The three health care technologies
Although I understood the important roles played by health care technologies in improving patient care, I was not familiar with the following three health care technologies: infection detecting technologies, telehealth tools, and hybrid operating rooms. The three technologies are so vital in health care that modern hospitals are adopting their use.
Infection detecting technologies involve the use of modern diagnostic tools for the detection of disease, causing organisms in biological, clinical samples. For example, a hospital might use procalcitonin (PCT) test to detect sepsis in patients. The use of infection detecting technologies allows health care personnel to detect sepsis earlier, and this helps to avoid the over usage of antibiotics.
Telehealth tools are used in telemedicine to facilitate physicians and other health care professionals to offer care to patients in different geographical locations. Telehealth tools may involve the use of computers and high-speed internet connections that go a long way in ensuring fast communication between a patient and a health care professional.
A hybrid operating room is a modern surgical facility characterized by high-tech medical scanning devices like CT and MRI scanners. A hybrid operating room uses the devices to ensure that patients undergo minimally-invasive surgery. The imaging devices enable surgeons to visualize and target only the parts they would want to rectify in the body through surgery. The use of hybrid operating rooms has led to great improvements in health care.
Health care technologies have impacted health care in many positive ways. However, the use of emerging technologies in an actual patient care situation could pose many risks to patients. Patients might be exposed to harmful radiations when emerging imaging technologies are used on them without knowing the level of exposure to detrimental radiations.
Adoption of emerging electronic health records (EHR) systems might lead to the wrong patient data entries. If wrong data are recorded for a certain patient, then there would be a high probability of causing the patient harm because wrong medications would be prescribed and dispensed.
The use of emerging health care technologies might also lead to many cases of patient cross-contamination. This would occur when health care professionals do not properly use endoscopes and surgical instruments. Patient cross-contamination would result in the transmission of infectious diseases like hepatitis C and tuberculosis.
How to minimize the risks
Health care organizations should establish patient safety committees that would monitor and evaluate patient safety. The committees would report patient safety issues to relevant personnel for immediate actions. There should be adequate training of health care professionals on the utilization of emerging health care technologies. Such training would orient health care professionals about many aspects of identifying errors and improving patient safety.
Health care professionals would also be oriented about using error reporting systems to report errors within health care organizations. The risks presented by emerging health care technologies would also be minimized by developing and adopting safe protocols and procedures.
This would involve the use of alerts in case of high-risk medications. Health care professionals would follow specific guidelines to ensure safe medication use and potentially reduce medical errors. Changes in organizational culture would help to minimize risks associated with the adoption of emerging technologies. The changes would be aimed to encourage health care professionals to report medical errors.