Healthcare Information Technology Trends

Trends in healthcare technology are ubiquitous. The ultimate objective of advancing technologies is to provide cost-effective and efficient health care to everyone. according to McGonigle and Mastrian, (2019), information systems, electronic documentation, and electronic health records changed the way nurses and physicians practice digitalization, influencing every aspect of health care. The healthcare field’s main trends are electronic health records ( EHR ), artificial intelligence( AI), precision medicine, Telehealth, big data, wearables, and mobile medical applications.

According to health IT (n.d.), an electronic health record is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. EHR’s are real-time patient-centered records the make information available instantly and only available to authorized users. While an EHR does contain the medical treatment histories of patients, the design of the EHR system goes beyond standard clinical data collected in add providers’ offices and can be inclusive towards a broader view of patient care.

Benefits:

The benefit of each EHRs is that it includes improved patient increases patient participation, improves care coordination, improves diagnostics and patient outcomes as well as patient efficiencies and cost savings. Ultimately, it reduces costs through decreased paperwork, improved safety, reducing the duplication of testing, and improved health. Meaningful use of the data and using it to improve patient care quality and efficiency by standardizing its documentation is essential in achieving that endeavor.

As per laureate education (2018), patients now have access to their health data and can communicate with their providers through portals. Patients can also use social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter to interact with each other and find a commonplace in their similar health issues. some patients even have mobile devices which they can use to track things like their diet, exercise, weight, heart rates, and blood glucose levels.

Challenges:

The main challenge of implementing EHR is the issue of interoperability. Reisman( 2017), states that interoperability itself is complex. The term refers to more than just the ability to exchange formation through EHR systems, that they must exchange and process the data. For this to occur, the message transmitted must contain standardized, coded data so that the receiving system can interpret it properly. The lack of standardized data has impacted the United States health care system for decades and now limits the ability to share this data electronically for patient care data safety is simply another challenge. Healthcare data security is an element of health care insurance portability and the accountability act’s rules. HIPAA-covered individuals must also implement appropriate administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronically protected health information. Cybercrimes like identity fraud, theft of financial card payment data theft, and sale of corporate data are the challenges faced by healthcare happen due to technology. Complications related to activities such as clinical documentation and electronic medical record administration limit a physician’s ability to offer more care. Misinterpretation of healthcare information and treatment options is a challenge among the many that we face today. Current challenges from increased access to medical data lead to polypharmacy, drug interactions, medical abuse or dependence, misdiagnosis, and the incorrect choice of treatment.

The healthcare technology trend that is the most promising for impacting technology in nursing is Telehealth and other apps related to it. Telehealth is a new and valuable element in healthcare. Hospitals and clinics allow patients to virtually video chat with a nurse or doctor (Western Governors University, 2019). With video, a doctor can have you stick out your tongue, walk around, and so on. Having a phone call with a mental health professional can be beneficial for a patient suffering from anxiety. Using video may help the psychologist observe body language or other visual cues. Electronic prescriptions are being sent to their respective pharmacies. Another advantage is that the health care providers can advise further testing or come in personally to see the doctor.

Telehealth helps patients and doctors by saving time and money, preventing exposure of sick patients going to public places, and exposing other patients in the process. This technology is changing the way clinics operate and how patients are being cared for. Moreover, medical apps and wearables help patients and doctors work efficiently, enabling them to retrieve patients’ vital signs electronically, removing the need to see them physically. Telehealth also contributes to health care by storing data that is relevant to each patient in a concise manner. Especially in patients with hypertension or diabetes, the data stored assists in tracking the disease process and creates better management of the condition.

                                                                       References

Ruiz ME.Risks of Self-Medication Practices.Curr DrugSaf.2010 Oct;5 (4) :315-23.DOI;10.2174/157488610792245966PMID:20615179

Health IT.gov. (2018). What is an electronic health record (EHR)?

https://www.healthit.gov/faq/what-electronic-health-record-ehr

Laureate Education (Producer). (2018). Informatics Tools and Technologies [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K.G. (2017). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4thed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Reisman, M. (2017). EHRs: the challenge of Making Electronic Data Usable and Interoperable. P & T: a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 42(9), 572–575.

Western Governors University. (March 1, 2019). Seven nursing technologies transforming patient care.

https://www.wgu.edu/blog/7-nursing-technologies-transforming-patient-care1903.html

sample 2

The use of advanced technologies in healthcare is on the rise. I have seen my facility use new mobile apps that patients can use to track their personal healthcare statistics, view their own EMR, provide feedback about the care provided and connect with their healthcare providers remotely. My facility also uses different technologies, such as a web in-service system, to disseminate education regarding new policies. With the use of technology, there are always risks to data security and the systems working properly. They must be user-friendly, so staff or patients can utilize the technology effectively. Skiba et al., conducted a study with several tools that can be used to evaluate mobile apps (2017).

Many healthcare technologies improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. I currently work in the trauma ICU. ICU patients are among the most at-risk patient populations for adverse events (Dykes et al., 2017). The biggest push for adverse event reduction that I have seen in my facility is medication scanning. Nurses must use the safeguards put in place, such as medication scanning, to ensure that the correct medications and dosages are being given to the correct patient. Healthcare organizations must strive to reduce adverse events because legislation has been passed that affects reimbursement for care provided (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017).

I believe that patient safety technology such as barcode scanning and mobile apps that allow patients to track health data will become very useful to healthcare professionals. This will allow informaticists to track data more easily and create knowledge and improve patient care.

References

Dykes, P. C., Rozenblum, R., Dalal, A., Massaro, A., Chang, F., Clements, M., Collins, S., Donze, J., Fagan, M., Gazarian, P., Hanna, J., Lehmann, L., Leone, K., Lipsitz, S., McNally, K., Morrison, C., Samal, L., Mlaver, E., Schnock, K.,…Bates, D. W. (2017). Prospective evaluation of a multifaceted intervention to improve outcomes in intensive care. Critical Care Medicine, 45(8), e806–e813. https://doi.org/10.1097/ccm.0000000000002449

McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2017). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Skiba, D. (2017). Evaluation tools to appraise social media and mobile applications. Informatics, 4(3), 32. https://doi.org/10.3390/informatics4030032

sample 3

The general health care trend today is the use of the electronic health record (EHR). It may be under different program software names, but the general concept and function is the same. The one we use is the Meditech system. The advantage of having an EHR system is that it is a real-time, patient-centered records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users, contain the medical and treatment histories of patients, and is built to go beyond standard clinical data collected in a provider’s office and can be inclusive of a broader view of a patient’s care (HealthIT.gov., 2018).

Patients are increasingly embracing electronic technologies such as patient portals offering current and past health statuses, lab results, and secure messaging with providers; social media interactions; health-related games; wearable technologies for tracking health; and health management apps (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). The good thing with EHR’s is that the information moves with the patient to the specialist, the hospital, the nursing home, the next state, or even across the country and are designed to reach out beyond the health organization that originally collects and compiles the information. They are built to share information with other health care providers, such as laboratories and specialists, so they contain information from all the clinicians involved in the patient’s care (Garret & Seidman, 2011). It is very important that the security of this information is installed. Sharing of information supports the health team effort in developing efficient patient care management. Skiba, 2017 stated that it is equally important to develop instructional materials for professional development for use by the current workforce and provide for review and evaluation of digital tools used by the patients. Health care needs informed health care professionals who can guide patients as they engage with various digital tools to improve their health (Skiba, 2017).

References:

HealthIT.gov. (2018c). What is an electronic health record (EHR)? Retrieved from https://www.healthit.gov/faq/what-electronic-health-record-ehr

McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2017). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Garrett, P & Seidman, J. JANUARY 4, 2011. EMR vs EHR – What is the Difference? https://www.healthit.gov/buzz-blog/electronic-health-and-medical-records/emr-vs-ehr-difference

Skiba, D. (2017, September). Evaluation tools to appraise social media and mobile applications. In Informatics (Vol. 4, No. 3, p. 32). Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.

sample 4

The Healthcare technology trend that I have primarily observed in my organization is electronic medical records. The electric medical records are essential in improving the efficiency of the patients’ care since it allows data collection of their details making it easy for the healthcare professionals. It is a chart that contains the medical history, like allergies and other underlying sicknesses, which makes it easy for the doctors dealing with the patient to know what is wrong. The main challenge that I have observed with our organization when it comes to using EMR is the involvement of multiple systems. EMR utilizes Medi Tech while the LDRP utilizes centricity, and you find that some healthcare professionals do not have accessibility to all the systems available (Mohammed, Mehrez, & Aladel, 2021). Another challenge is that the charts can only be used when there is an electrical power supply. A potential risk is cyber attacking, whereby some people can interfere with patients’ information. A potential benefit is that patient’s information is always recorded and updated based on their progress for easy treatment.

One of the healthcare technologies trends that I believe are promising is electrical medical records/charts. EMR has allowed the patients to check their health progress through their mobile phones wherever they are, which has been helpful. It has also been beneficial for medical practitioners when treating a new patient as they get an idea of what is wrong with the patient for faster and efficient treatment (Dugar, 2021). The second trend is telemedicine, whose popularity has risen, especially over the pandemic season, since people are avoiding contact with each other to avoid the transmission of COVID 19 (Chu, et al., 2021). I believe that the promise will lead to improvements in how the patients are treated and taken care of since information is available with a click of a button. For example, I usually prefer to check in my computer patient’s information rather than go through several files.

References

Chu, C., Cram, P., Pang, A., Stamenova, V., Tadrous, M., & Bhatia, S. (2021, April 5). Rural Telemedicine Use Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Repeated Cross-sectional Study. Journal of Medicine Internet Research, 23(4).

Dugar, D. (2021). Future of Electronic Medical Records: Experts Predict EMR Trends in 2021. Select Hub.

Mohammed, A., Mehrez, A., & Aladel, L. (2021, January). Investigating the impact of electronic health records on healthcare professionals. International Journal of Data and Network Science, 63-74. doi:10.5267/j.ijdns.2020.11.001

sample 5

A general healthcare technology trend I have seen used more, especially since Covid 19 is telehealth technology. If the patient knows how to navigate using a computer or smartphone, they can communicate with their primary or secondary provider without being in a clinical setting. I work for home care, and we serve some Veteran clients. The Veterans Administration (VA) will send the rurally located veterans a small tabletop computer to communicate face-to-face with the provider. The VA uses weight scales, blood pressure cuff monitors, and glucose monitoring systems with equipment sent to the veteran’s home that transmits information to the VA in real-time or weekly (U. S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2021).

The challenge to telehealth is broadband services, especially in remote areas. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report states, “America’s broadband builders are now trenching conduit, pulling fiber, and installing new high-speed cell sites at an unprecedented clip.” The FCC further reports “on March 31, 2020; the commission adopted a Report and Order establishing a three-year, $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program to help defray the cost of bringing telehealth services directly to low-income patients and veterans” (2020 Broadband Deployment Report, 2020). A potential telehealth risk is data safety. Any communications over the internet are at risk for interception and a target for cybercriminals. To protect oneself from the potential for protected health information (PHI) getting into the wrong hands, “healthcare providers should educate patients about cybersecurity and the steps they should take to improve the overall safety of their interactions online by” Pennic (2020)

● Educating patients about the telehealth security threats

● Using a VPN both during telehealth services and for general device usage

● Frequently updating all apps and operating systems, not just telehealth platforms

● Enabling anti-malware and virus scans to run all the time

● Restricting app permissions to what is necessary for app functionality only

● Recognizing social engineering and other types of cyber-attacks (Pennic, 2020).

I think the next big technological healthcare trend will be artificial intelligence (AI). Like using robots for specific surgical procedures. Health Tech reports using robots to decontaminate hospital or clinical rooms between patients by emitting ultraviolet lights to kill germs. Thermal cameras to detect temperatures of humans entering the building, and RDIF technology to track employee handwashing. Virtual reality to train healthcare staff (Joy, 2020) AI algorithms will save time, alleviate nursing shortages, and be more cost-effective in the future of nursing.

References

2020 Broadband Deployment Report. (2020, April 24). Retrieved 2021, from Federal Communications Commission: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-20-50A1.pdf

Joy, K. (2020, December 22). Healthcare Tech Trends for 2021: New Tools to Watch From robots to home-based care models, the past year’s wave of innovation is poised to continue. Retrieved 2021, from Health Tech: https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2020/12/healthcare-tech-trends-2021-new-tools-watch

Pennic, J. (2020, July 22). Telehealth and Cybersecurity: What You Should Know. Retrieved 2021, from HIT Consultant: https://hitconsultant.net/2020/07/22/telehealth-cybersecurity-what-you-should-know/#.YOYwvExOnSE

S.2197 – A bill to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to increase the Federal medical assistance percentage for States that provide Medicaid coverage for telehealth services. (2021). Retrieved 2021, from Congress.gov: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/2197?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22%5C%22telehealth%5C%22%22%5D%7D&r=1&s=2

U. S. Department of Veteran Affairs. (2021). Retrieved 2021, from Welcome to VA Telehealth Services: https://telehealth.va.gov/

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