Technological development is the greatest trigger of the changes that are being witnessed in the healthcare industry today. Advancement in technology has influenced the manufacture, distribution, and even administration of healthcare equipments and medicine. Professional and academic requirements for healthcare practitioners are also dependent on the current technology.
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The medical world is now full of machines and bioengineered equipments that require a certain degree of technological proficiency to operate. Moreover, technology has also empowered customers to seek and access their healthcare rights and information. Customers can now use current technology to assess the credentials of medical practitioners.
Negligence and errors in medical treatment that were witnessed before the inception of modern technology have reduced. With this hint in mind, there is a need research more on the impact that technological advancement has had on healthcare. Besides, there is a call for further research on how such technological changes have altered healthcare education and labor requirements in the health sector.
The paper therefore provides a framework/plan for a case study final paper on this subject with four chapters each providing a detailed scrutiny of the issue under study. Primary sources such as statistical findings on the subject will be used in the research. Archival documents such as reports, government publications, responses, and reflections on the subject from different stakeholders will also be used.
Technology and the Cost of Health care
The first chapter will involve a literature search on the impact of technological changes on the cost of health care. The cost of healthcare has also risen in the past few years owing to the adoption of technological methods of treatment. In this chapter, the impact of technology on the healthcare financing will be evaluated using relevant literature detailing the same. Chaudhry et al. (2006) are some of the authors with significant work in this area whose work will be reviewed.
Medical technology is expensive and hence the high cost of medicine and medical services today. Modern technology has also been credited with the current increased level of accuracy in medical treatment. Cannon in his literary work provides details of the various ways that technology has aided in the compliance to medication for mental health patients (2000). This work will also be reviewed. Medical technology is however expensive.
According to Braun et al., this case has not complemented the shortage of medical staff (2013, 1). In fact, one would expect the health care sector to increase staff to seal the gap of the few medical tools (because of its high cost) in a bid to attend to a recommendable number of patients. Nagykaldi and Mold evaluated the role of health information technology on the translation of research into practice, and managed to capture some of the limitations, with cost being a major factor (2007).
Teich et al. also duplicated the findings, with their study showing that cost limits the adoption of basic medical technologies (2000). The materials used to make medical equipment are costly. Medical equipment is made with materials that do not react with certain chemicals such as glass. Medical equipment and tools also call for high level of care when handling them.
Some modern machines such as the X-ray machines, physiotherapy machines, and life support machines require a high level of maintenance. Housing them also requires specialized facilities and continuous maintenance that is often expensive (Haddad, 2012, p. 149). Despite the costs, however, the technology has proven to be useful in medicine. According to Galas and Hood, medical schools and other health institutions also find it expensive to adapt to new technologies (2009, 4).
Megan McArdle suggests that “Health-care costs are driven by technology, not Presidents” (McArdle, 2013). The author claims that the new act named ‘Obamacare’ has helped in reducing the expenses on health-care. The program has not been fully operative but by the reports that have come in so far the results are encouraging. The providers of health-care started preparing for the actual launch of the program.
Appendices 1 and 2 depict the expenses being incurred on health-care. Appendix 1 shows the top 10 items in terms of expenditure and the change in these expenses as compared to the previous year.
Among the top 10 supply items, IVD End Plate (increase of 0.8%), Cochlear implants (increase of 2%), and Spinal Cord Stimulator – Analgesic (increase of 4.5%) have registered an increase in their respective expenses.
Implantable pacemaker (decrease of 1.3%), CRT – P (decrease of 1.5%), Biological heart valve (decrease of 0.1%), Hip implant – Acetabular shell (decrease of 2.3%), Knee implant – Femoral (decrease of 9.3%), Shoulder implant – Humeral (decrease of2.6%), and Drug-eluting stents (decrease of 4.9%) have registered a decrease in their respective expenses as compared to the previous year (“Technology price index” 2013).
Appendix 2 shows the change in the expenses in capital items since the previous year. Among the most expensive capital items used in health-care are Angio, Cardiac Cath lab, CT Radiotherapy Simulation System, CT scanner, Digital Mammo, Digital X-Ray, Linac, MRI, PET/CT, and Radio surgery.
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Among the top ten capital items, only the following three have registered an increase in their expenses: CT Radiotherapy Simulation System (increase of 3.2%), Digital Mammo (increase of 14%), and Linac (increase of 18.7%). The rest of the capital items have shown a decrease in their expenses as compared to previous year (“Technology price index” 2013).
Growth and development in the health care sector
This chapter will highlight some of the important milestones in the health sector in relation to health technology. Cannon and Allen state its usefulness in the medication compliance (2000). However, with the increased medical technology development, the government has also resulted to higher spending in the health sector (Bardhan & Thouin, 2012, 443). The benefits of the spending will be weighed against the efficacy of the technology in this chapter.
Chaudhry et al. evaluated the benefits over a ten-year period, with benefits being weighed against the costs of technology in healthcare (2006, 743). The growth in the industry will be evaluated in terms of mechanization and in the solid facilities housing the machines. According to Haddad, these have also seen significant developments (2012).
Most of the major technological developments in the health industry have been in the health information system, and this is commensurate with the global advances in information technology. The study by Nagykaldi and Mold will be important in this chapter to highlight these developments (2007). More people are in health insurance schemes, which make it easy for them to access modern health care.
This may be one way of making technology affordable to them. Some researchers have defines the medical costs in the industry (Teich et al., 2000). This work will also be evaluated here. The use of modern aircraft and medical ambulance boats has enabled faster rescue missions in case of a disaster.
Reproductive health has also benefitted from the emergency response (Somigliana et al., 2011, 1152). Such equipment is fitted with modern communication gadgets that enable quick medical response in case of an emergency. This has resulted in the expansive growth in the sector.
Due to the incessant developments in technologies, there have been numerous developments in all walks of life and health care is no exception. The health care services in the United States are probably the largest throughout the world. Russ Britt claims that “Health care due for big changes in 2014, not all from Obamacare: Study” (Britt, 2013).
It is reported that the insurance companies will have to bear the brunt of the new program, Obamacare. The ‘Affordable Care Act’ will bring about enormous changes in the health care industry. Britt further adds that, “There are elements of the act that are spurring change, such as paying more for value than volume, and getting more coverage to people” (Britt, 2013).
The health care industry is moving forward to embrace cost saving, a phenomenon that has not been achieved till now. During the past couple of years, the medical inflation has been in double figures. It is encouraging to note that in the coming year, this rate is predicted at 4.5% (Britt, 2013). Everyone is now waiting with crossed fingers to see the results of the efforts of the Obama government.
Impacts of the current technology on health education and labor requirements
This chapter will deal with the relevance of technological advances in the health sector to the labor requirements and in health education. Modern technology and medical informatics are quickly taking over some of the traditional roles that were played by medical practitioners (Korzep, 2010, 354).
Teich et al. state that the availability of medical information on the internet means more patients are seeking treatment at an earlier stage of diseases. This case has propelled costs downwards (2000). Some of the other researchers’ work that also upholds this view will be evaluated such as Chaudhry et al. (2006). Procedures of treatment diseases are all over the internet pages. Therefore, in case of an error in treatment, medical practitioners quickly find themselves in court and eventually in jail for negligence and incompetence.
Despite the developments in the health technology, the medical practitioners remain the primary healthcare providers. Machines will not replace them any time soon. However, mechanization has led to the reduction in the number of personnel required to perform certain procedures as evidenced in some of the literary works to be reviewed (Nagykaldi & Mold, 2007; Haddad, 2012).
This will be discussed in this chapter in relation to the labor laws. Well-documented health records on computers are quickly replacing the period of bad handwriting of doctors (Dhillon, 2011, 397). Health database can now be retrieved from medical health data bank in most of the modern hospitals.
Although the presence of more informed patients will affect labor requirements in medical field, some of the roles will remain. Regardless of the point of prescription or diagnostics, the patients for surgery will still have to see a surgeon. However, the role of the medical doctor and the medical health practitioner are far from being downsized or replaced. Medical technology will result in the development of new jobs.
Training of medical practitioners will also become easier with technology. Technology comes with speedy changes. Therefore, practitioners will be forced to concessionary go back to college for more training and refresher courses.
For example, with the coming of personal genomics treatments, computerized systems will be used to select specific medicine for particular patients by their DNA. Such a move will necessitate the acquisition of particular computerized technology by health practitioners. Cannon and Allen detail some of the changes in the industry especially in the dispensing of drugs (2000).
The increase in cost on health care service depends mainly on the technology being used. Innovative technologies cost more and as such the health care service cost also increases. It is not necessary that all innovative technologies are effective for example, the innovations in the treatment of cancer have not yielded encouraging results but the cost has kept on increasing. Astonishingly, in comparison to the year 2010, the number of patients is expected to be doubled by the year 2014 (McArdle, 2013).
Sustainability of Health technology
In this chapter, an evaluation of the sustainability of the existing health technology will be evaluated. Over time, smaller, better, and more sophisticated machines have always replaced most of the technological innovations in different fields. The health industry is no exception. Researchers are always looking for better interventions (Chaudhry et al., 2006).
In this section, a review of the likely changes will be done. Some of these are available in the recommendations of the researches that will be reviewed (Cannon and Allen, 2000; Haddad, 2012). In their research, Nagykaldi and Mold state that technology is dynamic and will change in line with the prevailing innovations (2007). The sustainability of such changes and the existing technological milestones will therefore be reviewed in this section.
Bardhan, Indranil, and Mark Thouin.”Health information technology and its impact on the quality and cost of healthcare delivery.” Decision Support Systems 55, no. 2 (May 2013): 438-449.
Braun, Rebecca, Caricia Catalani, Julian Wimbush, and Dennis Israelski. “Community Health Workers and Mobile Technology: A Systematic Review of the Literature.” Plos ONE 8, no. 6 (May 2013): 1-6.
Britt, Russ. 2013. “Health care due for big changes in 2014, not all from Obamacare: Study.” Web.
Cannon, Dale and Allen Steveb. “Comparison of the effects of computer and manual reminders on compliance with a mental health clinical practice guideline.” Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 7, no. 2 (May 2000):196-203.
Chaudhry, Basit, Wang Jerome, Wu Shinyi, Maglione Margaret, Mojica Walter, Roth Elizabeth, Morton Sally, and Shekelle Paul. “Systematic review: impact of health information technology on quality, efficiency and cost of medical care.” Annals of Internal Medicine 12, no.144 (June 2006): 742-753.
Dhillon, Sigh. “Medical Equipment Reliability: a review, analysis methods and improvement strategies.” International Journal of Reliability, Quality & Safety Engineering 18, no. 4 (June 2011): 391-403.
Galas, David, and Leroy Hood. “Systems Biology and Emerging Technologies Will Catalyze the Transition from Reactive Medicine to Predictive, Personalized, Preventive and Participatory (P4) Medicine.” Interdisciplinary Bio Central 1, no. 1 (March 2009): 1-4.
Haddad, Tamer. “The Applicability of Total Productive Maintenance for Healthcare Facilities: an Implementation Methodology.” International Journal of Business, Humanities and Technology 2, no. 2 (March 2012): 148.
Korzep, Karen. “The future of technology and the effect it may have on replacing human jobs.” Technology & Health Care 18, no. 4/5 (August 2010): 353-358.
McArdle, Megan. 2013. “Health-care costs are driven by technology, not Presidents.” Web.
Nagykaldi, Zsolt, and Mold James. “The role of health information technology in the translation of research into practice: An Oklahoma Physicians Resource/Research Network (OKPRN) study.” Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 2, no. 2 (June 2007): 188-195.
Somigliana, Edgardo, Alice Sabino, Richard Nkurunziza, Emmy Okello, Gianluca Quaglio, Peter Lochoro, Giovanni Putoto, and Fabio Manenti. “Ambulance service within a comprehensive intervention for reproductive health in remote settings: a cost-effective intervention.” Tropical Medicine & International Health 16, no. 9 (January 2011): 1151-1158.
“Technology price index.” Modernhealthcare.com. Last modified October, 2013. Web.
Teich, Jonathan, Merchia Pankaj, Schmiz Jennifer, Kuperman Gilad, Spurr Cynthia, and Bates, David. “Effect of computerized physician order entry on prescribing practices.” Archives of Internal Medicine 1, no. 160 (June 2000): 2741-2747.