Technology in Healthcare: Increasing the Capacity to Treat More Patients

Posted on Nov 10, 2014 by Solutionreach

Our 2nd Runner Up in the Solutionreach Scholarship Essay Contest

Jeremiah Jensen, a sophomore and journalism student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas is our second runner up in the Solutionreach scholarship essay contest. Jeremiah shares a great perspective on how improving communication between provider and patient will improve long term health outcomes and how technology frees up time for doctors to treat more patients. Great job Jeremiah!

Technology’s purpose is to improve the efficiency and proficiency of operations within any given field. It is one of the most important avenues humanity has for improving its overall quality of life. Thus, it is no surprise that one of the fields technology is most involved in, is the field of medicine. Healthcare is and has been one of technology’s primary beneficiaries. Technology’s steady progress paves the way for healthcare improvement.
One form of technology on the forefront of healthcare’s improvement is medical communications technology. This technology enables increased patient to doctor contact, perhaps the most critical part of a patient’s healing process.

Diagnoses and treatments come from contact with doctors, thus increased communication equals increased health, generally speaking. Advances in medical communications technologies are vital to the advancement of medicine, for when communications are clear, exchanges of information can occur between health professionals and patients the world over. Therefore, it is clear that better communication technology expedites the progress and potency of healthcare in the world, and that doctors ought to continue innovating and integrating such technology into their practices.
       
One of the most pressing issues in healthcare right now and for the foreseeable future is the fact that there are far too many patients in the world for the relatively small number of doctors to provide personal healthcare for. This is where innovations in medical communications technology must turn the tide. This technology is capable of drastically increasing the efficiency of healthcare. Doctors can more efficiently keep track of patients’ needs electronically than they could if they were to schedule an appointment for each one individually. Were doctors to do this, they could easily manage prescriptions, routine symptom checkups, appointment reminders and many other small tasks that take more time in person than necessary.

Essentially, technology allows a single doctor to provide care for more than one person at a time. It allows doctors to put their attention in many different areas and on many different patients without having to physically leave their offices. This means that each patient gets the individual care they need in less time than they would without electronic communications facilitating the exchange of information. As the world’s population continues to grow, it will become increasingly difficult for doctors to administer personalized care to patients. Thus, patient engagement technology will become a more prevalent necessity.
       
Another problem that constantly plagues doctors is the issue of ensuring that patients follow the proverbial “doctor’s orders.” Most operations and medical procedures require some sort of rehabilitation or treatment regimen. However, many patients do not follow these parameters, and as a result worsen their condition or create a new issue in their health. Patient engagement technology can allow doctors to monitor their patients’ recovery and treatment progress. With increased contact between doctor and patient and the lines of communication more open, the odds of successful treatment increase, and the risk of the patients’ health deteriorating decreases. This technology will be a key factor in ensuring that healthcare remains adequate and personalized as individual patients become harder to remain in contact with. It will also reduce the need for individual appointments, thus freeing up time for doctors to treat more patients.
       
Another advantage of medical communication technology is that doctors can collect and store the information exchanged through it for future use. As the population of the world increases, so will population density. As the population density increases, the potential for communicable diseases to spread grows exponentially. However, an increase in population density and health issues will also impact the number of cases and amount of health information that doctors can study and share. What doctors can do to counter the negative health effects of population density is to use the information they will have access to via patient engagement technology to track trends in the health of the population. This will allow for early prediction and prevention of communicable diseases. Detection and prevention will be integral strategies for medical professionals to continue maintaining and improving healthcare as time goes on, which means that the collection and disbursement of medical information through medical communications technology is critical.
       
Also related to the realm of efficiency, is the ability of patient engagement technology to automate many of the time consuming logistical tasks that pervade the field of medicine. Increased integration of patient engagement technology allows doctors to spend more time taking care of patients as opposed to scheduling and managing logistical drudgery.  Long term, this will prove to be of great benefit to healthcare institutions and doctors as it will enable them automate patient care and more efficiently manage and treat their ever-growing clienteles without needing to expend large amounts of time and effort on tasks like scheduling, billing, etc.
       
The task of maintaining quality healthcare will continue to get harder as the population increases. However, with the help of technology, doctors can ease the load of running a practice. Through patient engagement technology and improved communication technology, doctors can increase their effectiveness and their ability to manage the growing number of patients in the world. In addition to this, doctors can use the technology to improve healthcare through the increased access to information that technology offers. It is important that these innovations find their way into the regular practices of the medical field so that doctors can personalize healthcare to each of their patients. The greatest loss that an increased population brings to healthcare is the decrease in the doctor to patient ratio. With the numbers as askew as they are, it is becoming increasingly difficult for patients to get the treatment they need. The progressive integration of patient engagement technology will help to foster patient-centered care by reducing the negative effects of an increasing population and increasing healthcare’s capacity for patients.