bringing positive reforms in the healthcare sector, the process is facing some challenges, which are a source of concern to some patients. Private and security issues are the major challenges facing the use of new technology. Patients are concerned about the safety of their confidential medical reports over the internet. If the patients can access their records from the internet, then any other person can also do the same, which raises the question of who should be allowed to access the medical records. Another issue that is of critical concern is the security of the records. People are worried that their records are not safe because they can be hacked and compromised by hackers or other imposters. Hacking leads to the loss or distortion of vital documents that may have serious consequences (Ovretveit et al, 2007).
The future of HCIT in terms of software development, education, research, and practices seems promising if some issues pertinent to technology are considered in order to make the healthcare sector better. In terms of software development, a lot still has to be done to ensure that the records or the remote monitoring of patients run smoothly. Innovative measures, for example by developing software, are necessary to ensure that only authorized people can access the records via the internet. In terms of research, the medical field will be able to make great strides because most of the health research involves human beings. This means that the researchers will be able to monitor the people they are carrying out research on without having to visit them. In terms of practices, the quality of healthcare will improve, as there will be less room for medical errors (Thompson and Dean, 2009).
Healthcare givers will also be able to handle quite a large number of people at the same time through remote monitoring. Some of the challenges expected to arise might be the affordability of the remote monitoring devices. Some patients might not even know how to access their records. Some medical terms are not familiar, which means that if a patient is to access the records over the internet, it must be written in a manner that the patient can be able to read and comprehend. The data system would need to be able to handle immense traffic because very many people may log on to the internet at the same time to access their medical records; therefore, the system should be fast to avoid unnecessary delays (Eder, 2000).
Two ways that healthcare organizations perform marketing related data capture that does not violate any regulatory stipulations are through the administrative and claims data, and the health status and outcomes data. In addition, varieties of data related to the health sector are stored in different electronic health records (Bates, 2009).
The distribution of records across the healthcare sector is fragmented thus facilitating an opportunity for the people-offering healthcare to be able to access the information. In the future, some investment will have to be made to ensure leverage in accessing some very crucial data such as administrative, and clinical. A better strategy will have to be put in place to ensure that the gaps in both collection and use of data are reduced for more efficient health care service (Athey and Stern, 2002).
The healthcare sector has undergone tremendous changes; from the method of collecting data, storage of the data, and administering treatment. The way the healthcare givers attended to patients and accessed patient’s record has endured transformation because paper-wok based records are being phased out in the healthcare sector. People can access information concerning their health from anywhere in the world just by accessing them over the internet. Even though major strides have been made in terms of technological advancement, more need to be done to ensure the system works smoothly and much more efficiently.
Athey, S., & Stern, S. (2002). The Impact Of Information Technology On Emergency Health Care Outcomes. The RAND Journal of Economics, 33(3), 399.
Bates, D. W. (2009). The Effects of Health Information Technology On Inpatient Care. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169 (2), 105-107.
Eder, L. B. (2000). Managing healthcare information systems with Web-enabled technologies. New York: Idea Group Pub.
Ovretveit, J., Scott, T., Rundall, T. G., Shortell, S. M., & Brommels, M. (2007). Improving Quality through Effective Implementation of Information Technology In Healthcare. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 19(5), 259-266.
Thompson, S. M., & Dean, M. D. (2009). Advancing Information Technology In Health Care. Communications of the ACM, 52 (6), 118.
Wager, K. A., Lee, F. W., & Glaser, J. (2009). Health care information systems: a practical approach for health care management (2nd Ed.). New York: Jossey-Bass.
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