The Positive Impacts of Technology on Healthcare

Technology and Medicine“How Technology Is Enhancing Healthcare Services.” RSS. Justin Brown, 30 July 2013. Web. 27 Feb. 2015. <http://healthworkscollective.com/justin-brown/117976/technology-enhancing-healthcare-services-how>

We are surrounded by technology everywhere we go. It has been a part of how we live our lives for decades. It has impacted and changed many things in our lives as well as one of the most important things in the world, health care. I believe that technology has impacted health care in various positive ways for many different people. Due to the advancements in technology, it has impacted medical technology (procedures, equipment, and processes by which medical care is delivered)[1] and has:

Treatment

Medical TreatmentNo Author. “Doctor’s and nurses providing patient treatment,”. No Date. Online Image. <http://www.getmedicaltreatmentabroad.com/>. 1 Mar. 2015.

First of all, advancements in medical technology have made advancements in the treatment of patients as well. There are machines, treatments, and medicine that help save the lives of those that are ill and improve the chance of recovery. For example, some machines made for helping patients are CT scanners, and x-ray machines which help doctors easily understand why a patient is ill or injured so they know how to treat them. Furthermore, surgeries have become safer in the past decade with the use of proper instruments and advanced technology that are offered to us nowadays.[2] Some proper instruments that are used in surgeries are scalpels, clamps, tubes, etc. and Another example of medical technology was during the 2000s,  when better tests became available to diagnose heart attacks since drug-eluting stents were used, and new drug strategies were developed (aspirin, ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, statins). These new drugs helped for long-term management of heart attacks and potential heart attack patients.[1] In conclusion, there are many new ways that doctors can treat sick people through the use of technology from research.

Work Efficiency

Hand-Held DeviceBanova, Bianca. “Doctor using a hand-held device,”. March 28, 2013. Online Image. https://www.aimseducation.edu/blog/the-impact-of-technology-on-healthcare/. March 1st, 2015

Secondly, the work efficiency in hospitals and clinics has increased in the past couple decades and continues to with better equipment and electronic databases. Nurses and doctors now can use handheld devices, which are mostly tablets that have been optimized to run medical apps such as the AirStrip Cardiology app that provide doctors access to patients’ heart readings, and the Epocrates app that offers diagnostic lab test tools, medical dictionaries, drug interaction checkers and treatment guides for patients.[3] These devices can also be used to record and monitor a patient’s medical history, their health status, and to check that they are supplying the correct treatment with the appropriate app. Most of these devices are built for work purposes only, so it would not be possible for doctors and nurses to become distracted by them. Additionally, most health records, such as lab tests, records of vital signs, and medicine orders, are now all electronically placed in a main database.[4][2] In summary, the use of handheld devices and databases provides better work efficiency and accessibility for doctors, nurses, and patients.

Doctor on ComputerNo Author. “Doctor working on a computer”, 25 July 2011. Online Image <http://www.nursetogether.com/reform-bill-boosts-job-outlook-for-nursing-informatics>.Web. 28 Feb. 2015.

Communication

Thirdly, technology has connected us all together and makes it possible for us to communicate with each other wherever we are. For instance, patients are able to talk to their doctors with just one touch on a smartphone. Moreover, it helps people in accidents, such as a car crash, to be sent to a hospital in a few minutes with one call to 911 and directions with new GPS systems built into vehicles. Also, doctors are able to communicate with other colleagues from all over the world for help/advice with e-mail, texts, phones, etc. This practice is known as telemedicine, the use of telecommunication and information technologies in order to provide assistance on how to treat and diagnose patients from a distance, which is very helpful as doctors can consult experts without having to move their patients to another location.[4] Telemedicine was used after the Haiti earthquake in 2010 for expert doctors to help injured victims as soon as the disaster occurred. In conclusion, technology allows doctors to provide wherever they may be in the world and helps people in accidents receive medical assistance as soon as possible.

TelemedicineNo Author. “Doctor advising others how to treat a patient with the use of telemedicine”. No Date. Online Image. http://internetmedicine.com/i-telemedicine-websites/. Mar 1st, 2015
 

Medical Research

VaccineSheree Wilcox. “A needle used for vaccination,”. Feb 2nd, 2015. Online Image. http://newsexaminer.net/health/cia-considers-halting-fake-vaccinations-real-measles-rebound/. March 2nd, 2015

 

     Lastly, technology has helped medical researcher’s discover new ways to fight widespread diseases and study trends in illnesses. Medical technology research has helped discover ways to fight widespread viruses or diseases with vaccines in the past and present, such as Tetanus and the Swine Flu. In addition, researchers at MIT are able to use nanoparticles to deliver vaccines. They are able to use the nanoparticles to protect the vaccine, allowing the vaccine time to trigger a stronger immune response.[5] This is only possible through the use of nanotechnology. They are also able to use machines that alter cells by injecting DNA and examining how it reacts to better understand it. Specifically, a machine that does this is a nanoinjector, which is created by several MEMS (microelectromechanical systems).

NanoinjectorGilgamesh-. “A nanoinjector, a microscopic machine, injecting a cell with DNA”. Mar 1st, 2015. Online Image. https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/2xkd0t/this_is_a_nanoinjector_a_microscopic_machine_used/. Mar 1st, 2015

[6] In addition, doctors can make use of electronic and online databases to help study trends in illnesses. For example, doctors are able to research online trends using Google statistics to accurately predict medical trends of an illness which can help medical experts respond to outbreaks quickly as well as take preventative measures.[4] In short, technology has allowed doctors and scientists to better understand illnesses and cells as well as how to fight them.

 

Google Trends

Krueger, Alyson. “Google statistics on the Flu”. Dec 20, 2010. Online Image. http://www.businessinsider.com/6-ways-technology-is-improving-healthcare-2010-12?op=1 . Mar 7, 2015.

“If we can reduce the cost and improve the quality of medical technology through advances in nanotechnology, we can more widely address the medical conditions that are prevalent and reduce the level of human suffering.”

-Ralph Merkle[7]

To conclude, technology has helped everybody in the medical industry, doctors and patients. It has caused an improvement in the treatment of sick people, an increase of work efficiency in hospitals and clinics, an increase in communication between patients and doctors, and has helped improve medical research. This is why I believe that technology provides a positive impact on health care for many different people. Thank you for reading my blog post and have a great day.

 

How have you seen/experienced modern-day medical technology?

     What might be some of the negative impacts technology could have on health care?

[1] “Snapshots: How Changes in Medical Technology Affect Health Care Costs.”Snapshots: How Changes in Medical Technology Affect Health Care Costs. 2 Mar. 2007. Web. 28 Feb. 2015. <http://kff.org/health-costs/issue-brief/snapshots-how-changes-in-medical-technology-affect/>.

[2] Banova, Bianca “The Impact of Technology on Healthcare – AIMS EDUCATION.” AIMS EDUCATION., 28 Mar. 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2015. <https://www.aimseducation.edu/blog/the-impact-of-technology-on-healthcare/>.

[3] Daley, Tyana. “Health Care Professionals Tapping into Mobile Devices.” Health 20 News. Health 2.0, 23 May 2013. Web. 1 Mar. 2015. <http://www.health2con.com/news/2013/05/23/health-care-professionals-tapping-into-mobile-devices/>.

[4] Krueger, Alyson. “6 Ways Technology Is Improving Healthcare.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 20 Dec. 2010. Web. 28 Feb. 2015. <http://www.businessinsider.com/6-ways-technology-is-improving-healthcare-2010-12?op=1>.

[5] Boysen, Earl. “Nanotechnology in Medicine – Nanomedicine.” Nanotechnology in Medicine. UnderstandingNano. Web. 2 Mar. 2015. <http://www.understandingnano.com/medicine.html>.

[6] “This Is a Nanoinjector, a Microscopic Machine Used to Inject Cells with DNA • /r/pics.” Reddit. /r/pics, 1 Mar. 2015. Web. 1 Mar. 2015. <https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/2xkd0t/this_is_a_nanoinjector_a_microscopic_machine_used/>.

[7] Merkle, R “If we can reduce the cost and improve the quality of medical technology through advances in nanotechnology, we can more widely address the medical conditions that are prevalent and reduce the level of human suffering.”<http://ubiquity.acm.org/article.cfm?id=345496>.