The notion of medicine has always been covertly correlated with every aspect of human life. Thus, the slightest modification in the behavioral patterns is to be immediately considered by the healthcare authorities. Such a phenomenon is primarily characterized by the fact that modern people, to stay healthy, have to adjust healthcare patterns regarding their daily lifestyles. As a result, one of the major issues in terms of proper patient diagnosis is the people’s inability to find enough time and resources for in-person check-ups and consultations. To address the following issue, the healthcare representatives coined the term “telehealth,” which embraced the means of providing quality healthcare through telecommunication and technology (Zork, Aubey, & Yates, 2020). Hence, the primary goal of this concept is to ensure the patients’ well-being with the help of virtual communication.
The following executive summary is aimed at presenting the analysis of the needs assessment as far as telemedicine software is concerned. Generally, telemedicine software is an operational system adopted by the healthcare facility and its patients to establish communication and store data (Bokolo, 2020). Although the software may be applied to practically any medical setting, the primary focus of telehealth technology implementation will be placed on prenatal care.
Relevance and Importance of a Needs Assessment
The implementation of telehealth technology into a facility is a sophisticated and relatively long process, as it requires much effort to be studied by practitioners, nurses, and patients. Thus, it is of crucial importance to consider both positive and negative aspects of the technology before submitting the final decision. As far as telemedicine software is concerned, there is a variety of challenges that are to be taken into account. To begin with, the use of software across the facility implicitly presupposes the presence of up-to-date equipment capable of loading big amounts of data.
Another significant aspect of needs assessment is the evaluation of the major tasks that are to be completed by the software. Today’s telehealth market is replete with software tailored specifically for a medical setting, so it is necessary to analyze all the possible options to make a meaningful investment. According to AlDossary et al. (2017), the needs assessment is the most important phase when planning a telemedicine implementation framework, as it is aimed at creating a beneficial environment for both medical staff and the community.
Moreover, it is necessary to evaluate the relevance of the technology implementation, considering the services provided to the patients and the extent to which telehealth might cope with these services. Considering the labor and delivery setting, the relevance of such technology was proved in 2019 with the first full-scale software used for virtual visits. The process of pregnancy requires much attention from nurses, yet not all the visits are to be conducted in person (Aziz et al., 2020). Thus, the process of needs assessment is extremely important in terms of the identification of the most applicable and beneficial software due to its potential impact on the overall workflow within the facility.
Key Issues to be Addressed by the Technology
Unquestionably, nurses play one of the most significant roles in the process of prenatal care and fetal diagnostics. Nurses spend much time assessing the overall health condition of the mother and fetus to make sure that there is no potential risk of miscarriage, premature labor, or developmental issues. Hence, for a mother to feel safe, she has to attend regular check-ups and ultrasound examinations at least once a month. However, these hospital visits may sometimes be quite hazardous for pregnant women, as they tend to have minor problems with the immune system. Thus, it would be safe to assume that online consultation is a beneficial solution for situations when women have no complaints about their condition. In such a way, communication with other patients at the facility is also limited.
Another key issue that may be addressed by the software implementation is the process of data storage and patient records management. According to the researchers, the implementation of such a technology implies that women use portable equipment such as fetal doppler, and the recorded data is then given to the nurses during a virtual visit (Aziz et al., 2020). In such a way, the necessary data may be automatically transferred to the general database.
Safety Requirements, Regulatory Considerations, and Confidentiality
As was previously mentioned, the use of technology in medical care has become of exceptional help for practitioners all over the world. However, as far as medicine is concerned, patient safety and confidentiality remain the major challenges to consider when implementing new approaches to diagnostics. The records in the patient’s history contain both sensitive data about one’s health conditions and personal information that may be exploited for fraud and identity theft (Parimbelli et al., 2018). For this reason, the implementation of software should be closely examined on the matter of confidentiality and protection. As far as safety requirements are concerned, both nurses and patients are to be educated about the data that could be mentioned in the database in order not to violate an individual’s privacy.
One of the major factors to address is the patient’s name. To mitigate the risks, the software may use a specific coding pattern for the patients instead of the full name. As far as regulatory considerations are concerned, the healthcare authorities and local legislature must establish a list of requirements that should be followed by the users. Moreover, since the software is usually accessible for both medical employees and patients, the latter should be informed about the potential complications of safety regulations violations (Parimbelli et al., 2018). Considering everything, it may be concluded that some of the major notions in terms of regulations include the creation of terms and conditions and privacy protection that are to be followed by both communication parties.
Impact on Stakeholders
Regarding the issue of telemedicine software implementation, the major stakeholders of the endeavor include physicians, nurses, patients, software developers, facility administration, and IT specialists. The external stakeholders of the following initiative include various clients who use the facility’s services, so this notion tackles society as a whole, placing a major emphasis on prenatal care. Hence, the potential impact of the technology implementation on both internal stakeholders and end-users of the software may be outlined as follows:
- Considerable expenses. Both healthcare providers and patients are to realize that the following project is followed by various financial investments. Hence, to make the software pay off, the prices of the service will increase, respectively.
- Service flexibility. With the absence of dependence on physical interaction and in-person visits, all the internal stakeholders will be able to manage their communication with patients in the most efficient way.
- Immediate database access. While encouraging outpatient counseling in terms of prenatal care, both stakeholders will have the ability to create an exhaustive database and record available at any time.
Technology and healthcare have now become closely interrelated due to the increased need to adjust the services provided by the facilities according to both the patients’ expectations and practitioners’ competence. The major emphasis in the following executive summary was placed on the assessment of telemedicine implementation in the sphere of prenatal care. Having taken into consideration the aspects of safety regulation, relevance, patient confidentiality, and impact on stakeholders, it may be concluded that technology implementation is a beneficial endeavor for the facility. Moreover, the implications of such investment will be then visible in the qualitative outcome of the pregnancy diagnostics.
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