Technology has improved the manner in which the patient care is conducted across the nursing continuum. The areas that are positively impacted include workload control, efficiency in workflow, enhanced productivity, and high quality of care (Turisco & Rhoads, 2008). The technology has enabled caregivers to realize high patient outcomes through advanced experiences that they undergo using the new equipment and procedures (Rabkin & Weberg, 2015). Health Information Technology (HIT) has propelled transformations in the policies, which have both financial and high patient outcome implications. The HIT incentives in home health have provided the solutions that have ensured the improved safety, the effectivity of staff, and the high quality of services offered.
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Health Information Technology
The use of HIT is common in the home health due to the progressive nature and continuity of caregiving throughout the life of patients. In this regard, HIT provides a framework that helps in easy management of patient records for the whole lifetime (Bowles, Dykes, & Demiris, 2015). The distribution of these records facilitates the nurses’ work by providing the pocibility of making non-erroneous decisions for better patient outcomes and helath condition improvement. Decision support plays a critical role in nursing care and forms an important facet in the service delivery. The HITs include web-based patient portals, electronic health records (EHRs), patient registries, and telemedicine (Kraschnewski & Gabbay, 2013). These segments have together aided in the fulfillment of six standards outlined in the National Committee for Quality Assurance in the Patient-Centred Medical Home (PCMH) guidelines (Kraschnewski & Gabbay, 2013). However, the use of IT in health management is subject to nurses’ attitude, culture, and intentions (Gonen, Sharon, Lev-Ari, Strauss, & Segev, 2015).
Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
The application of nursing and medical Acts as provided by HITECH has necessitated the implementation of EHRs. In turn, the growing range of the application has led to the improved outcomes, especially in handling older adults’ records, which might at times be confusing or more complex if handled manually. EHRs increased the quality of documentation of patients’ information and also assisted in conducting analysis and statistical assessment, thus leading to the enhanced evidence-based practice (Bowles et al., 2015). A typical example is the case of managing patients with pressure ulcers or diabetes. The research conducted by Dowding, Turley, and Garrido demonstrated that the application of EHRs led to sustainable quality improvements and better organization during care delivery (Bowles et al., 2015).
Additionally, EHR creates a suitable platform for the assessment of the progress of patients. It also provides tool prompts that assist nurses in conducting standardized assessments through the set datasets within the programming of the EHRs databases. It further improves personalized care, different from generalized procedures, thus fulfilling specific patients’ needs (Bowles et al., 2015).
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Working environment within the home and patient-based care are characterized with heavy communication among the caregivers as well as between patients and physicians. The wireless communication introdusction helped to solve the problem of time wastage exhibited when operating with fixed telephone locations. They enabled communications to be easily directed to the right persons depending on the urgency (Turisco & Rhoads, 2008). The embraced technologies in healthcare include Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The response to alarms and emergencies also ensured that high patient outcomes are upheld.
Interactive Patient Technologies
Bridging communication gaps have been made possible through the use of interactive patient technologies. They enable two-way communication and ensure prompt delivery of the required ervices. In such a way, patient entertainment, education, and hospital services are organazied in the most effective way. Apart from communication by means of the interactive networks, further improvement of the relationship between the caregivers and the patients is observed. As a result, it becomes possible to reduce the burden laid on the staff to pay one-on-one attention to each patient while paying proper attention to every detail of the patients’ conditions (Turisco & Rhoads, 2008).
Workflow Management Systems
This segment enabled coordination of tasks and resources amidst the challenging working conditions in the healthcare delivery. Locating information has been made easier through these systems. They also help in gathering information from many diversified sources and integrate them into a single display for easier accessibility. Hence, nurses can spend more time sdressing patients needs and the working environment becomes safer for all the parties (Turisco & Rhoads, 2008)
Strengths and Weaknesses of HIT
The Health Information Technology has opened many opportunities for improving patient experience and overall outcomes in the healthcare continuum. It has ensured the quality of service is always high and sustainable through the standards applied. Additionally, technologies have advanced the ability of caregivers to work with vast and diversified types of patients’ conditions without confusion or inability to handle large data. The research opportunities are also made available to advance the clinical decisions and telehealth. The care interventions are further advanced, especially for adults’ care.
However, the technologies may present challenges due to the lack of competencies among the clinicians. Enough controls are not in place to ensure that security and privacy principles are being followed at all times. Additionally, the integrated systems in the information and data management make it difficult to respond to errors that may occur during care delivery or in the process of using equipment. Such situation further demands advanced training and frequent updates in the systems (Bowles et al., 2015). Finally, patients experience difficulties adapting to the web-based personal health record as it infringes on their privacy (Kraschnewski & Gabbay, 2013).
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Managing these challenges requires training for the personnel and close supervision of patients to ensure proper handling of data. The patient confidence must also be assured from time to time. An example where the HIT systems are used is at the Pennsylvania Chronic Care Initiative. Here, they are applied in the management of patient populations and for the provision of reminders for patient care intensification.
In summary, Health Information Technology (HIT) has advanced the management of patient data, has improved patient outcomes, and ensured easy workflow and advancement in productivity. Sustainability of high-quality care is made possible through the use of information technologies within the healthcare continuum. The types of HITs include electronic health records, web-based portals, patient registries, and telemedicine. They provide solutions to numerous health information problems, especially those relating to data management. It further makes personalized touch with patients, since attention is shifted from data handling to care delivery. Elderly people have much health information that needs to be integrated properly to avoid making mistakes in decision making regarding how to address their health problems.
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The use of HIT has been made possible through the acts passed by the legislative bodies regarding health care and the research of the technological developments in the field. Though it presents some challenges, the advantages are more significant than the negative impacts. Various health institutions have reported increased patient outcomes due to the consistent application of HITs. Caregivers also find it easier to address patient needs due to the quick access to patients’ records for appropriate decisions on the required procedures. Furthermore, safer working environments are provided through HITs. However, effective training of the personnel is necessary for ensuring that they are thoroughly equipped and ready to handle databases and other communication technologies available at their disposal.