Business

Technology as an enabler of our collective health

DR. DAVID WALCOTT

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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THE world of business is shifting at an unmatched pace with technology driving change, both positive and negative, in just about every sector. Business competitiveness in the modern era is largely dependent on an organisation's agility and ability to adapt to these shifts.

The past few decades have brought with them a myriad of transformation in practically all industries the world, and health care is no exception. With the fourth industrial revolution that continues to change the realities of different dimensions of our existence, technology has increasingly been embraced as a potent tool in expanding the profile of value that can be added through the health care system.

The entire value of chain of health care has been sequentially disrupted with technologies at almost every relationship relevant to patient care: from bedside management of patients to patient advice, electronic medical records, and filling prescriptions.

Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) systems allow doctors to enter patient prescriptions electronically instead of writing a physical document, and electronic medical records allow for rapid access to critical patient information, allowing for timely and efficient diagnoses.

Like all other computer systems, the health information system also needs the appropriate configuration, network security, solutions, and experts to keep the entire system safe, secure and effective.

In both developed and developing countries, an increasing number of private and public organisations are looking for useful applications of health information technologies that reduce health care costs and improve the efficiency and quality of health care.

BETTER INFORMATION MEANS QUALITY Health care

Rapid, high-quality, efficient information exchange means better and more secure health care. Through electronic health records and information exchange, experts will be able to review the entire medical history of the patient, improving the quality of medical care through better and faster decisions.

This therefore removes a large part of the friction generated by the health care team, having to physically search for patient information, and allows doctors to make complex decisions in increasingly rapid time frames.

With detailed medical records, one can minimise the risk of inappropriate medications, reduce the risk of medical errors, and reduce waiting times for patients — all of which are particularly desirable to consumers of health care services.

FFICIENT AND ACCURATE TREATMENT

Health information technology can also ensure that patient management is faster and more effective. Technology provides rapid access to health care services for remote patients — through telemedicine — and enables professionals to make clearer and more accurate management decisions.

Such decision tools typically use both extensive patient data and concensus algorithms for patient management that are influenced by the most up-to-date research.

This helps to remove the variability and inconsistency in the making of clinical decisions and provide benchmarks for best practices in the treatment or diagnosis of diseases.

REDUCE ADMINISTRATIVE INEFFICIENCY

Although compiling and managing paperwork is undoubtedly a difficult task, tech-enabled health system makes the management of administrative data much easier. By using electronic medical records and management systems, administrative work became much more efficient, which subsequently reduces administrative costs. This is critical because ultimately it leads to lower costs for health care services to the patient.

Society has only just begun to scratch the surface of the broad spectrum of benefits and uses of technology in health care, and we are likely to see many more disruptive changes in the dynamics of health care.

Technology will continue to transform our collective health and increasingly reduce the costs of access to quality health care in the days to come.

LEARN MORE AT TECH BEACH RETREAT

Tech Beach Retreat will bring together world class keynote speakers, panel discussions, fireside chats, workshops, nightlife and live entertainment all surrounding an ecosystem of progressive conversations about critical technological progressions of our era, such as augmented and virtual reality.

The retreat will feature global stalwarts in health technology at Tech Beach, taking place November 30 to December 2 at Iberostar Grand Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay.

This year welcomes other key speakers such as Michele Ramanow from Dragon's Den and Jeff Pulver — the co-founder of Vonage, a company that transformed communication through voice-over-IP technology.

In addition to health technology, Tech Beach promises to feature the latest in financial, consumer, health care and media technologies, all of which are relevant to the advancement of a prosperous Jamaica and productive Caribbean.

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