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Use of Technology in Health Care

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Introduction

Technology has been used in heath care to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency in service provision. The diffusion of technology in heath care has generally seemed to be low and varying. However, with applications and setting the survey has indicated that many heath cares are gradually adopting the use of technology. The introduction of technology in heath care has faced some barriers which include; the cost and the complexity installation and implementation, which often requires significant cultural changes and qualified work force which has blocked the adoption by some health care organizations. Due to technological potentials, both the private and public sectors have engaged in numerous efforts to promote technological use across health care settings.

Delivering eminence health care requires those providers and the patients to integrate complex information from many different sources; this will improve the ability of nurses, clinical practitioners, physicians and others to readily access the information about their patients. Thus, generally technology allows health care providers to collect, retrieve, store, and transfer information about the patient electronically by using computerized provider order entry (CPOE) which minimizes  communication and handwriting errors in drug prescription, consultations, physicians orders such as x-rays and transfers. The most commonly used technology in our community health care is the use of computers in administrative work, provision of outpatient prescriptions, preparing reports, and also to perform medication regimen reviews (MRR).

Many health care organizations has adopted the use of technology in their service provision, these are some examples of health care organization that has adopted the use of technology in administrative functions; Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association, AMC Cancer Research Center, American Academy of  Nurse Practitioners,  Association of Cancer Online Resources, and American Hospital Associations etc. These organizations have adopted the use of computers in the improvement of the technology.

The Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association; a health care organization with a mission to collaborate within the state of  Alaska in the provision of supportive services to persons living with HIV/AIDs, their families and also elimination of  HIV infection and its stigma. To carry out its services efficiently, they have adopted the use of technology. They use computers in their daily services like prescribing medicine to patients and also in education, rehabilitation trainings and self-sufficiency. These computers are mainly used by the staff members of the organization, they use them in research and compiling of reports, they also use computers in keeping the records of patients under their care. The use of computers has provided improved documentary storage facilities and it has also reduced lose of information. Patients have really found it very efficient in accessing the organization information to facilitate access to services provided but due to larger patient population, the services has been overcrowded making its access by the patients becoming limited.

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners is also another health care organization which has adopted the use of technology. Their main objectives are for provision of a national communication network for grass roots nurse practitioners; advocacy for Legislative Action benefiting Nurse Practitioners; representation in issues of concern to Nurse Practitioners such as liability insurance, certification, representation in national health forums which include; the National Alliance of Nurse Practitioners; a resource base for legislative, research, practice and marketing assistance to grass roots and state organizations and individuals. In dispensing its duties they employ the use of computers. They are used in coordinating with the members, used in research and compiling of reports from research, they are also used in keeping the information details of the members of the organization and also it has fastened communication between the members and the administration of the organization. The use of the computers has been faced by some barriers such as; some members do not get access to these computer services making the communication barrier, this has also depressed the improved services offered by nurses to patients due to lack of new outcomes in medication and also on how to tackle the new infections (The promise and the pitfalls, 2004).

Due to improvement in technology the organization has found it possible to effectively keep connected with the nurses, thus passing all the necessary information to nurses in accordance to their duties in administering to patient. Use of computers has also made it easy for the organization to carry out research on any new infections and its caution on prevention.

AMC Cancer Research Center is a health care organization that is dedicated in raising funds for the Colorado cancer center to support in cancer prevention, education, care, and research. Due to the improvement in technology they have adopted the use of computers. The research carried by the organization and the compiling of reports are done by the use of computers. Patients with cancers are treated by the use of radiation, all the machines that are used in the organization in the treatment of cancers are connected to computers to provide the information display that can be read by the doctors and be interpreted and in this case, computers are used in displaying the information from the machines. These computers are mainly used by the doctors only since they can interpret the information displayed.

The number of cancers patients that require the use of these services has increased over a period of time; this has lead to larger number of patients running for inadequate services. However the organization has tried to improve its services by installing other machines to increase the service provision but the number of patients also kept on increasing resulting to a technological challenge. Despite the challenges the improvement in technology has also improved the health care services offered by the organization, through introduction of other efficient machines for cancer sterilization. Other organizations that provide healthcare services have also employed the use of computers in their operations: that’s in research, compiling of reports, e-prescription of drugs to patients and also keeping information records of their patients. These computers are mainly used by the departmental staff members. (Terasava, 2003)

Documentation of the nursing process is one of the important parts of the clinical documentation. Documentation has been over the years been done using the paper-based documentation, but with the introduction of computers the computer-based documentation has since been put into practice. The nursing process provides a systematic methodology for nursing practices, the methodology consists of; assessment of information, definition of problem and resources of patients, derivation of nursing aims, planning of nursing tasks, execution of the tasks and evaluation of the nursing care. The use of computer-based documentation has been compared with paper-based documentation, to ascertain the efficiency of using the computer-based documentation. In the department of Psychiatry at the Heidelberg University hospital the nurses compared the use of paper-based and computer-base documentation system the software PIK 4.0 was then used which supported the phases in the nursing process.

The results showed that documentation of task and report writing needed significantly more time with the computer-based system than with the paper-based system. Planning showed no significant difference between the systems. The quality difference was identified concerning the following aspects; in the care plans were often considered as too unspecific and too long, resulting to less individual care but not executed task, in the control the most criticized was the incomplete nursing documentation, illegibility and missing signatures. The nurses opinion on the choice of system; they said that the use of computer-based system lead to a better legibility, better overview of the nursing care, to higher completeness and to an improved quality of documentation and writing of nursing reports. Despite all the benefits they encountered when using the computer-based system, they argued that it took them time in learning how to use the software, during planning and documentation of tasks and also during report writing which was much faster in paper-based system. The nurses finally settled on the use of computer-based documentation. There are different computer-based documentation software which include; PIK 4.0, PIK 3.5 and Wilcoxon-Signed-Rank-Test. These documentations varies in there functions. (G.BOWMAN, 1983)

Conclusion

Development within the long-term care environment may drive the use of some technology applications in health care services provision. The use of computers improves the quality of health services and also the efficiency in attending to patients. The use of technology has served many lives due to the use of improved machines. Due to all the benefits of using technology in healthcare it should be adopted by various healthcare providers.

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