Healthcare and Technology in the United States

The growth rate of the United States of America has had two huge spending seasons that of 1993 and that of 1998. Nonetheless, there has been reduced spending between 1998 to 2003. When compared to other countries, the outpatient expenditure per capita for the US is close to four times the OECD median which is close to the second most costly after Sweden. Some other countries like Switzerland and Norway spent more than the US. Additionally, a large portion per capita of the nationals fund was spent on pharmaceuticals compared to other goods. France and Canada expenditure trend on pharmaceuticals was close to that of the United States of America.

When compared to other countries, the US has remained behind in terms of technology in the health sector. Some countries have moved away from the implementation due to cost implication. However, this is not the same as the US since there is a lack of integrated, national IT system. Moreover, other countries have formed elaborate committees which are mandated with implementing HIT. The prosperous countries also witness some challenges during the implementation and were equally criticized something the US can learn and apply the system effectively. The united states of America also lack enough providers who use HER compared to other countries. The United States will be required to train more providers to help make this agenda a success. Some barriers have prevented the smooth adoption of HIT in the United States of America. Some of them are lack of interoperability, concerns of privacy and confidentiality and costs associated with the implementation.

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Incorporating technology in health care hade many benefits on patient’s experience.one of the most notable areas where technology impacted positively was on the quality of care given to patients. Consequently it expanded the way people followed the laid down procedures. One of the areas that was stressed and followed promptly was the decision support which was embedded in computers and structured to give reminders. Additionally, there was frequent checking of the records in the system electronically where the inpatients were involved. On the other hand, the order-entry system was utilized in checking the inpatients. Implementation of technology transformed the process of providing care to patients and the improvement expanded from 5 to 66 percent. Technology also made it possible for healthcare providers to focus on preventive aspects and one of the areas of preventive health care was administration of vaccines to prevent influenza and pneumonia all forming primary prevention. Moreover technology also enhanced secondary prevention where computerized surveillance was applied in areas where patients displayed high risk.

There was also a decrease in errors when technology was incorporated in provision of health care because it improved medication dosing. The amount of time spent on administering care decreased dramatically according to research because the order of entry was computerized which also provided decision support. The areas where a huge impact was felt by introduction of technology were laboratory services and radiology testing.

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Despite the incentives provided by the federal government regarding technology enhancement, not all hospitals are incorporating the technology in their operations. Various barriers to adoption of health electronic health records exist. According to research, there are a total of 68 barriers to adoption. Particularly, some depicted their inability to purchase the electronic health record system owing to the heavy capital investment that is required for the system.  The system could not be bought because the hospital don’t have enough money. Some of the hospitals are unable to make enough profit where a portion of the surplus could be diverted to buying the system. Secondly, it was problematic for some health institutions to attain meaningful criteria for using the complex system. Use of the system also requires qualified staff to be able to make it add value. However, many hospitals lacked qualified individuals to make the system successful. Staff needed to operate the system range from IT specialists, technical staff, and absence of technology support. There were also security concerns raised on hacking of the system and records being tempered with. Additionally, they were concerned about the system safety and safety of the records in the system. The system cannot operate adequately without reliable source of internet, another factor that was evident at some stations according to research. There was also general lack of desire to work with the system, a factor that will make the system flop either because of sabotage or because of lack of interest from the users.

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Systems are operated by individuals and they cannot operate independently without people intervention. It is because of people factor that information can be transmitted from one person to another increasing the possibility of access to information by unauthorized persons. Additionally, the information is also susceptible to distortion and destruction because of the users and in extreme cases, there can be denied access by the rightful users. Since people are the main source of strength or weakness to the system there should be need for enlightening them on the same. Firstly, they should be offered education and training with must not be a one day affair but a continuous process because of the unchanging issues surrounding systems. Secondly, those mandated with the responsibility of leading others in matters concerning system should be at the forefront of setting a good example which will be followed by the subordinates. They ought to avoid scenarios that could make them indulge in unethical behaviors. Thirdly, organizations should incorporate information security and accountability are all levels in its core values to be adopted by persons at all levels. Some other physical measures to be implemented center around proper handling of devices, implementation of good computer habits, installation of firewall to prevent hackers, installation of antivirus in computers, control information accessibility to only authorized persons, use of strong password that should expire after some, controlling access to networks and controlling physical access.

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The use of clinical information systems is coupled by a lot of challenges mainly concerned with cyber security. There are various issues touching on cyber security that make it complicated and has made the system more vulnerable. Despite the challenges, the issue can be managed to help the system work effectively to offer sound health care to patients. There exists no available way to prevent all cyber security threats but risk management can be incorporated in operations to help solve the problem. Basic hygiene on cyber threat should be maintained moving forward to help mitigate its disastrous effects. These include maintaining confidentiality, having secure backups in place, updating the software promptly for it to incorporate the required defense mechanisms against malware, installation of fire wall and anti-viruses. Furthermore, the hospitals ought to invest in systems that give priority to data security. In a nutshell, cyber security should be embedded in all hospital operations to become part of the culture.

 
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