Healthcare Information Technology Trends

The use of technological advancements in healthcare settings has become ubiquitous. Technology has improved communication and changed socio-environmental policies and demographic variables that have positively influenced healthcare delivery systems. The use of information technology reduces costs, saves time, promotes research, leads to better patient information handling and storage, and facilitates improved delivery of nursing and healthcare services, improving the safety and quality of health services while improving patient outcomes and satisfaction levels (Alaei et al., 2019). This paper reflects on the use of healthcare technologies to manage and distribute information in our organization and a current or potential future trend that may impact healthcare delivery and nursing practice.

One of the widely used healthcare technologies to manage and distribute information in our organization is electronic medical records (EMRs). Electronic medical records are the digital equivalent of charts or paper records found in a clinician’s office. Typically, EMRs contain the general information of a patient, including the health history as elicited by nurses during assessments. Using EMRs allows patient information and data to be stored for a long time. Different members of the healthcare team can also access this data. EMRs can also assist in identifying patients due for screenings and health checkups and monitor specific requirements such as blood pressure readings and vaccination. Electronic medical records are meant to help hospitals provide precise and quality care. A unique feature of electronic medical records is that they are universal. Therefore, instead of having different healthcare charts in various facilities, a patient is required to have only one, which can be accessed in different healthcare facilities by use of EMR software.

De Benedicitis et al. (2020) assert that electronic medical records reduce medical errors and unnecessary investigations, enhance patient safety via better management, and improve patient outcomes. EMRs also improve the quality of care, enhance interactions and communication among care providers and patients, and save costs and time. However, Honavar (2020) notes that EMRs minimize the face-to-face interactions between patients and their care providers. The personalized interaction between patients and their primary care providers is vital in addressing the psychological and emotional needs of the patients.

Current and Potential Future Trends

The use of mobile applications/telehealth and social media is a current and potential future trend that impacts healthcare delivery and nursing practice. The rise of smartphones and tablet technologies has not only had a significant influence in reducing the barriers to healthcare information technology access but has also given patients novel means of taking personal responsibility for their health. Nurses point to several main functions of smartphones and tablet technologies for personal and professional use at places of work. These include improved staff coordination, enhanced patient communication, and EHRs mobile access. The most common use of smartphones and tablet technologies in healthcare is the coordination of the healthcare team, achieved through secure messaging (DeJong et al., 2020). Mobile phones have resulted in healthcare communication platforms that facilitate video chatting, calling, texting, screen sharing, and paging.

Smartphones and tablets allow healthcare providers to engage patients easier by using patient portals, secure text messaging, and telemedicine. These technology-enhanced ways of patient engagement increase health outcomes, loyalty, and patient satisfaction. Secure messaging has also ensured that patients adhere to follow-up care and appointments, further boosting the management of chronic illnesses. The future is brighter for the use of mobile phones in healthcare organizations in a way that will enhance healthcare delivery and improve nursing practice.

 

References

Alaei, S., Valinejadi, A., Deimazar, G., Zarein, S., Abbasy, Z., & Alirezaei, F. (2019). Use of Health Information Technology in Patients Care Management: a Mixed Methods Study in Iran. Acta Informatica Medica, 27(5), 311. https://doi.org/10.5455/aim.2019.27.311-317

De Benedictis, A., Lettieri, E., Gastaldi, L., Masella, C., Urgu, A., & Tartaglini, D. (2020). Electronic Medical Records implementation in hospital: An empirical investigation of individual and organizational determinants. PLOS ONE, 15(6), e0234108. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234108

DeJong, A., Donelle, L., & Kerr, M. (2020). Nurses’ Use of Personal Smartphone Technology in the Workplace: A Scoping Review (Preprint). JMIR MHealth and UHealth, 8(11). https://doi.org/10.2196/18774

Honavar, S. G. (2020). Electronic medical records – The good, the bad and the ugly. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, 68(3), 417. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijo.ijo_278_20

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