The Role and Effect of Technology to our Healthcare System



It is well known that Technology adds a lot of efficiency when it comes to today’s lifestyle, especially in regards to healthcare from what we know and hear about all the time.

The adoption of electronic health records helps eliminate a lot of repetitive testing that can add to savings and help with deficit reduction. The electronic record also makes easier for disease and care management for individuals.

The integration of information into one source can improve efficiency and help eliminate additional steps of obtaining patient information from multiple sources.

Providers find it easier to perform tasks such as processing claims and billing. A provider can access a patient record with speed and ease. With all this information available a provider can also make a quick informed decision that ultimately can affect a patient’s outcome of care management that could have a long term effect to one’s health in the future.

With patient information being available in a centralized location the use of Decision support systems come into play by using this combined source to aid in care management, medication management and also drug interactions for a patient. There is a reduced likely hood of errors and this also eliminates duplication.

Even though a physician can potentially reduce his overhead through say the use of an electronic scanner instead of paper claims, and reduce the number of office staff employed at the practice. There could also be some short term unforeseen negative effects as a result of this.

What happens to all the people who normally manage these functions?  This is an indirect negative effect of technology in the short term, where some of these jobs will slowly be replaced by a few highly skilled specialized individuals or by computer systems.

So despite there being a positive effect to reduce healthcare costs and improve the overall strain healthcare has on the national deficit, the short term effects of job reduction from this is also eminent.

This scenario is similar to how manufacturing jobs went oversees in the past couple of decades and some areas that relied heavily in manufacturing were left with a void because it was replaced by technology or a few highly skilled individuals in the labor force. Areas in the Mid-West are still struggling to recover from this.

One way to counter this effect is to encourage the young graduates getting into the labor force to focus on the new technological careers that are becoming more in demand, instead of the other end of low skilled careers that will most likely suffer some form of extinction from this trend in the coming decades.

This shift in focus would likely transfer these resources to other areas that would most likely require them and help ease another void in the labor market that could affect many industries.  Policy makers should focus on these aspects and introduce incentives that can foster this shift on certain areas of the labor market to others that are in higher demand.

We need to aggressively work on this transition before we begin getting competition from other countries that are more open and have embraced these new technologies and are already transitioning to this new wave of thinking.

We can already see this when Americans go oversees to South American, Canada or Asia for medical procedures that they could not afford in the United States, but the same procedures are available in these countries at a lesser cost. Of course many can argue that the healthcare may not be good as what America can offer which may be true in some cases but that is not always the case.

I have personally discussed this with an individual who had a procedure performed in a South American country and actually stated that they have the best healthcare there and had no regrets regarding the encounter.

This should be a wakeup call to our policy makers. Let’s hope that they can wake up sooner rather than later to begin addressing how to best counter this trend that we see becoming very popular.

The fact that the same procedures are being performed at a lesser cost with very advance technology leaves you scratching your head as to why this is not the case here in the United States and is actually just the opposite.

Let’s use our American advantage of a highly resourceful workforce that thinks outside the box and push our policy makers to adapt this new way of thinking because as we now realize everything that occurs around the world eventually affects us domestically, so it is in our best interest to take all this into consideration and work on improving our healthcare as well as working with what we already have to adapt to the effects technology is bringing here and around the Globe.


N. J. Mango