How Technology Can Deliver Broad Improvements in Health Care

“We can design innovative ways to tailor health care to someone’s individual needs and lifestyle,” says Kenneth Kizer

Technology is vastly changing the way Health Care  providers interact with large groups of people, and we are seeing the positive influences technology has had on the Health Care System. Dr. Kizer sat down with The Wall Street Journal to discuss a couple of the new impacts technology has had on Health Care.

Dr. Kizer is a seasoned physician who is board certified in a number of specialties and was accredited as California`s top health official, before serving in the Department of Veteran Affairs. While serving at the VA, Dr.Kizer was made famous by adopting one of the most preeminent electronic health system, as well as modernizing and streamlining the nations largest health system. Later in his career, Dr. Kizer became founding president and chief executive of the National Quality Forum. The NQF works to set high quality standards as well as monitor performance for U.S. health-care providers.

Kizer shares that technology has had a huge impact on population health throughout the years. Population health can be defined as the health status and or outcome, of a group of people who share a common characteristic. This could be patterns such as age, gender, race, and ethnicity, and could be any number of characteristics and is not limited to one.

Various new information and communication technologies are being introduced everyday, and use of these devices and tech are still in their early years. Which gives a lot of hope and optimism of what is yet to come.  A couple of these contrivances being used today are electronic health records, health information exchanges, telemedicine, and other wearable devices as well as mobile health applications.

All these technological advances allow patients and caregivers to connect in ways previously thought impossible. No longer does a patient have to meet face to face with a caretaker for treatment. This also provides a solution to transportation, language, and any other barriers that may arise within a face-to-face meeting. This makes health care more organized, accessible, and convenient for patients. Information can now be exchanged and shared between patients and caretakers in the blink of an eye and in a number of ways. Health care is being designed to specifically cater to a patient’s individual needs and lifestyle.

There are also some barriers when using technology such as those mentioned above. The health care`s conservative  culture has been slow to adopt and utilize new ways of doing things. The other issue is the lack of payment for these virtual care methods. Telemedicine was hurt for years by lack of funding, and is only recently seeing improvement. This lack of payment can make a lot of  virtual care ideas economically nonviable. Additional barriers include interoperability problems  amongst technologies, which could affect the process of collecting and analyzing data as well as information security and privacy cases. All of these barriers and concerns will require group thinking and collaboration amongst vendors, health care providers, and the government.

With the emergence of new technology within the health care system we have seen vast improvements in the way health care providers reach and care for Population Health. Telemedicine, social media, and wearable devices are the way of the future and they are having immediate impacts on accessibility and convenience, there are errors to address and solutions to be found, but Dr. Kizer believes that technology will change health care, and have an everlasting positive affect.

About the Author: Brady Brehm is an intern at HPC Solutions. He is studying Marketing at High Point University.

Sources:

Landro, Laura. “How Technology Can Deliver Broad Improvements in Health Care.” WSJ. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 July 2016.

Discussion about HealthCare IT with Dr. Iyer

Dr. Iyer is an experienced doctor of internal medicine who is well recognized in the medical community. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Reston Hospital Center, Reston, VA, and previously served as the Medical Director of Heartland Hospice. His academic background includes his degree in Medicine from Nalanda Medical College, India, a Ph.D in Biochemistry and Genetic Engineering from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, two post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard Medical School, and his residency at George Washington University Medical Center. He has authored several papers in highly acclaimed medical publications, including the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Dr. Iyer founded his clinic to provide patients a place of empowerment and a genuinely personal health care experience. This was based upon his vision of a doctor as a healer and an agent of empowerment with a single-minded commitment to service. Today, he spearheads his team towards achieving this objective and his patients attest to the individualized attention they receive from the doctor.

I had the privilege of being able to speak to Dr. Iyer about his thoughts on the ways in which technology is revolutionizing the provision of health care in the U.S. Below, he shares his insights from his decades of experiences practicing medicine.

Continue reading “Discussion about HealthCare IT with Dr. Iyer”

Telemedicine and Improving Rural Healthcare

Rural Americans face different challenges in accessing quality healthcare than their urban counterparts. Spatial disparities pose one of the biggest challenges, as those living in rural areas often have much less direct access to healthcare facilities and professionals. A promising solution to this challenge comes in the form of telemedicine and the corresponding technological infrastructure.

The American Telemedicine Association formally defines telemedicine as the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. They continue, telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology.

As telemedicine continues to gain traction, the number of telemedical tools available is growing and providing a way for situation specific tailoring of quality healthcare provision. This customized care is exactly what rural areas need, as they constitute a very different demographic than more urban communities. Telemedicine and the associated technology helps to increase the quality of healthcare delivered in rural areas while also decreasing the time necessary to deliver the care.

Examples of how telemedicine can improve the quality of rural healthcare include:

  • Connecting health professionals with patients, regardless of their location With technology services like Skype, GoToMeeting, and other similar applications, health professionals can expand their range of service provision. This is especially helpful for patients needing the advisement and care of specialized service providers which are often physically located even further than general practitioners.
  • The potential for remote monitoring of in-home clinical observations Patients could be given hospital quality monitoring devices in their homes. These devices would digitally send updates of their vitals to their physicians, giving the physicians direct access to their patient’s clinical status at any time. This also decreases the need for patients to travel into health facilities for routine check-ups.
  • Connecting physicians with the latest medical information and best practices Telemedical technology can also be utilized by physicians practicing in rural areas. If rural physicians cannot directly attend medical conferences and educational seminars, they could connect to these information resources via telemedical technology helping them to better stay current and up to date on new medical information and best practices.

 

About the Author:

Alexis Brana is a Graduate Student studying Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia

Referenced Sources:

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/5-ways-telemedicine-can-boost-care-rural-communities

http://www.americantelemed.org/about-telemedicine/what-is-telemedicine#.VwVK6PkrI2w