Technology and Health Care

Introduction
Now more than ever, the advances in technology have accompanied the health care delivery system in providing efficient and effective treatment and management for a wide range of patients. According to an article on “Medical Technology”, “from gene therapy to tissue engineering to telepresence medicine, the proliferation of new technology promises even greater improvements in patient care, health status, and quality of life” (ct.gov, n. d., p. 89). Nevertheless, the advent of these developments considerably affects the health system, in general. Thus, this paper aims to describe the uses of technology for patient management
and its impact on health care and health status.

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The uses of technology for patient management comprise an array of services that would include new medical and surgical procedures, drugs, medical devices, and new support systems. Indeed, these services had undergone innovative changes during the past years to cater the needs of the patients. These facts are exemplified in the following sections of this paper, as quoted from reliable references. “Surgery is another area of medicine that has been virtually transformed by innovative new techniques and technologies.

The acceptance and refinement of minimally-invasive surgical procedures, improvements in anesthesia, patient demands and the push towards greater cost savings have facilitated the shift of surgical procedures from the traditional hospital setting to free-standing ambulatory surgical centers, outpatient clinics, and physicians’ offices” (Medical Technology, ct.gov, n. d., p.92).

On the other hand, another study called “AstraZeneca Submission” (n. d.) typified the progress in medicines, as we quote, “many examples describe the impact of new medicines on patient symptoms and quality of life:
Advanced cancer is incurable. Many medicines for this devastating disease have provided value to patients and their families by improving their quality of life.

Drugs to prevent nausea, a common side-effect of cancer chemotherapy, can help make the treatment easier to bear both for patients and their families.
In patients with moderate to severe migraine, subcutaneous sumatriptan improved quality of life by more than 20% compared to placebo (61.6% versus 20.6%). Patients on rizatriptan show significantly better responses to three domains of the 24-hourMigraine Quality of Life Questionnaire (social functioning, migraine symptoms and feelings/concerns) compared to patients treated with placebo. (This entry has been quoted from Santanello N C, Polis A B, Hartmaier S L, Kramer M S, Block G A, Silberstein S D, Improvement in migraine-specific quality of life in a clinical trial of rizatriptan. Cephalalgia 17(8):867-872 1997)

A systematic review of a new schizophrenia medicine – an atypical antipsychotic – found that, compared with typical antipsychotics, it was more effective in improving global state, general mental state and the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and was as effective as typical antipsychotics with regard to positive symptoms. (This entry has been quoted from Mota N E, Lima M S, Soares B G, Amisulpride for schizophrenia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2:CD001357, 2002)”.

With regards to medical devices, “one specific example of the dynamic changes in the use of medical technology in the state (CT) is PET scanning. PET scanners are among the most expensive units of major medical equipment available today. PET scans are non-invasive procedures used to detect metabolic rates of organs and tissues using radioactive agents that emit positively charged electrons (positrons).

While useful in a number of specialties, PET is increasingly valuable in the fields of neurology, cardiology, and particularly cancer imaging including monitoring the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy” (Medical Technology, ct.gov, n. d., p.92). In addition, new support systems have also been employed in the health care system. An example is the so-called telemedicine of which according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “it is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s health.

Electronic communication means the use of interactive telecommunications equipment that includes, at a minimum, audio and video equipment permitting two-way, real time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at the distant site. Telemedicine is viewed as a cost-effective alternative to the more traditional face-to-face way of providing medical care (e.g., face-to-face consultations or examinations between provider and patient) that states may choose to cover.

This definition is modeled on Medicare’s definition of telehealth services located at 42 CFR 410.78” (Overview Telemedicine, n. d.). Hence, “the institution and utilization of new technologies in the hospital setting has dramatically influenced the way in which hospitals function as health care providers. Minimally invasive surgical procedures, highly advanced medical equipment, and breakthrough prescription medications are particularly significant in the evolving role of hospitals as they have all contributed to shorter and oftentimes costlier hospital stays” (Medical Technology, n. d., p.89).

Conclusion
Consequently, we have learned how the health care system utilized the use of the new technology in the treatment of patients, as reflected in the abovementioned findings. We realized that technology has an impact on the costs of health care services: cost effective, when it comes to medications, but costly, when it comes to acquisition of new medical devices. Nonetheless, we discovered that the impact of technology in health care is basically characterized by the provision of optimum patient management, thus leading to the attainment of a better quality of life and improvement in the health status of individuals.

References
AstraZeneca Submission – The impact of advances in medical technology on healthcare in Australia – The Value of Medicines. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2008, from http://72.14.235.132/search?q=cache:Z7LXq-jne1MJ:www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/17501/sub023.pdf+Impacts+of+Advances+in+Medicine+to+Patients&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ph
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Overview Telemedicine. HHS.gov. Retrieved November 27, 2008, from http://www.cms.hhs.gov/Telemedicine/
CT.gov. (n.d.). Medical Technology. Retrieved November 27, 2008 from http://www.ct.gov/ohca/lib/ohca/hospitalstudy/Medical_Technology.pdf

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