COVID-19: Technology in Health Care


The current on-going COVID-19 crisis shows the critical importance of technology and its availability in combatting the virus. The disruption of global supply chain networks created a major deficit in a wide range of medically necessary items starting from masks to artificial ventilation machines. Therefore, it is essential for the population’s overall health to advocate for properly equipping the healthcare facilities with the latest technology through funding and budget allocation.

Topic Selection

The given topic was selected primarily due to the fact that the United States experienced a shortage of vital equipment during the pandemic. It revealed that even the most economically prosperous nation is vulnerable to supply chain network disruptions, where both doctors and nurses treated the infected with hand-made masks. The US started to experience shortages in personal protective equipment and ventilators since early March when the virus was only on the rise (Ranney et al., 2020). It was a major demonstration of the invaluable role of technology in healthcare, and thus, the topic was chosen due to its relevance and paramount importance.

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Current Relevance

It is necessary to design a proper lobbying plan in order to advocate for the technology-based improvement of healthcare in Florida. The issue is relevant because Miami-Dade County of Florida is undergoing a major increase “in the number of ICU beds being used (114%) and in the use of ventilators (119%)” (Yeung et al., 2020, para. 1). In addition, another report suggests that recently, there was an increased demand for ventilators due to a number of patients requiring intensive-care beds (Levin, 2020). Therefore, the issue of technology in healthcare persists despite a large amount of budget allocation and financing. It is stated that the healthcare industry skipped over two important technological change cycles, which manifests as a potential burden for the facilities’ performance (Donovan, 2018). In other words, healthcare is not equipped with the most up-to-date technology that could help both managerial and medical aspects of operations.

The problem is especially relevant in Florida due to its lagging healthcare. It is stated that: “Florida ranks near the bottom among all U.S. states — at 42 — for health care based on cost, accessibility and outcomes” (Freeman, 2018, para. 1). Therefore, the given state can be considered as one of the worst-performing places, and it is partially because of poor technological integration. However, Florida is also a major hub for healthcare IT startups, which is why it is considered to be “the Silicon Valley” of healthcare-related technological products and services (“Why South Florida is a hub for healthcare its startups,” n.d.). Thus, the lobbying plan will revolve around advocating that these hubs will help to optimize and update the lagging technology of the state’s healthcare through funding and incentive creation.

Clinical Practice Integration

The clinical nursing practice is primarily dependent on the nurses themselves, but the role of technology should not be underestimated. It is stated that 82% of nurses convinced that technology significantly improves patient care (“7 nursing technologies transforming patient care,” 2019). The lobbying approach will focus on regulatory changes regarding the nursing practice, where healthcare facilities will be given funds in order to mandate the presence of essential technology. These are telehealth and apps, centralized command centers, electronic health records, wearable devices, smart beds, portable monitors, and automated IV pumps (“7 nursing technologies transforming patient care,” 2019). Therefore, the lobbying will involve a budget allocation for IT hubs to create and optimize apps and centralized command centers in order to improve the performance of nurses, which will be reflected in patient outcomes. In addition, the budget will be used to purchase some of these pieces of technology to increase the effectiveness of clinical nursing practice.

One should be aware that telehealth is one of the essential aspects that require technological intervention. Telemedicine is a method of delivering health care services when distance is critical. At the same time, the operations are carried out by representatives of all medical specialties using information and communication technologies after receiving information. They are necessary for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the disease. It is important to establish telemedicine centers at the Florida state, regional level, and at the county level. The prospects and advantages of telemedicine lie in the improvement of the health care delivery system. There is an optimization of the search for management decisions in the healthcare sector through the large-scale use of telemedicine and information technologies (Nelson & Staggers, 2017). In addition, one needs to take into account the fact that there are development and growth of human resources in medicine.

In the short term, it is necessary to saturate the overall health care structure with communication elements. This is necessary so that, as a result, the information system that connects all objects of the state health and social development department forms the basis for organizing a unified health information environment. Despite all the problems, the prospects for the technological update of the Florida healthcare system appear to be lagging. Information technologies are firmly established in various services and subdivisions of medical institutions. More and more managers of medical institutions are convinced of their effectiveness and necessity.

Information in Clinical Setting

The information can be used in the clinical setting as the promotion of technological updating in order to improve patient outcomes. It is stated that there is a major reduction in errors when automated IV pumps are used instead of human insertions (“Improving care with automated IV pumps,” 2019). In other words, a nurse can be more error-free by focusing on the essential tasks instead of doing routine ones. The proper integration of technology in healthcare not only improves the work of the medical specialists but also increase safety of patients.

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Lobbying Plan

The lobbying will target state representatives and public officials in order to mandate the implementation of essential technology for improving nursing practice and patient outcomes. This needs to be either local or federal regulatory change that forces all Florida healthcare facilities to use the most vital technology. They are telehealth and apps, centralized command centers, electronic health records, wearable devices, smart beds, portable monitors, and automated IV pumps. In addition, the plan will encourage using local resources in IT, such as hubs. They will be incentivized to assist healthcare facilities in optimizing their operations and integrating the obligatory equipment through budget allocations. The main point will be derived from the recent shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, which illustrated the vital relevance of technology in managing patient care and outcomes.

The use of modern information technologies in healthcare is dictated by the increasing volume of information, its reliability, methods of receiving, and transmitting. The process of improving the technological integration of healthcare in the country is gaining momentum every year (Nelson & Staggers, 2017). With this, the number of medical institutions that implement and use medical information systems is increasing. Modern information technologies, including these in the field of health care, help to rationalize the work of medical workers, and increase the efficiency of medical and preventive institutions. In addition, they are important to take health systems to the next level in terms of both service delivery and quality. Therefore, it is necessary to improve the regulatory framework for the use of information systems in healthcare and increase the confidence of doctors and the management staff in the computerization of the industry.

It is critical to establish training centers for doctors and to highlight positive results. The return from the implementation of medical information systems is expressed in qualitative indicators, such as improving the quality of medical services, facilitating the work of medical personnel, and improving the health of patients. To measure economic benefits, it is necessary to apply methods which are currently not sufficiently developed. The return from the introduction of medical information technologies as a whole consists of saving funds in certain areas of their spending (Nelson & Staggers, 2017). Therefore, estimates of the achieved economic effect can be obtained by identifying the fullest possible range of benefits provided by information systems. The most tangible benefits of implementing medical information systems are the benefits of reducing the number of actions with medical records, and the ability to copy documents. In addition, there are savings in drug costs, savings in laboratory and radiological examinations, and benefits from reduced hospitalization times. There are also the benefits of the administration received when working with payment documents. The level of information technology equipment in Florida medical facilities is still low.

The problem exists largely due to the lack of clear organizational and legal mechanisms for introducing IT into the work of specific expert institutions. At present, it is important that the legislator creates favorable conditions for active search, development, and improvement of IT to solve the problems of expert practice. It is about expanding the legal capacity of medical organizations to create local information systems. A medical organization should have the right to develop local information systems containing data about patients and the medical services provided to them.

Transactional systems provide the formation of primary information about the activities of medical and pharmaceutical organizations. They are also useful in automating information exchange both within medical and pharmaceutical organizations and between them. Transactional systems include, in particular, group of professional communication systems for medical and pharmaceutical personnel (Nelson & Staggers, 2017). It is clear that the communication component of IT prevails in transactional systems. Expanding the legal capacity of medical organizations in terms of creating local information systems is an important factor in innovative search and use of IT. A variety of organizational, scientific, and practical solutions for the utilization of IT increases the likelihood of choosing the most effective technologies. These approaches are supposed to harmonize their information and communication components.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the role of technology in healthcare is paramount, which was demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lobbying plan will revolve around state representatives and public officials, who will advocate for the renovation of Florida’s healthcare facilities by mandating the integration of essential technology. The local well-developed IT infrastructure will help the healthcare facilities in adhering to these new standards. The incentive will come in the form of budget allocation and funding for IT hubs and healthcare facilities themselves.

References

7 nursing technologies transforming patient care. (2019). Web.

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Donovan, F. (2018). Outdated healthcare IT infrastructure can weigh down organizations. The New York Times. Web.

Freeman, L. (2018). Florida among 10 worst states for health care, WalletHub reports. Florida Today. Web.

Improving care with automated IV pumps. (2019). Web.

Levin, J. (2020). Miami-area covid-19 patients on ventilators hit new high. Bloomberg. Web.

Nelson, R., & Staggers, N. (2017). Health informatics: An interprofessional approach. Mosby.

Ranney, M. L., Griffeth, V., & Jha, A. K. (2020). Critical supply shortages — The need for ventilators and personal protective equipment during the covid-19 pandemic. New England Journal of Medicine, 1, 1-3. Web.

Why South Florida is a hub for healthcare it startups. (n.d.). Web.

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Yeung, J., George, S., John, T., Macaya, M., Wagner, M., & Hayes, M. (2020, July 7). Hospitalizations and ventilator use rise in Florida’s Miami-Dade County. CNN. Web.

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