Future Population Trends, comment

There are many future trends which will begin affecting the way we treat our patients. One that has hit our rural area is use of a robotic computer to analyze stroke patients. Instead of the physician actually coming to the hospital immediately they are remotely brought in by use of the robot who stands in front of the patient and the doctor can have the patient squeeze the robots “hands” and receive a reading as to their strength, etc. There are positive and negative aspects to this. First the positive is that the patient can be assessed regardless of the doctor’s wheareabouts and receive some form of feedback instead of potentially having to wait until the end of the day. The negative that I feel is a real biggy is that how do you know this robot is working adequately? To me being an “old school” RN, there is NO subsitute for assessing your own patient. Even if a colleague of my would tell me that my patient looked good or that their pain level was in check I would go in myself to eyeball the patient. Also, you lose that personal touch with the patient. In my opinion I would be a little discouraged to be seen by a robot but my physician gets the big check. There will be many more technical trends to come about but we must always remember that there is no subsitute for on hands care of your patient both for your knowledge but also for their safety.

Original Post:
April 24, 2009
Describing three future population trends, and discussing the potential impact of those trends on the development of new health care informatics systems. Changes is society, technology and health care are three population trends that will effect the development of new health care systems. 1. Societal trends: With the average age of the aging population increasing and the decline in deaths and births, the elderly population will be using significantly more health care resources then the younger groups. This would mean the larger number of elderly and the health status of the elderly population will have a major impact on the health care industry. The changes in racial and ethnic demographics will also have an effect on the development of new health care systems. A huge challenge for the health care industry, as well as software and systems designers, is to recognize and accommodate the needs of an increasingly diverse population. Increased access to the Internet is providing increased access to health care information, including evidence of lifestyle changes with a positive impact on health. A future trend would be for the consumer to take responsibility for his/her own health care. 2. Technology trends: With the rapid advancement in technology and computing, the cost of computer hardware will be driven down. This will enable a larger segment of the community to purchase and use computers to obtain information over the Internet. It is forecast the level of dependency on computer use in our society will increase dramatically. 3. Health Care trends: The development of information technology will impact all aspects of health care. It will become easier and faster to collect, compile and share data internationally and locally in regards to treatments of community health care challenges such as HIV/AIDS. Increase education and access to information will empower both provider and consumers. The consumer will engage in shared decision making with their provider. The fast pace of introducing new technologies, will significantly increase the number of new technologies available such s minimal invasive surgeries, genetic mapping and the use of specialized microchips for individual therapies such as pumps, artificial blood and other body parts.

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