Technology Advances in the Health Care Sector

TechnologyAdvances in the Health Care Sector

TechnologyAdvances in the Health Care Sector

Technologicaladvancement has affected different aspects of human life, includingthe health care sector. Human health and fitness are some of the keypriorities in human life, and has attracted a lot of attention amongresearchers who wish to apply the latest technology to enhance thehuman health. According to Mann (2014) technology plays a centralrole in the health care reforms that aims at containing theescalating cost of health, quality improvement, and accessibility ofhealth care services. However, the application of the moderntechnology in the health care sector has both positive and negativeeffects. This paper will address tow historical perspectives(including the health care reforms and the health care costcontainment) on the process of delivering health care services inAmerica. The paper will focus on how technological development andlack of technology has affected the two perspectives, compare andcontrast two technological advances (including the electronic healthrecords and diagnostic imaging), and the effect of technologicaladvances on the public opinion.

Historicalperspectives

Healthcare reforms in America, which were initiated in the 20th century,were driven by groups of elites (including researchers and experts)who demanded for incremental and immediate changes in the health caresystem. The fight for drastic reforms in the health care sector wasclosely associated with the desire of citizens to access the Americandream (Hoffman, 2003). The grassroots campaigns for health carereforms were driven by immediate and potential consumers of healthcare services. Some of the key factors that activists and elitesdemanded include the continuous enhancement in the quality of healthcare services, affordability of the health care services, access, andequity in the health care system. Lack of technology in the earlypart of the 20th century delayed the attainment of the requests madeby the activists. However, the rapist technological advances realizedin the late 20th century and the first decade of the 21st centuryhave increased the accessibility and quality (ProtivitiIncorporation, 2014). However, the impact of technological advanceson the affordability and equity in the health care sectors are stilldebated issues.

Escalatingof the health care costs has been an issue of concern in American fornearly a century. However, initial measures to contain the escalatingcosts were taken in the middle 20th century. For example, Medicaidand Medicare were formed in the 1960s with the objective of reducingthe burden of the cost of health care for patients (Altma &ampLevitt, 2002). This was followed by price and wage controls in the1970s. However, nearly all the measures taken to contain health carecosts have been short-lived and less effective. Currently, moderntechnology is being applied in an attempt to enhance the process ofdelivering health care services and containing the cost of health.However, the impact of the digital technology on the cost of healthhas been viewed differently, with one camp arguing that technologyreduces the overall cost of health and the other one suggesting thatit inflates the cost of health. For example, Stern (2010) identifiedthat the increase in the appropriation of technology in the healthcare sector makes health care more expensive and hard to reach forthe average citizens. Other researchers suggest that the technologyreduces the cost of health by increasing efficiency in servicedelivery and increase the quality as well as the treatment outcome.

Comparingand contrasting technological advances

Electronichealth records and diagnostic imaging technology (including the CTscan) are some of the key technological advances affecting healthcare delivery in America. Both the electronic health records and CTscan enhance the safety of clients. EHR enhances patients’ safetyby increasing the accuracy of recording their information, thusreducing medication errors (Menachemi &amp Collum, 2011). Theimaging diagnostic technology, on the other hand, enhances patients’safety by increasing the accuracy of diagnosis, which helps thehealth care providers in addressing the actual medical problems. Inaddition, both the electronic health records and CT scan contributetowards the quality of health care and the treatment outcome.

Althoughthe two technological advances have several similarities, they tendto differ in three major ways. First, the CT scan is only applied atthe diagnostic stage of the treatment process, while the electronichealth records technologies assist health care providers inmaintaining the client’s information in all stages of the treatmentprocess. Secondly, electronic health records enhance communicationand interaction between the health care professionals and thepatients, while the CT scan does not (Menachemi &amp Collum, 2011).Lastly, the relationship between the use of electronic health recordsand cost reduction is direct (through reduction in clerical works),while this relationship is indirect in the case of the use of the CTscan.

Effectsof the technological advances on the public opinion

Althoughthere are some people who assert that electronic health recordssubject the privacy of patients to risk, the majority of patients andmembers of the public support the use of EHR. An opinion pollreported by Eysenbach (2013) indicated that over 62.47 % of themembers of the public supported the use of electronic health recordswhile 27.93 % remained undecided. This indicates a positive publicopinion of the members of the public regarding the use of electronichealth records in the health care facilities. The CT technologicaladvances have been associated with an increase in the accuracy ofdiagnosis. However, there is a growing negative public opinionregarding the increase in the use of CT scan and similar diagnostictechnologies. This is attributed to the publication of a reportshowing that nearly half of the radiations affecting the Americanpopulation come from medical sources, including the CT scan (Landau &ampPark, 011). Although the two technological advances (including theelectronic health care records and the CT scan) have been receivedwith mixed opinions from the public, it is evident that they willcontinue impacting the health care sector in the future. This isbecause their benefits (including efficiency in health care delivery)outweigh the negative effects they cause in the health care sector.

Conclusion

Technologicaladvances have made a significant influence in the health care sector.Most significantly, the use of electronic health records and CT scanhave increased the efficiency of health care delivery, patients’safety, reduced medication errors, and lowered the cost of treatment.However, these technological advancements have been received by thepublic with mixed views, where some people believe that they areimportant while others cite some negative effects, such as theinterference with clients’ privacy. Nevertheless, trends indicatethat the two types of technology will continue impacting the healthcare sector, given the fact that their benefits outweigh the negativeeffects.

References

Altma,E. &amp Levitt, L. (2002). The sad history of health care costcontainment as told in one chart. HealthAffairs,2002, 2-83.

Eysenbach,G. (2013). Patient and public views on electronic health records andtheir uses in the United Kingdom: Cross-section survey. Journalof Medical Internet Research,15 (8), 1-160.

Hoffman,B. (2003). Health care reform and social movement in the UnitedStates. AmJournal of Public Health,93 (1), 75-85.

Landau,E. &amp Park, M. (2011). Radiation:When to worry.London: Cable News Network.

Mann,D. (2014). Health care reform: Health insurance &amp affordable careact. WebMD,LLC.Retrieved December 21, 2014, fromhttp://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/technology-plays-key-role-in-health-care-reform

Menachemi,N. &amp Collum, H. (2011). Benefits and drawbacks of electronichealth record systems. RiskManagement Health Care Policy,2, 47-55.

ProtivitiIncorporation (2014). Health care reform and health care informationtechnology. ProtivitiIncorporation.Retrieved December 21, 2014, fromhttp://www.protiviti.com/Government-Services/Pages/Health-Services-Programs.aspx

Stern,E. (2010). Cycle 1 as predictor of assisted reproductive technologytreatment outcome over multiple cycles. Elsevier,95 (2), 600-605.