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The use of technology, in today’s fast paced
lifestyle is very important and valuable. Technology is a boon for today’s
generation as it keeps us updated with the latest news and information related
to all sectors. In modern times, technology has been put to its greatest use in
several organizations. A few examples are telecommunications, information
technology, educational institutions, food industry, health care, etc. In this
topic we will be focusing on the use of technology in health care sector. The
topic mainly focuses on the use of mobile phones and mobile developed apps in
smartphones and its applications in health care sector. The reason I chose the
medical field for my topic because almost everyone in this world knows the use
of technology in every human’s life. They use it for communicating, playing
games, social media, etc. But very few only know the uses of technology in the
medical field and how useful it is in the medical field and how technology has
improved the medical field. So, my main objective is to deliver the information
about the uses of technology in medical field to people.

There are several advantages applications on
smartphones, which are vital for health care professionals (HCPs). These apps
assist HCPs with various important tasks, such as: information and time
management, maintenance of patient health records and access, communications
and consulting, reference and information gathering, patient management and
monitoring, clinical decision making, and training and education (Ventola.C.L.,
2014). There are several other applications of mobile devices. Mobile devices
can be utilised in spreading information to remote village sites in cases where
there could be a diseases outbreak. The use of social media in these mobile
devices could play a pivotal role in delivering information related to health
care at the tip of your fingers (Narain.J.P and Ofrin.R., 2012).

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However, whilst there are several advantageous roles
that mobile devices could play in the medical health care sector. The
implementation of these applications and uses of apps are not so cost
effective. The feasibility of these applications is not easy because the common
people using these applications are not well versed with the intricacies of
these applications. Mobile connectivity in remote areas could also be a
disadvantage in the use of these applications. Although there are several
positive uses that these applications provide, better standards and validation
techniques must be ensured for the proper use and integration of these modern
tools into the health care sector (Ozdalga.E. et, al., 2012). This chapter will
further discuss all the advantages and disadvantages of the use of mobile apps
and technology in the field of medicine.

USE
OF MOBILE DEVICES IN HEALTH CARE SECTOR

The introduction of mobile devices or personal
assistants via smartphones has greatly impacted many sectors in a progressive
manner. HCPs previously had to use an array of devices to communicate and to
compute but the invention of smartphones has made it at ease to use all
computing and communication related features on a single device. Mobile devices
have several features like text, voice and additionally they have advanced
features such as web browsing/searching, global positioning system (GPS), good
quality cameras and sound recorders (Boulos.M.N. et.al., 2011).

One could assume without second thoughts that mobile
devices have strongly influenced the health care sector. This can be clearly
stated as there are several researchers have shown a high ownership rate of
these smartphone tools used by HCPs both in clinical practice and education
(Aungst.T.D., 2013). Several researches carried out have shown that
approximately 80% of HCPs use an IPhone whilst the remainder of the physicians
use an Android based smartphones. Surveys have shown that 66% of HCPs own a
tablet computer, out of which only 54% use it in their practices (Chase.J.,
2013). The result of another study suggests that 85%, 90% and 85% respondent,
respectively, use smartphones in a wide variety of clinical settings ranging
from classrooms to hospitals (Wallace.S. et.al., 2012).

NECESSITY
OF MOBILE DEVICES BY HCPs

The demand for better communication and resources at
the point of care, is one of the important impetus in the pervasive
implementation of mobile devices use by HCPs. Thus, HCPs must be able to access
different types of resources in a medical sector, such as:

·        
Communication capabilities- voice
calling, video conferencing, text and email

·        
Hospital information systems (HISs)-
electronic health records (EHRS), electronic medical records (EMRs), clinical
decision support systems (CDSSs), picture archiving and communication systems
(PACSs), and laboratory information systems (LISs).

·        
Informational resources- textbooks,
guidelines, medical literature , drug reference

·        
Clinical software applications- disease
diagnosis aids, medical calculators

The widespread accessibility of mobile devices has
made it easier for HCPs at gathering resources and information at the
fingertips.

USE
OF MOBILE APPS BY HCPs

The use of mobile apps and medical devices has a
wide range of applications, which can be grouped into five broad categories:

·        
Administration

·        
Health record maintenance and access

·        
Communications

·        
Consulting and reference

·        
Information gathering and medical
education

 

 

ESSENTIAL
USES OF THESE MOBILE DEVICES BY HCPs

·        
Information and time management

Information and time management is
nothing but to store patient’s medical information, operating procedures,
patient visit time etc.  This allows us
to save our time by using computers or laptops instead of writing in a book. It
also allows us to keep the details in our fingertips

 

·        
Health record maintenance and access

In modern times a hospital’s health
record maintenance and access can easily be stored in soft copy which allows
the users to save physical space and the accessibility becomes easier. Some
example of record can be stored in soft copy are patient’s medical history,
vitals prescriptions, lab results, x-rays, scans, consultations and discharge
notes.

·        
Communication and consulting

Mobile devices can be used in
communication and consulting. Doctors can use voice and video calling, text,
email, multimedia messaging and video conference to communicate with the
patients. This allows the patients to save their time or travelling cost.

 

·        
Reference and information gathering

o  
Drug reference

Doctors
use several apps to find out information regarding specific drugs. These apps
are called drug reference apps. These apps give detailed information about the
drugs manufacturers, usage indications, dosage, pharmacological effects, side
effects and cost. There are several apps in the market, few examples are
Epocratees, Skyscape RxDrugs/Omnio, Micromedex, etc.

o  
News acquisition

Due
to the rapid rise in social media and internet there are several apps in the
market that help HCPs gather information regarding medical breakthroughs and
new invention in the field of medicine. Therefore, these apps help HCPs stay
updated with the latest news and information.

 

 

 

 

·        
Patient management

·        
Clinical decision making

In
this modern times mobile devices help the HCPs with the clinical decision
making. The doctors can use the mobile apps to identify the appropriate scans
or tests to order which decreases the unnecessary procedures and reducing cost
of care. The mobile apps can also be used to conduct simple tests like visual
acuity or colour blindness and as well as blood pressure level or glucose
level.

·        
Patient monitoring

The
use of mobile devices also helps the clinicians to remotely monitor the health
and the location of their patients. These apps can also monitor the patient’s
heart function and also help to collect the clinical date of a specific
patient.

 

·        
Medical education and training

In this modern world, mobile device
and apps are being used also in the medical education and training. These
mobile device and apps are being used by the medical students to access
information about medical conditions and drug treatment, to perform medical
calculations and to make basic notes. Medical students are also using mobile
devices and apps for multiple things like knowledge assessment test, assessment
preparation, case studies, surgical imitation, etc.

 

BENEFITS
OF MOBILE DEVICES AND APPS FOR HCPs

Mobile devices and apps have provided numerous
benefits for HCPs. The have allow HCPs to make rapid decisions with lower error
rate and also making the HCPs to gain extra knowledge. One of the most
important benefits is,  this benefit that
has gained has shown positive effect on patients. Benefits of mobile device and
apps provide to HCPs are also in the following:

BENEFIT 1

·        
Convenience

Health
care professionals are convenient  by
using mobile device and apps through accessing information that they need
easier and faster. Medical students are also convenient using mobile device and
apps since they don’t need to carry reference books to their institution since
they can now access those books using a mobile device. The HCPs and medical
student can have all the information in their pocket now and it is much easier
for them.

BENEFIT 2

·        
Better Clinical Decision Making

The
uses of mobile device and apps have improved the clinical decision making. The
clinicians can now order lab test for patients and make them understand the
test results clearly and can also send the patients a soft copy of their test
results to keep them safe.

·        
BENEFIT
3

·        
Improved Accuracy

Mobile
devices can now improve the accuracy of patient documentation. Users can reduce
the rate of errors they make by using a mobile device. As we all know mobile
devices usually provide us the correct information.

 

Issue & Analysis 1

Accessibility

One
of the major issues faced by mobile technology in healthcare is the level of
accessibility. Accessibility can be defined as the reach of these technologies
to the least privileged people. As helpful as technology is in maintaining
health records at the same time it could be devastating, as maintaining them
from hackers and viruses is a tedious task. These mobile devices are not easily
accessible in remote villages as there is a lack of connectivity and mobile
networks. Also not everyone living in these remote areas can afford to own a
mobile device. HCP’s using these technologies might be prone to lose
concentration during major operations and also they could become very dependent
on the technology and might exhibit complacency. Though most people have mobile
devices not all of them are smartphones, these technology is only effective in
devices with smartphone capabilities. Basic devices might not be able to fulfil
the needs of these technologies. These are few of the accessibility issues I
have learnt from my literature review.

 

Issue &
Analysis 2

Cost

The
implementation of technology in the medical field is not so cost effective. To
develop these mobile technologies lot of work needs to be put in and the number
of people required to establish these technologies is huge, therefore the cost
of employment also substantially increases. The amount of money invested into
developing and maintaining data is vast. Maintaining data requires large
numbers of servers and backup devices, which are quite costly. The health care
centres must setup servers and backup servers within their hospitals in order
to cater to the HCP’s usage of these technologies. Also internet and mobile
connectivity play a key role in these technologies. Therefore setting up these
devices is costly.  The other issues are
it is not easy to access mobile technologies in remote villages. It is because
internet is one of the most important requirements and also they need antenna,
cell phone towers and etc. If these things aren’t there we can’t use mobile
technologies.

Issue &
Analysis 3

Mobile Technology
in Health

Mobile
technology has been increasing in the usage of every part of our life. They are
being used education, business and also in health section. They have been
decreasing the amount of work in the health section. Mobile technology helps
health section in many ways. The patients can book or reserve an appointment for
themselves using WhatsApp and messages. This will make them no need to call the
clinics or hospital to book appointments. This will also reduce the work of the
workers in clinics or hospitals. Although it reduces the work, the clinic
workers or patients should know how to use the technology. If they don’t it
will be hard for them and it will be easy for known users.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion I would
like to say mobile devices and apps are invaluable tools for HCPs and as their
features and uses expand, they are expected to become even more widely
incorporated into nearly every aspect of clinical practice. However some HCPs
remain unwilling to adopt the use of mobile devices and apps in clinical
practice. Although medical devices and apps inarguably provide the HCP with
many advantages, they are currently being used without a thorough understanding
of their associated risks and benefits. The main determinant of an app’s value
may ultimately be its ability to provide meaningful, accurate and timely
information and guidance to the end user in order to serve the vital purpose of
improving patient outcomes.

 

Reflection

In future mobile
devices and apps are expected to continue improving and bringing additional and
enhanced benefits to clinical practice. In my opinion I expect in future all
the smartphone should have an emergency button at the back of their phone. This
is because if a person in an emergency and they need an ambulance or police
they need to click the button at the back of their phone. This will be effective
because when someone is almost fainting or they are being threatened by some
robbers they can just click the button and ambulance and police could get the
notification and reach the place as fast as possible. 

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