Technology Improves Patient Care

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 10:35

By Jordan Manser, Technical Writer

Advancements in medical technology have transformed healthcare and continue to change how it is conceptualized and delivered. Wireless medical technology allows clinicians to provide accurate and timely patient monitoring and enables them to focus on providing the best quality of patient care, rather than on administrative tasks. For instance, Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems have reduced the time it takes to enter vitals from 7-10 minutes to less than 1 minute per patient. Because of wireless technology, entire new waves of medical devices are being created to take advantage of the connectivity that wireless technology provides. Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) quickly find usable equipment for treatments, and advanced bed and fall monitors can monitor patient movements, alerting staff as soon as there is an issue. Mobile medical devices can also travel with patients so they can be monitored from home. The gained efficiencies that wireless medical technology provides are made possible by the underlying robustness of the wireless connection.

In healthcare, patient security and privacy is essential, and although medical technology has greatly improved, it’s not without security and privacy concerns. As a result, developers are constantly looking to address these issues in order for patients to receive the best quality of care. MIT Technology Review recently published an article titled, “Can Software Make Health Data More Private?” The article discusses how software has the potential to prevent sensitive medical data from being unintentionally shared when health records are passed around. According to the article, when a patient goes to a doctor they haven’t seen before, their medical records are not transferred unless specifically requested. Whenever records are transferred, the patient’s entire medical history is then exposed. Many patients may not want their entire medical history to be accessible every time their records get passed around. In response, computer scientists at the University of Illinois developed a new tool that can figure out which parts of a record may inadvertently reveal aspects of a patient’s medical history. The tool gives patients the power to decide what parts of his or her record to keep private and gives clinicians advice on how to revise the record to ensure the patient’s wishes are carried out.

This is just one example of how technology is improving patient care. To learn more about wireless medical technology and its role in the future of healthcare, visit Laird’s Connected Hospital webpage.

Click here to read the MIT Technology Review article.