Respond to the post bellow, offering additional/alternative ideas regarding opportunities and risks related to the observations shared. 

 

Initial Post

There  is no doubt that the use of technology is increasing all around us. The  health care field is no different. Technology now plays a major role in  the health care profession. It is almost guaranteed to continue to  develop at a rapid rate (Horn, 2017). From electronic heath records to  patient portals, I have utilized technology since becoming a nurse,  increasing significantly over the last decade. However, at my most  current place of employment, we do not use much technology at all. In  fact, much of technology is prohibited as I work in a prison. After  relying on technology so heavily, it has been a major adjustment to  return to the era of very limited technology use. In fact, the only  technology we utilize is telehealth.

Telehealth is the “delivery of  health care services, where distance is  a critical factor, by all healthcare professionals using information  and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for  diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research  and evaluation, and for the continuing education of health care  providers, all in the interest of advancing the health of individuals  and their communities” (Koivunen, & Saranto, 2018). This method of  health care delivery is seen as a means in which to improve  communication and enhance patient-centered care (Cipriano, 2011; Virji,  Yarnall, Krause, Pollak, Scannell, Gradison, & Ostbye, 2006). As  with all technology, there are both facilitators and barriers present  with the use of telehealth.

According  to the study conducted by Koivunen & Saranto (2018), nurses’ skills  in telehealth application were seen as a facilitator to telehealth  utilization. However, the same study identified some barriers present.  Some of those barriers included nursing’s discomfort with the equipment  utilized with telehealth as well as lack of basic computer skills  present amongst nurses (Koivunen, & Saranto, 2018). In addition,  negative attitudes along with lack of support and training were  identified barriers (Koivunen, & Saranto, 2018). It is obvious that  the change from traditional face-to-face nursing practice to telehealth  requires much support for its users. There is certainly a learning curve  with any new technology with experience and attitudes playing a major  role in the successful implementation. However, if the proper steps are  taken, telehealth can be a  cost-effective way to address health care needs and has been shown to  improve clinical indicators (Shulver, Killington, & Crotty, 2016).

In addition to the barriers present, there is also negative attitudes  by some clinicians in regards to telehealth. While some health care  providers believe that telehealth could offer enhanced and expanded  services to many, other clinicians voiced reservations about the  potential safety and suitability of this service (Shulver et al., 2016).  However, in the case of rural patients, many can agree that a service  is better than no service. According to Shulver et al. (2016),  clinicians agreed that any perceived risks associated with telehealth  could be alleviated by having a person “on the ground” with the patient  during telehealth conferences. This is exactly how telehealth is  utilized at my current place of employment. The inmates are seen by a  distance provider as the nurse remains in the room with the patient to  perform any assessments requested and provide information from records  as needed.

Telehealth  is only one of many promising trends in health care that offer many  benefits. Other up-and-coming health technology trends include  artificial intelligence, Internet of Medical Things (IoMT),  blockchains, and virtual/augmented reality. These trends have many  benefits to offer. For example, artificial intelligence is now capable  of diagnosing skin cancer more accurately and more efficiently than a  board-certified dermatologist (Rigby, 2019). But, as previously  mentioned, all technology can bring added risks. Such use of technology  has the potential to threaten patient safety, preference, and privacy  (Rigby, 2019). Informed consent remains of utmost importance, as with  any medical procedure, when utilizing technology in providing health  care to patients. All the risks associated with the technology must  remain transparent to the patient.

Technology has already advanced quickly all around us and its use in  health care is no exception. By utilizing technology, the practice of  medicine is revolutionized, transforming the patients’ experiences and  the providers’ daily routines. These up-and-coming health care trends  are aimed at preventative care while enhancing patient experiences,  lowered expenses, and big data processing. Cutting-edge technology is  being utilized by many providers to assist their patients. We can only  expect the current trend to continue with more amazing discoveries to  come.

References

Cipriano P. (2011). The future of nursing and health IT: the quality elixir. Nursing Economics, 29(5), 286–90. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221868226_The_Future_of_Nursing_and_Health_IT_The_Quality_Elixir

Horn, H. (2017). Predicting the Future of Healthcare Technology. Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology51(3), 203. Retrieved from https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.2345/0899-8205-51.3.203

Koivunen,  M., & Saranto, K. (2018). Nursing professionals’ experiences of the  facilitators and barriers to the use of telehealth applications: a  systematic review of qualitative studies. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences32(1), 24–44. Retrieved from https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1111/scs.12445

Rigby, M.J. (2019). Ethical Dimensions of Using Artificial Intelligence in Health Care. AMA Journal of Ethics21(2), 121–124. Retrieved from https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1001/amajethics.2019.121

Shulver,  W., Killington, M., & Crotty, M. (2016). “Massive potential” or  “safety risk”? Health worker views on telehealth in the care of older  people and implications for successful normalization. BMC Medical Informatics And Decision Making16(1),  131. Retrieved from  https://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=27733195&site=eds-live&scope=site

Virji,  A., Yarnall, K., Krause, K., Pollak, K., Scannell, M., Gradison, M.,  & Ostbye ,T. (2006). Use of email in a family practice setting:  opportunities and challenges in patient- and physician-initiated  communication. BMC Med, 4(18), 1-7. Retrieved from https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-4-18

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