Personal face-to-face communication is and will continue to be the foundation of the patient- physician relationship. Electronic communication between caregivers and patient through telephones web-sites and e-mail are forcing medical staff and physicians to rethink the way they provide care to the patients, the accessibility to on-line health and wellness information. Home monitoring systems, personal health records, and on-line support groups is making it possible for society to take charge of their health (Center for Practice Improvement and Innovation, 2008). This paper will look at electronic forms of communication; new and old be used externally as a delivery source of conveying patient specific information, the impact of distance delivery on health care, the use of electronic systems to transfer records, and the impact of said systems today and a projected five years in the future. Physician practices, for nearly a century, have relied on the telephone to communicate to communicate with patients. The telephone have been used to relay lab results, handle consumers renewing prescriptions, scheduling patients for their appointments, and reminding patients of future appointments.
In addition to medical personnel use, the telephone is used to communicate to other departments or facilities, unit to unit communication, and insurance companies. The telephone can be also used as a clinical tool. With patient who are chronically ill and have established a relation ship with the physician, the telephone can serve as a office visit (Center for Practice Improvement and Innovation, 2008). With advancement in technology, as the number of patients and physicians acquiring the means to electronically communicate increases, the willingness and desire to apply the provisions to ambulatory care ahs gathered momentum. Caring for patients electronically increases productivity, practice efficiency, and lowers operating costs. On-line communication can produce these results through reduced administrative costs, fewer telephone calls, and growth by attraction of new clients. Compared to phone calls, e-mail transcripts are less distractive and can be performed relatively inexpensive; they are self documenting and can be done at the leisure of the physician.
On-line communication allows the patient to read and reread to gain a better understanding of directives. The use of internet communication results in patient retention and patient satisfaction (Center for Practice Improvement and Innovation, 2008). The safest way to communicate on-line is by using a secured messaging system. HIPAA regulates that all health care organizations protect all patient health information, especially health information being transcribed electronically. A secured site for medical information is to protect unauthorized users from access. The most common protection for electronic information is installing an encryption system (Center for Practice Improvement and Innovation, 2008).
The Impact of Delivery on Health Care Information technology tools incorporated in medical practice results not only in service availability and improved quality but also in transformation of the care delivery model. Health care systems in the modern sense, relies on the concepts of patient continuity of services, shared care, and empowerment. These fulfillments can be made possible by establishing safe electronic contact between patients and physician. The use of telemedicine applications improves the process of exchanging information between medical professionals representing different areas of medicine and referential levels. Telecommunication progress and computer science leads to transformation in other domains. Information technology opens the window for assuring appropriate healthcare quality within reasonable cost (Duplaga, 2004).
The Use of Information Technology
As consumers demand more opportunities to use the internet. The internet is transforming the consumers as they interact with the health care system. Telemedicine for remote patient monitoring of patient health is increasing in use by doctors and health care providers. The internet is also transforming health care through electronic medical records. Records stored electronically boosts survival rates ad improves coordination by allowing facilities and medical providers access to share medical information with ease. An electronic medical record is the heart of any computerized information system in health care. In absence of this, modern technologies such as decision support systems cannot be integrated into the clinical workflow. Current Electronic medical records systems are delivering safe, high quality health care. Medical vision and need for use is why telemedicine was created. Telemedicine cover a wide range of capabilities. Telemedicine can be defined as the delivery of images, data and sound enabling medical practitioners that diagnose and provide options in medical care at a distance.
The transmission of this medical data can be accomplished through other technology systems such as the telephone, web using interactive video, computer or fax. Real time applications and store and forward are two types of telemedicine systems delivery. With real time systems, participants are using the system at the time of care delivery. Such as two doctors discussing methods of treatment or delivering treatment. Specialized software such as exam cameras and other imaging devices can make the atmosphere of both participants being in the same room. A store and forward system does not require that. Using this system allows medical personal to gather needs resources such as, Patient medical history, images, and other pertinent data. One can then recommend treatment at a later date or time.
Physicians may use these systems to train and learn as they can provide real life, real time experiences (Masys, 2010). Information technologies have the ability to affect distribution and the types of jobs in the health care Industry. In a background of a growing body of knowledge in the realm of health sciences, recent models of decision making by clinical practitioners, relying mainly upon their memory and personal experience, will be inadequate for effective health care delivery in the twenty-first-century. In the health care industry, information activity is intense. From the point of view in business, two kinds of action are performed: medical procedures to support therapy, disease prevention, diagnosis, and the communication, acquisition and storage of information. Information technologies have launched a social trend and will continue to have a huge impact on the health care industry.
The ring bearer of this trend is the internet. The internet brings access to interpersonal communication and information on a large scale to millions of people world wide. In 2001 roughly 54 % of Americans were using the internet and the adoption rate from new comers with this technology is about two million per month (Masys, 2010). Most American children are both using a computer and accessing the internet in their homes or at school. E-mail lists, disease-related chat rooms, offshore pharmacies, internet telemedicine services, and hundreds of alternative and conventional medical websites are the panicle of a world with personal choices. Evidence suggests that for internet users with acute illness, making doctor appointments has changed from first to last resort, a trend that is strengthened by the decision of services in environment of manage care (Masys, 2010).
In conclusion, it can be very difficult to predict how medical practices will use electronic communication in the years to come. Just implementing a system is not going to have a great impact on the quality of care delivered. The systems have to be exceptional design and can be used effectively for it to impact the quality of care. However, one can rest assure that the role of communication will grow significantly More patients are demanding that physicians communicate with them electronically and physicians are recognizing that this media can be a key tool in managing the demands facing their practices, thus adding fuel to the trend.
Center for Practice Improvement and Innovation. (2008). Communicating with Patients Electronically. Retrieved November 27, 2010 from
http://www.acponline.org/running_practice/technology/comm_electronic.pdf Duplaga, M. (2004). The Impact of Information Technology on Quality of Healthcare Services .Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Retrieved November 28, 2010 from http://www.springerlink.com/content/mlc0atymr41lllq3/
Masys, D. (2010). Effects Of Current And Future Information Technologies On The Health Care Workforce. Health Affairs. Retrieved November 25, 2010 from http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/21/5/33