Discussion: Healthcare Information Technology Trends
Throughout history, technological advancements have appeared for one purpose before finding applications elsewhere that lead to spikes in its usage and development. The internet, for example, was originally developed to share research before becoming a staple of work and entertainment. But technology—new and repurposed—will undoubtedly continue to be a driver of healthcare information. Informaticists often stay tuned to trends to monitor what the next new technology will be or how the next new idea for applying existing technology can benefit outcomes.
In this Discussion, you will reflect on your healthcare organization’s use of technology and offer a technology trend you observe in your environment.
Reflect on the Resources related to digital information tools and technologies.
Consider your healthcare organization’s use of healthcare technologies to manage and distribute information.
Reflect on current and potential future trends, such as use of social media and mobile applications/telehealth, Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled asset tracking, or expert systems/artificial intelligence, and how they may impact nursing practice and healthcare delivery.
By Day 3 of Week 6
Post a brief description of general healthcare technology trends, particularly related to data/information you have observed in use in your healthcare organization or nursing practice. Describe any potential challenges or risks that may be inherent in the technologies associated with these trends you described. Then, describe at least one potential benefit and one potential risk associated with data safety, legislation, and patient care for the technologies you described. Next, explain which healthcare technology trends you believe are most promising for impacting healthcare technology in nursing practice and explain why. Describe whether this promise will contribute to improvements in patient care outcomes, efficiencies, or data management. Be specific and provide examples.
The use of telehealth has dramatically increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The need for social distancing to decrease the spread of the virus has impacted how we look at healthcare. Telehealth provides healthcare and health information through multiple technological systems such as the telephone, videophone calls, and the computer (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). Working in a cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU), our surgeons perform open-heart surgeries daily during the week. Some of these surgeries are urgent or emergent, and pre-operative workups can be done in the hospital or not at all. However, in most cases, our patients come in for surgery from getting an outpatient pre-operative workup. Most of their workup is now being done via telehealth appointments.
Often our patients are older and are not as up-to-date with the rapidly growing technologies being used more regularly. Telehealth poses a challenge for older patients who are either unable to use and understand the technology or do not have the technology to support the telehealth platforms. In a 2013 study looking at how the older population views telehealth technology, the participants expressed their personal health information being hacked or seen by unauthorized persons (Cimperman, Brenčič, Trkman, & Stanonik, 2013).
Data breaches and the potential for unauthorized people to see personal health information is a considerable risk associated with telehealth. The 2013 study also mentioned that the older population’s primary resource for technological support is their family members, but most wanted their family to access limited health information (Cimperman, Brenčič, Trkman, & Stanonik, 2013). Since telehealth can provide so much health information such as test results and text messages to and from your physician, it can be risky to have that information exposed. However, having access to that information can also be viewed as a benefit. With telehealth, patients can real-time chat with medical staff, chat via phone or video chat, and use remote monitoring (Telehealth.hhs.gov, 2021). Telehealth is also very cost-effective and saves patients on travel time. Telehealth has changed significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic, and new laws continue to change the way it functions. Recent laws now allow physicians to use more popular video chat applications such as Skype or Facebook Messenger video chat, making telehealth easier for some patients (Telehealth.HHS.gov, 2021). I believe the electronic health record (EHR) is the most promising for impacting healthcare technology in nursing practice. Having a patient’s health record in a digital format provides easy access for nursing staff to see previous health information and easily add new data to the patient’s chart for future reference. This way, health information is not as easily lost as it was with paper charting. Information can be shared instantaneously with multiple providers involved in the patient’s care. As a nurse, documenting and filing new data is much more organized and more accessible, allowing the nurse to spend more time at the bedside. Because of these reasons, having EHRs dramatically continues to improve patient care outcomes, efficiencies, and data management.
Cimperman, M., Brenčič, M. M., Trkman, P., & Stanonik, M. D. L. (2013). Older Adults’ Perceptions of Home Telehealth Services. Telemedicine and E-Health, 19(10), 786–790. https://doi.org/10.1089/tmj.2012.0272
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2017). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Telehealth.HHS.gov. (2021, May 19). What is telehealth? | Telehealth.HHS.gov. https://telehealth.hhs.gov/patients/understanding-telehealth/?gclid=CjwKCAjw_o-HBhAsEiwANqYhp11CR4OTX65JuJK3by8oakcNj0oBzZxgK_qQDXnumAA4DO0yGeMu5RoC90gQAvD_BwE
By Day 6 of Week 6
Respond to at least two of your colleagues* on two different days, offering additional/alternative ideas regarding opportunities and risks related to the observations shared.
Telemetry had me stumped in nursing school. Could it be because I do not like math? Kudos for working in the intensive care cardiac unit. I suppose some of your patients utilized telehealth via home cardiac monitoring before surgery. Just wondering how often you must deal with pediatrics. An article uses telehealth home monitoring called REACH to keep in touch with parents of infants with complex congenital heart disease who received surgery with their first 21 days of life. However, in a 4-month trial of testing REACH, stress between the two parenting groups was equal, and the results concluded that using the REACH telehealth system did not improve parent or infant outcomes (Medoff Cooper, et al., 2020). I can imagine, in this case, that telehealth would not significantly improve as parents would be too worried about their child to appreciate it.
The legislation created the Expanded Telehealth Access Act, which expands the types of providers that can recoup Medicare costs when providing care using telehealth (REPRESENTATIVES SHERRILL, MCKINLEY REINTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO INCREASE ACCESS TO TELEHEALTH SERVICES., 2021). Telehealth is especially important during the Covid crisis pandemic. So many seniors living at home and not living in assisted living facilities or nursing homes were at high risk, as we all found out later. This technology is crucial if they do not need emergent care and can video conference with their primary provider via telehealth.
As you mentioned, technology is complicated for the senior population. However, one college is doing something about it. Randolph Community College in Asheboro, North Carolina, offers courses to teach seniors basic computer skills, such as Zoom. They are also offering beginning computer classes for further computer skill learning (Floyd, 2021). Computer courses are sweet, and I bet more than just this community college is jumping on this bandwagon. Video conferencing with family was so important during this pandemic as many people were isolated. I know that there were more suicides than average in my area due to lack of jobs, social distancing, and lack of consistent communication of proper techniques to prevent catching the virus.
Floyd, C. (2021, April 17). Community college teaching seniors basic computer skills. Retrieved 2021, from Spectrum News 1: https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nc/triad/news/2021/04/17/community-college-teaching-seniors-basic-computer-skills
Medoff Cooper, B., Marino, B. S., Fleck, D. A., Lisanti, A. J., Golfenshtein, N., Ravishankar, C., . . . Curley, M. A. (2020, September 1). Telehealth Home Monitoring and Postcardiac Surgery for Congenital Heart Disease. Pediatrics Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 146(3). doi:10.1542/peds.2020-0531
(2021, March 23). REPRESENTATIVES SHERRILL, MCKINLEY REINTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO INCREASE ACCESS TO TELEHEALTH SERVICES. Washington: States News Service. Retrieved 2021, from States News Service: https://go-gale-com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/ps/i.do?p=EAIM&u=minn4020&id=GALE|A656029603&v=2.1&it=r&sid=ebsco
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