Respiratory Therapy and Its Future

Medicine is a field that is continuously changing. New approaches to the management of diseases as well as other changes are being discovered almost on a daily basis. In this respect, respiratory therapy has not been left behind. An article published by PubMed states that the term respiratory therapy contains more than a single meaning. It refers to both a particular healthcare profession and an area in clinical medicine.

The healthcare sector has undergone various essential transformations especially in the last century, and specifically in the respiratory therapy area. However, more changes are still expected in this area in the coming years. The changes that the respiratory therapy field will undergo are fundamental to the field as they are going to change the way that it is practiced to the advantage of all stakeholders (Pierson, 2001). Myers (2013) postulates that these changes are going to affect three fundamental areas including technology, regulation and administrative requirements.

The future of respiratory therapy is going to be dominated by the integration of the electronic record management, especially in the ICU. According to a federal government order in the United States, hospitals are supposed to implement this policy by 2016 latest. Essentially, this means that there will be a database of patients somewhere that a clinician will consult in the event of an emergency (Barnes et al., 2011). Various experts agree that this is going to transform the efficiency of services that will be offered in healthcare, in general, and respiratory therapy in particular.

In the future, respiratory therapists are going to possess greater skills (Myers, 2013). The American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) is engaged in discussions that will culminate to the clinicians practicing at a level that is advanced. In the coming years, one will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree for them to qualify. C.R.T level of education is going to be replaced with R.R.T level program if the changes sail through. Future respiratory care physicians will be required to undertake two exams that will be a combination of written R.R.T and C.R.T if they want to be licensed (Kacmarek, Barnes, & Durbin, 2012). Therefore, respiratory therapy is going to be better placed to compete with other areas of medicine as more opportunities are going to be created.

Technological advances are also going to influence respiratory medicine in the future. The field is going to have various complex ventilators. These will offer improved modes that will be enhanced by graphics, leading to better service delivery (Wuyts et al., 2014). This technology will further perfect the electronic healthcare method that has been mentioned before. Other machines such as the ABG machines are going to mature into a model known as the point of care. Pierson (2001) argues that the practice of respiratory therapy is expected to undergo expansion with the embracing of the technological advances that are occurring in the area.

Research has also been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the respiratory therapy beyond the confines of the hospital walls. Kacmarek, Stoller, and Heuer (2014) argue that while the attribute, knowledge, and skills of a respiratory therapist are vital especially in acute care setting, there is a need for the profession to strengthen its position by moving beyond the hospital set-up so as to lead the reforms in the healthcare sector. They further charge that this is going to produce patient-focused results as well as make an impact that will be sustainable in the delivery of healthcare services in the future. Various articles by respiratory therapists support this school of thought. Therefore, respiratory therapy is going to break with tradition and offer its services outside the hospital environment in the future.

References

Myers, R. T. (2013). Thinking outside the box: Moving the respiratory care profession… Web.

Barnes, T. A., Kacmarek, R. M., Kageler, W. V., Morris, M. J., & Durbin, C. G. (2011). Transitioning the respiratory therapy workforce for 2015 and beyond.Respiratory Care, 56(5), 681-690.

Kacmarek, R. M., Barnes, T. A., & Durbin, C. G. (2012). Survey of directors of respiratory therapy departments regarding the future education and credentialing of respiratory care students and staff. Respiratory Care, 57(5), 710-720.

Kacmarek, R. M., Stoller, J. K., & Heuer, A. H. (2014). Egan’s fundamentals of respiratory care. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Myers, R. T. (2013). Thinking outside the box: Moving the respiratory care profession… Web.

Pierson, D. J. (2001). The future of respiratory care. Respiratory Care, 46(7), 705-718.

Wuyts, W. A., Antoniou, K. M., Borensztajn, K., Costabel, U., Cottin, V., Crestani, B., & Wells, A. U. (2014). Combination therapy: the future of management for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis?. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 2(11), 933-942.