At one of my networking group meetings, someone recently asked what I considered to be the four most important advances in healthcare technology over the past twenty or thirty years. Considering the huge leaps in knowledge, daily bio-medical discoveries and amazing technology breakthroughs, that would be a very time consuming task. But, off the top of my head, I did come up with a list of four personal favorites: Computer software that supports the needs of the staffing industry - specifically, full service medical staffing. In order to make the best, most efficient and safest matches of healthcare professionals with the people who need them, we process a lot of critical information. The specialized software programs we now have access to enable us to rapidly query, sort and filter extensive database records to quickly fill a staffing need. This ability is a far cry from the pull-out drawers of color coded candidate file cards that were still the norm for many staffing agencies well into the 1990s.
New glucometers and sugar testing devices used by diabetic patients. What a relief and convenience for people who often need to test multiple times a day. The devices now used can test from various parts of the body, patients can use them on their own, there is less scar tissue and higher accuracy, and these devices are far more specific and reliable than the urine sticks used way back in the past.
Publically accessible defibrillators. It may take a while for them to be in common use before we fully realize the value of these devices, but that day is coming. With the growth of an aging and highly mobile population, the number of lives saved by defibrillators can only increase. The technology of these devices has been streamlined and simplified to walk the person providing aid through the process, further increasing the odds of survival for someone stricken with a cardiac-event while in a public or private venue.
The migration to electronic medical recordkeeping, or EMR. Let's face it, this one is a no-brainer. Anything at all that helps to minimize risk to a patient caused by illegibly scrawled prescriptions, diagnoses, instructions, chart notes and medical records is a blessing. Other advantages are the same as the computer software benefits described above - patient diagnostic and treatment records can be queried, accessed, reviewed, and properly routed to the patient and multiple treatment providers quickly and ACCURATELY!
This list is sure to grow with the blog - keep an eye out for future tech faves!
Copyright © Christine Hammerlund – 2009.Christine Hammerlund is a registered nurse and the owner of Assured Healthcare, a healthcare staffing service headquartered in Gurnee, Illinois.