Modern technology changes the shape of every activity. Some changes make it easier to work; some provide certain risks. With the expansion of high-tech devices in the healthcare system, not only doctors and nurses but patients as well face the necessity to understand how the technology works. However, it is not only the understanding that makes it hard to work with some devices. Kane and Parsons (2017) argue that it is risks connected to advanced technology that may interfere with the doctors’ working flow and “challenge practitioners ethically” (p. 457). Therefore, need to assess the advanced technology arises. The important task of identifying some of its risks and benefits will be the goal of this paper.
In the video uploaded to YouTube by the Intelligent Hospital TV (2014) channel Dr. Neil Harpern, the director of ICU, presents some of the advanced technology that is currently used within hospitals of the Intelligent Health Association. While showing the pieces, Harpern states that there are, in fact, some of the crucial elements of the healthcare practice that must be taken into account to provide the best treatment. Those key elements are the proper environment and privacy. The doctor also mentioned the importance of specimens tracking and dosage monitoring.
Indeed, since the creation of the environmental model of healthcare by Florence Nightingale in 1860, practitioners had to pay a lot of attention to the environment in which a patient is placed. As stated by Karamitri, Talias, and Bellali (2017), “Every working environment is singular” (p. 8). This makes the provision of healthcare more complicated and challenging, especially since there is a need to make sure that the environment is always proper and the patient is presented with everything they may need.
Dr. Harpern states that, although the environment as a component of healthcare is important in itself, it has an excurrent element that is also crucial – privacy. The privacy may be ensured by providing a patient with technology for maintaining their privacy when needed. This technology comes in the form of E-Glass. Glass fiber makes it possible to shift the glass from transparent to opaque. With this technology at hand, there is no need for a patient to worry about their privacy as they are always in command of it and cannot be disturbed by other patients or doctors.
The specimens tracking, in turn, is made much easier by the system of pneumatic tubes that connect different parts of a hospital so that doctors and nurses always can quickly and precisely send any number of specimens. This system also provides monitoring of transitions ensuring that no disarray in specimens tracking and transportation would establish.
Finally, the element that is probably one of the most challenging in providing proper healthcare is dosage monitoring. Doctors and nurses are living human beings, and every human is more or less affected by the human factor. Therefore, there is always room for some mistakes. Providing proper medicine dosage is always a challenging procedure, especially when a practitioner is exhausted or simply inexperienced. According to Dr. Harpern, the proper dosage management may be achieved by using specialized equipment that monitors the correct amount of administered medicine and, therefore, prevents infusion of an incorrect one.
Risks and Benefits
According to Riek (2017) healthcare administrators “must balance the risks and benefits for adopting new technology” (p. 2). This is an obvious measure that occurs when any new technology is presented to the healthcare community. Risks and benefits that come with every piece of new equipment differ significantly. There is, naturally, need to assess them and make sure that the risks – if present – are negated, and benefits outweigh them significantly.
The benefits provided by advanced technology are quite evident. It allows healthcare practitioners to make the working processes easier to carry out, manage, and monitor. Advanced technology also provides more convenient means for a patient to ensure their privacy and safety. Additionally, it is much less difficult to notice any mistakes when using monitoring systems and devices. Because of the problem of “many hands,” it is often impossible to evaluate who caused a malfunction which resulted in patient threatening outcomes. Technology, in turn, resolves this problem by monitoring and cataloging every fault and its cause.
Although the benefits are significant, there are also a number of risks created by advanced technology. Probably the most notable risk that every new technology creates is the danger of malfunctioning. When a lot of responsibility is placed on the technology and tools (dosage monitoring, specimens transportation, etc.), any system failure may result in critical outcomes, especially if the task is very urgent. One cannot fully rely on technology without properly controlling it and making sure that it functions properly. Therefore, a lot of attention must be paid to ensuring the stability of any given technology.
The risks and benefits of every piece of modern technology differ in a lot of ways. While some make the healthcare practices much easier, others provide a number risks too high for this technology to be included. However, if the risks are carefully and thoroughly evaluated and prevented, there will always be room for innovations and improvements. Therefore, new equipment and systems based on computer soft- and hardware may be a major asset in ensuring patients’ safety and providing them with a better and safer environment.
Intelligent Hospital TV. The ICU at the 2014 Intelligent Hospital™ Pavilion [Video file]. Web.
Kane, R. L., & Parsons, T. D. (2017). The role of technology in clinical neuropsychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Karamitri, I., Talias, M. A., & Bellali, T. (2017). Knowledge management practices in healthcare settings: a systematic review. International Journal of Healthcare Planning and Management, 32(1), 4-18.
Riek, L. D. (2017). Healthcare robotics. Cornell University Library. Web.