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The introduction and use of computers in primary health care provision in the United Kingdom has progressed slowly due to lack of proper coordination. This has necessitated calls with proposals to change policies so as to improve primary health care. According to researchers, proper coordination might enhance the use of suitable application of information technology (Markku at el, 2006). This paper will highlight on the benefits and challenges besides practical proposals for effective development.
ICT and Medicine
From the time ICT was incepted and applied in the pathways of health care in the United Kingdom, patients have experienced tremendous improvement at all stages of health care provision. This has mainly been necessitated by the fact that technology improves communication between the health care system and its consumers. One of its advantages could be its transacting administrative ability, convenience in accessing information as well as minimizing the need for regular visits to the clinic, hospital or doctor. It has provided various ways in which consumers can reach health information through NHS Choices mobile directory, Feedback services like that offered by Patient Option that gives consumers with the alternative to change health care delivery (Royal Commission on Long Term Care, 1999).
Technology may have an impact on the relationship between patients and their carers and or other medical experts in ways that may sometimes be perceived as counterproductive. For example, some doctors view the availability of online information to patients as a threat to the delicate balance of the patient–clinician relationship. Patients, on the other hand, may be concerned that the relationship with their carers could be replaced by one with a machine.
Patient Records SCR: The electronic health record card has the ability to track the patient and allows staff treating or taking care for patients to easily access information about them, therefore improving diagnosis and care.
Electronic Prescription Service: The Electronic Prescription Service enables those providing prescription services such as GPs and practice nurses, to send prescriptions electronically to dispensers like pharmacies of the patient’s choice. This has revitalized prescribing and dispensing processes therefore making it to be safe and convenient for patients and staff (Royal Commission on Long Term Care, 1999).
Choose and Book: ICT has provided the opportunity for online booking services as well as touch-screen patient check-in systems that offer patients more autonomy on the consultation process with their preferred medical expert and therefore empower them. It also offers monitoring and alarm facilities that help patients to sustain an independent life while bed-nursing at home for patients who might have to be cared for in a medical facility. Besides, there are devices that can check the level of blood glucose while others are able to monitor the use of anticoagulants help to save patients from unnecessary visits to the clinic or hospital.
Individual applications located anywhere for both patients are available. In medicine, ICT has had adverse positive effects beyond the doctors’ and hospital databases. It is evident that other areas that have recorded substantial effects from ICT include computers that control diagnostic machineries. In addition, computer analysis of information collected from diagnostic equipment (Royal Commission on Long Term Care, 1999). This is evident since images from NRM scans that are very unintelligible get processed and interpreted clearly by computers and therefore helping doctors to give the correct prescriptions to the patient. Expert systems can avail doctors with information regarding diseases that are uncommon. For medical consultants, guidelines and online access to research results and protocols on searchable databanks offer easy reference to the current knowledge reservoir. Preventive care has also been greatly facilitated by information technology (Wanless, 2007). For instance, monitoring someone’s vital signs like blood sugar, respiratory function or weight might help to avoid needless hospital admissions.
Web Based Support /Diagnosis: These systems are also referred to as knowledge-based systems in computers with the ability to replicate human performance. These computers are able to attend to patients in the same way that human doctors do (Wanless, 2007). Besides, through nanotechnology diagnostic body area networks web based support development has provided patients with small and easy to swallow sensors (NHS Modernisation Agency, 2004). These sensors are able to perform various diagnostic functions including endoscopy, biochemical to temperature measurements. Diagnostic findings from these sensors are sent wirelessly to sensors which then make the information available to doctors who have receptive sensors. In addition, through access to medical journals and or research material, it has provided symptoms diagnosis, to people who do not want to consult with a general practitioner. Nonetheless, it has provided extensive information on available treatment as well as offering tangible data on the side effects of particular medications.This has made medical examinations for complex diseases to be easy to diagnose and treat.
Telecare: According to studies, telecare computerized therapy can be used by patients in a home setting using any internet-enabled personal computer. Nonetheless, in telecare patients are given a transceiver to ware. Such transceivers have the capacity to collect and store limited data from the sensor inside the body will be able to store only a limited amount of data. The best solution to this problem is for the transceiver to download the data to a central hub (Wanless, 2007).
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