Effective Use of Technology Across the Care Continuum
Overview of The Care Continuum
The health sector is undergoing a massive transformation in terms of the technological advancements, which are promoting efficiency in the access to quality and affordable care by all citizens. Telehealth is one of such changes that enhance faster delivery of health education, public health, and health care using telecommunications technologies. The approach employs a number of tactics and technologies to deliver virtual health, education, and medical services. This paper will look at the telehealth technology that is being utilized in an ambulatory clinic that is concerned with cardiovascular diseases. The system is used in services such as offering advice, education, monitoring and remote admissions.
Unlike telemedicine, Telehealth is broad and encompasses more services apart from diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. Healthcare givers are able to collect a wide range information from the patients and interact to share valid information with regard to their health and status. The most used technology used is Electronic Health Records. This helps the healthcare providers and patients to share critical information openly, which help to minimize medication errors (Berner, 2014). However, the effectiveness of telehealth may be affected by various factors including insecurity of data, organizational culture, and patient education. An organizational culture enables the nurses and other staff to familiarize with the systems while patient education enables patients to embrace the system and begin using it.
Types of Patient-Care Technologies
Telehealth use social media platforms, Cloud CRM, smartphones, and tablets to contact patients and share information in the form of videos, texts, and pictures. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) allows transmission and sharing of patients’ health information and medical data among the care providers remotely (Yang et al., 2015). RPM is also used to monitor patient well-being after being discharged from the hospital. Thus, instances of readmission are largely minimized. Other communication and information technologies that have been developed over the years. They include electronic health record, Remote monitoring tools, mHealth, Sensors and wearable technology, Portal technology, Self-service kiosks, Tablets, smartphones, Telemedicine/telehealth, and Pharmacogenomics/genome sequencing (Cascarino, 2014). Mobile health (mHealth) entails the use of modern mobile tools such as phones and tablets to share health information that promotes positive behaviors (Sidani & Fox, 2014).
Another technology that is widely used under telehealth is Store-and-forward (asynchronous). This system is mostly used to transmit recorded health history. Data collected from a patient need to be transmitted to other individuals or departments. Such information includes x-ray images, tests results and past medication. These can be transmitted electronically through various forms such as videos, images, and e-mail. Another type of technology used under telehealth is Live video (synchronous). This is one of the most advanced technologies that involves live video communication between the patient and the caregivers. The technology is efficient in that there is immediate feedback and the information can be recorded for use in future.
How to Manage Change and Technology to Improve Outcomes
In order to implement the use of technology in the healthcare continuum, substantial investments are needed in training healthcare providers and educating patients. The nurses and patients should have necessary skills to handle advanced technologies to prevent data breach and unauthorized access to confidential data. In addition, the management must be able to forecast the financial needs to have the technology run effectively. The involvement of all stakeholders in the design and execution of the proposed technology is mandatory to minimize resistance to change. The leadership must also develop guidelines that ensure strict adherence to timelines and budget. Therefore, information technology has proven to enhance fast and accurate communication which results to streamline the process, improved the flow of patients, faster responses to inquiries among other functions in healthcare systems when properly managed.
Strengths and Weaknesses in The System
Telehealth technologies enable care providers to interact with other professionals by accessing and sharing patient’s information, which helps in improving patient safety, reduce medical cost, and improve the quality of care. Patients and the caregivers share health information through electronic means remotely hence promoting efficiency in service delivery, communication, and contribute to reduced readmission cases and medication errors. Health technology is used to monitor patients even after they have been discharged, which enhances and complements the quality of care.
However, the health information systems have various weaknesses. One of the challenges is that some information provided by the patient might not be reliable. Therefore, sometimes it might be necessary for the patient to be physically available at the hospital in order for the caregivers to collect valid and conclusive information (Nagel & Penner, 2015). In addition, a data breach is a serious threat to electronic health records. Information transmitted electronically may be distorted or manipulated hence affecting their reliability and validity. Various changes can be implemented to ensure that no errors result from the using telehealth systems. One of the considerations that are important is to provide sufficient training to both the caregivers and the patients. The healthcare managers can also come up with solid ways to curb fraud and loss of information through cybercrimes. That will ensure that there is a convenient transfer of information and a limited number of errors (Harper, 2012).
Effective Patient Care Using Nursing Informatics Theories and Models
Technology enables effective communication between the patients, clinicians and other professionals which together improve the quality of care for the patients. Holistic care is determined by various key factors that are determined by the effort put by the caregivers, the systems used, and the general conditions of the services, such as hygiene (Marra & Edmond, 2014). Therefore, the use of effective healthcare system with the aim of enhancing the quality of services is a step towards achieving the nursing theoretical conceptions of holistic care. Patient safety is improved when there are good data storage and transfer system. An effective patient care is one that efficiently collects, records, stores, and makes it easy for the user to retrieve and modify information (Morton, Fontaine, Hudak & Gallo, 2017). This helps to improve validity, reliability, and accuracy of the system. In addition, an effectively designed and implemented information system helps the care providers to make informed decisions about the diagnosis, treatment, hospitalization, discharge, and follow-ups of patients.
The advanced technology used in the care continuum including communication and information technology, patient care, and data recording technology help to promote efficiency in service delivery (Cashin & Cook, 2010). Communication is an essential part of any organization especially in the healthcare sector where accurate and timely information is vital. Proper data storage and recording systems are used to ensure that the required information is obtained from the patient and kept safely for future references. Some of the recommendations meant to improve the existing systems involve the use of more standardized methods of collecting, storing, sending, and retrieving data. Therefore, the hospital leaders must strive to adopt the latest technology to further improve the patient experience. The proposed changes are meant to optimize the quality of services and minimize the medication errors. I believe that the use of information devices in acute care to capture data about patients promote patient safety and outcomes.
Failure to use reliable technology in registering, diagnosing, monitoring, treating, and record keeping is both detrimental and costly to the hospital and the patients. The use of outdated technologies in the healthcare continuum is likely to damage the reputation of the organization, as a result of ineffectiveness, data breach, and increased medication errors. Therefore, the nurse leaders should remain updated regarding new and advanced technology that helps address contemporary health problems.
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