Health Care Technology Improvements

INTRODUCTION Changes in health care facilities can make or break our future in society. Because of these major changes, people stand stronger chances to survive chronic illnesses and diseases. The future promises a cure for cancers, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. In order for this to take place the world will have to adapt to the new technologies and set higher standards in health care. As a result, health care facilities have significantly improved in terms of technology, medications, and procedures.

TECHNOLOGIES Over the years, society has made an improvement on the technology developments. It is said that by the year 2020, healthcare will have robots providing care and assisting in surgeries. Due to the baby boom generation it is difficult to fund all of the technology developments taking place, but healthcare is seeking to find new ways to fund the cost of healthcare technology. Robotics for Healthcare One of the many ways these advancements have improved the lives of patients is by the development of new technology. Through out the new developments in health care facilities, we now have robotics.

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Many people conclude that a robot literally functions for them, although this is not their sole function. The facilities have robot –assisted mental, cognitive and social therapy, patient monitoring systems, and therapy robots. Patients with disabilities and patients with dementia can use this new robot assistant to help them cope through their daily cognitive challenges. Results can be expected in terms of developing basic social skills, play games, and adapt to that patients social needs and wants (“Robotics for Health care”).

For example, a child with autism has a robot that provokes playful reactions with therapeutic effects. Robotics holds the promise of addressing some major health care issues. Electrocardiograms Another way technology has improved significantly in health care is by the use of EKG’s. An EKG is a test that reads the electrical pulses that are tracked through waves. The test detects unexplained chest pain, symptoms of heart disease, and will check medications the patient is currently on to detect heart defects.

EKG equipment is portable; therefore, the test can be transported almost anywhere, and “the test only takes up to 5-10 minutes to complete (“Parks, Electrocardiogram”). Afterward, it will only take up to 5-10 days to read and receive results. Therefore, the Electrocardiogram machine is a very effective and fast way to monitor our heart and the activity around it as well. PDA Systems The use of personal data assistants (PDA’s) has evolved from an appointment book and calendar to the use of comprehensive method programs for accessing health care databases and other patient information programs.

Software companies have flooded the health care profession with applications that check for drug interactions, calculate dosages, analyze lab results, schedule procedures, order prescriptions, and automate other clinical tasks, thus reducing the probability of errors and increasing patient safety. This new invention has had the ability to enable reference books and paperback copies (“Information Technology: Advancements in Health care”). Also, it would be easier to lose the hard paper back copies.

In contrast, PDA systems in the health care automatically save data into their systems, so a patients profile can be uploaded anywhere, and anytime in the health care facility. MEDICATIONS Recently in health care, major improvements in the medication system has taken place. Due to the new inventions in technology, this has also led the medication system in health care to create a new way to prioritize and link diseases to cures with medications. Therefore, the future of medicine and the systems that support medicine are crucial to save a patients’ life.

Medication Improvement System The first invention is called a Medication Management Improvement System. The goal of this system is to reduce medication-related complications among senior home health patients. The model uses computerized risk assessment screening and an alert process has been developed, using the medication list and clinical indicators such as vital signs, falls, dizziness, and confusion to identify potential medication problems.

The results in this new system have significantly reduced the medication “cross reactions” of a patient and keeps a record of all drug reactions for that patient, and possibly other medicines with the same chemical substance that they are allergic to (“High- Alert Medications Require Heightened Vigilance”). The use of this medication system will eliminate deaths significantly for health care facilities. The use of this medication system has improved in over 50% of intervention patients, compared to 38% of controls (“High- Alert Medications Require Heightened Vigilance”).

This new system will now be ported to several different home health agencies world wide. Due to this invention, lives will be saved by knowing a patients medical history. TUG Robot A related way that medication has improved in terms of technology is by the use of robots that assist with flow of medication deliveries. In the past 20 years, this is where the most relevant changes have taken place the fastest and most effectively. Due to the rapid changes in delivery of medications, Connie Tighe, a Nurse Practitioner at Pinehurst Surgical, has personally experienced these changes over a 20 year period in health care.

When asked her opinion on the health care improvements she replied; “When I fist started, we used to receive medications from the pharmacy by a person who transferred them by car and put them in bags with the patients name and room number on them. They would then be brought to us directly, leaving us in charge of making sure we dispense the medication to the correct patient”. In the local Moore Regional Hospital, a new robot called “Tug” has already been loaded for the nurses, and it is decreasing human error significantly.

Each “Tug” maneuvers Moore Regional’s hallways with an uncanny sense of direction. A sonar device and infrared sensors enable it to navigate the building and avoid obstacles. A certain interface in the hardware allows the “tug” to maneuver from floor to floor throughout the hospital (“Robots assist with flow of medication deliveries”). Lastly, Connie Tighe did not have the luxury of a “tug” robot to help assist her with the daily delivery of medication to her patients. Therefore, the medication was often misadministered amongst patients, creating deaths, and allergic reactions to medications.

Future Cancer Medications In a recent study, research discovered that advances in chemotherapy medication will continue to improve the outcome of breast cancer patients. The researchers in a recent study have found that breast cancer patients whose disease had spread to their lymph nodes and was estrogen-receptor-negative (ER negative) and who received treatment with modern chemotherapy had a much greater improvement in their five year disease-free survival rate (22. 8 percent).

The improvement in overall survival rate with the newer chemotherapy treatments was an overall 16 percent in patients and 4 percent in ER positive patients (“Advances in Chemotherapy Improve Outcomes in Select Breast Cancers”). Therefore, it is very promising what cures are to arise for breast cancer, not only breast cancer, but other types of spreading cancers. Hopefully, America now has a promising future for Americas leading disease that causes death. Vaccines Currently, healthcare has developed greatly when it comes to vaccines. The common vaccines that are used today are flu, HPV, shingles, and many other preventative vaccines.

Although, there has not been a vaccine developed to prevent the most dangerous disease of all, cancer. In 2010, the world’s first therapeutic cancer vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and though it does not cure the disease it can extend the lives of men living with prostate cancer who are no longer responding to hormone therapy (“ In the future, Vaccines may Cure Disease”). Breast cancer is another cancer that is becoming a dominant disease in most women across the world. In Cleveland, Ohio, scientists are studying and developing a vaccine to prevent breast cancer.

So far, experiments with mice have shown that the vaccine prevented breast cancer tumors from forming. In order to safely use this vaccine the components are injected together with the vaccine, and stimulate the immune system to launch a more severe attack on the enemy’s body. They constitute a cocktail that is deadly to disease-causing microorganisms (“In the Future, Vaccines may Cure Disease”). Therefore, healthcare is developing vaccines that will one day cure many diseases across the world. Due to cancer taking over men and women across the world, hopefully the vaccine to cure cancer is developed soon.

PROCEDURES Due to the use of technology improving, and medications enhancing, it is important that surgery developments take place. In order to keep up with these enhancements, procedures have become robot-assisted and minimally invasive for the patient receiving the procedure. Since diseases are developing rapidly due to the baby boom generation it is important that there are procedures and tools that will enhance the procedures to cure diseases. Endoscopic Capsule Robots One major way that procedure technologies have improved is in the recent use of Endoscopic capsule robots.

This surgical robot can change its shape to skirt safely around vital organs and navigate inside arteries that one day could spare cardiac patients the risk of open heart surgery. According to Paul Marks, M. D. contends “Unlike, electric motors, each tube can rotate independently, and is able to telescope into and out of the other tubes. Surgeons identify the path they wish to navigate in advance, and then choose the combination of pre-curved tubes that would enable the robot to adapt the shape needed to follow the route” (Marks, pg. 1&2) Also, robots have been safely tested during heart surgeries on pigs. We successfully used the robot to plug holes in the heart” says Dupont, who is now developing the robot at Boston Children’s Hospital (quoted in Marks).

This is a great start for the future that can decrease the amount of people receiving heart surgery annually. Also, it will eliminate the wound size/scar when operating on the heart, because of the endoscopic size of the capsule robot. Laser Surgery Another significant improvement in procedures is laser surgery. The laser has the exclusive ability to produce one wavelength that can be varied in its intensity and pulse duration. As the IPL light is directed at the skin, the nergy from the light absorbs water on the skin pigments. Many results improved therapeutic results reduced risk of infection, “Bloodless” surgery with most lasers, an alternative to traditional scalpel surgery, in some cases less scaring” (“Laser Surgery Information”). Although, many people seek laser as a last result or as therapy to hair removal of cosmetic, in the future it will be the first resolution to skin damage as well as cosmetic reasons. Miniature Medical Video Camera Next, is the invention of the miniature medical video camera. The mass production of the camera was launched in late 2010.

The camera is being used with CMOS imager used in Gastroenterology, Natural orifice, Trans- luminal endoscope surgery, Bronchoscopy, and Orthopedics. “The tiny camera is just 1. 2mm x 5mm long, and it is completely disposable! Also, there will be no need to pass the sterilization process which is often used in endoscopic procedures” (“Latest Invention”). This device can show a patient with appendicitis or an enlarged liver, through a screen on the outside of the operating room for the surgeon to see clearly, and take pictures to document the infection found in the appendix.

Therefore, by the use of the miniature medical video camera incisions will be decreased in size by only making an incision of about 1 inch! CLOSING In society, it is significant that future health care providers take charge and adapt these improvements. Health care workers and facilities will be able to solve unknown mysteries of the human body, and most importantly save lives. The influence of health care technology improvements will empower the health care professionals to become better accustomed at doing their jobs and help our medical facilities become more reliable!

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