What do we understand about medicine technology? It is also referred as medical technology, is any type of intrusion that is used to make a safe and effective diagnosis, prevention, rehabilitation and treatment for different diseases and illnesses. It can be procedures, devices, pharmaceuticals and organizational systems that are used in health care. It is also a subset of health technology, and its scope is a variety of products for healthcare that are used on humans. Such development and use of technologies are very important because they are made to improve quality in providing health care through the diagnosis made using less aggressive options for treatment as well as reducing the number of days spent in the hospital and rehab. Other important details about medicine technology that you should know are as follows:
- The technological advancements in medical technology are now also focused more in reducing costs.
- This field is broad as this may also include information technology, different medical devices, healthcare services and biotech.
- It may also talk about the duties that are performed by clinical laboratory professionals that are in different settings in the private and public sectors. This may include the clinical applications in genetics, chemistry, immunohematology, hematology, microbiology, immunology, urinalysis, serology and other different analysis in the body fluid.
- The professionals in medicine technology may be called as Medical Laboratory Scientists or MLS, Biomedical Scientists, Medical technologists or MT, Medical Laboratory Technicians and Medical Laboratory Technologists; which may depend on the location, the certifying body as well as the level of education.
Medicine Technology plays an integral part in the industry of medicine as a whole, which also includes medical practitioners, pharmaceutical industry, and many others. The way of life will be very different without medicine technology. It affects how humans can become healthy as well as how one will receive the proper health care that is needed.
These days, there are so many portable devices to choose from. A typical person owns more than one device. Examples are laptops, cellphones, tablets, and PDAs. If you’re in the medical field, you also need these portable devices. But if you don’t want to carry too many devices around, you can survive with just these three:
- Portable computer or laptop. Most doctors are now opting to store patient information in laptops rather than paper. Not only does it become easier to compile all pertinent information, but it also minimizes the clutter in the clinic. You can also access the information wherever you are. A hospital can also have a database of patients and personnel to make sure that emergency situations can be handled quickly. Since laptops also have a bigger storage space, you can store resources and training materials in there for review.
- Smartphone or PDA. Today, smartphones can already be your personal digital assistant. There are applications that help schedule your activities and remind you of your appointments and tasks. You will become a more efficient physician with a device reminding you of what you need to do within reach. It’s also easy to communicate through smartphones.
- Tablet. Tablets are also helpful because it can help you access your mail, databases, and patient files anytime. Sure, the laptop already allows access to these things, but tablets are lighter and more convenient to bring anywhere. Besides, it also has a longer battery life, so even if your laptop battery is already dead, you can still rely on your tablet.
With your laptop, smartphone, and tablet, you can access everything you need. To maximize the capability of these devices, you might want to synchronize your files. If you do that, you can access everything regardless of whether you are using a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. That way, if your smartphone dies, you can still send an email from your tablet.
The use of portable computers and tablets has gained both positive and negative reactions from doctors. Although there are doctors that rely on the electronic medical records or EMRs for accessibility and convenience but some still think that traditional paper work and the use of pen and pad is still the best way to handle patients. The US government aims to reach the goal of Obamacare wherein the costs are lower and there is more access with the records.
As of now, doctors and hospitals are being convinced by the federal government to adopt health information technology and EMRs with financial incentives but this will change soon wherein penalties will be set instead of rewards. In the year 2015, all physicians that are not using an EMR that is certified will have 1% cut on their Medicare reimbursements. This deduction rate will increase to 2% in year 2016, 3% in 2017, 4% in 2018, and can go up to 95%, which will depend on the adjustments in the future.
The key component of Obamacare is to pay for quality instead of paying for services. Paying for quality means measuring quality and it has been difficult in the past without the use of technology, and the use of EMR and EHR are perfect tools to achieve the goal. There are already many hospitals in the United States that have gone digital and received a significant amount of federal incentive.
EMR or electronic medical record is a software system that replaces the use of paper charts while EHR or electronic health record is software that can connect physicians as well as other caregivers to coordinate information of patient such as medical history, medications, laboratory data, immunizations, and radiology reports. Time will come that patients and doctors won’t have much choice because the future is believed to be in this technological development.
For how many years now, the government are trying to convince doctors to use portable computers and tablets instead of pens and pads to lower costs and create more access. But not all physicians are agreeing to this. Some doctors are just old school, they do not set time limits on patient visits and rely on folders full of paper charts, they have been doing it for more than 30 years and they are not willing to use these gadgets to take notes during the exam.
These doctors have not considered electronic medical records or EMRs yet. EMRs should make caring for the patients easier wherein tedious tasks of writing down the patient’s medical histories, filling out of lab requests and prescription management are all simplified. This can be bothersome for them because it distracts them of the new system. They believe that they are more attentive to the EMR rather than listening to the talking patient.
But not all doctors think the same. There are also others that are already well adjusted and cannot function well without using the EMR. After how many years of utilizing the basic system, the technology has significantly developed. The software that some doctors use can notify them of allergy alerts as well as possible interactions with drugs. If a doctor is away from the hospital and calls them in the middle of the night, he or she can just easily look up their electronic health record for them to see their last actions taken. Lab results can also be easily accessed online by the patient without having the need to go to the clinic for it.
Both sides have different effects and experiences regarding on patients leaving them. Patients of old school doctors left because they wanted them to go digital while the high-tech doctors were dropped because their faces are usually glued on to the screen.
The use of laptop computers in the neuroscience-informed cognitive training of auditory and verbal working and early auditory processing is found to be promising in improving cognition in patients that have recent-onset schizophrenia according to the result of new research. The study showed that patients who received auditory computer training are improving significantly in their cognitive function compared to individuals with matched control.
Lead investigator Sophia VinogradovMD, from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) told Medscape Medical News: "We have been doing studies of cognitive training in people who have had schizophrenia for 20 years with a lot of psychosocial impairment and impoverishment and have gotten some promising results. The next logical step was to see what would happen when we tried these same approaches in people very early in the course of their illness."
Dr.Vinogradov and her team has been working with patients who have schizophrenia that is within the first 5 years after being diagnosed, wherein average age of their participants for the study is 21 years old."We wanted to target improvement in cognition, which is something that medications and most psychosocial treatments do not touch very well. The cognitive deficits that people with schizophrenia have are present in the prodrome and appear to worsen as the illness progresses, and they have important predictive value for how people will end up doing over the long haul," she said.
80 patients that have recent-onset schizophrenia were given portable computers that they can take home. They were assigned 40 hours of commercial computer games or 40 hours of auditory training randomly wherein they can choose their own schedule doing it within 8 weeks. After the given period, the investigators are seeing changes in their neurocognitive outcome measures, functioning, and symptoms. An investigation was also made on their psychophysical improvement in processing auditory as well as its association with the cognitive gains.
Participants showed a slight but huge decrease in symptoms, they think that the results are promising and that cognition in this young age group can be targeted. It has been regarded that the brains of individuals that have schizophrenia can’t be repaired and are broken, but now they are starting to believe that the neural systems in such individuals can change.
"This is a very exciting study because it shows that cognition can be improved in these newly diagnosed schizophrenia patients. The fact that the laptop was given to the patient and the patient was able to take it home is particularly interesting. Coming into the clinic is pretty stigmatizing for a lot of people, and also can be inconvenient. If these patients can use the laptop at home and get better, that’s wonderful," said Dr. Woolley, who was not part of the study. Joshua Woolley, MD, PhD, from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California said.
Almost all occupations rely on computers to complete a task or to be efficient in their work. It is not only used in the office setting, but also in the medical setup as well. We can now see doctors and nurses having handheld computers that contain patient data as well as medical applications that will help them render their job properly. With the advancement of technology today, more and more hospitals are now employing computers for the use of their staff simply because they would want to prevent errors in making a legal document, such as a patient’s chart. However, there are doctors that have their own handheld computer for personal use.
Advantages of having a Handheld Computer in the Medical Setting
- Medical research and education
Doctors install apps, such as medical libraries, in their handheld computers that is actually helpful in situations wherein they are educating medical students, resident doctors, and specializing doctors. With handheld computers, they will be able to present their material in an effective and interactive manner which will aid them in learning.
- Patient Care
Handheld computers are especially helpful in patient treatment. It aids doctors in ensuring and remembering the right drug prescription and treatment protocols. Aside from that, it can also act as a “sticky-note” or an electronic organizer/reminder about patients’ care needs in times where he/she is busy. Also, it can also be a source of information he needs when making treatment decisions through research in medical databases.
- Clinic Administration
More often than not, doctors who have clinics actually rely on their computers for management tasks, such as scheduling and billing, mainly because it’s more convenient and easy. Aside from that, handheld computers can also be a good storage medium for patient data; this will become easier for him to track the data of patients, especially those who are on their follow-up checkup.
The use of portable computers nowadays has several advantages especially in adopting electronic records; however, there are still issues in using it in health care. A good example is running a computerized registry where in any of the provider who has given vaccine to a child can report that certain information. It aims to help children be updated with their immunization through the system.
One of the issues is its compatibility with what the doctors use; they do not update their central database because the data entry is just too much. If this is the case, researchers and doctors cannot rely on it, especially if they are tracking the immunizations of the kids and if the vaccines used are not given twice or missed. Sharing of information is not easy for some doctors.
Most doctors complain about how electronic records are not making them efficient. The health care industry do not benefit from the transformation of computer networks if compared to retail, banking and manufacturing industries. Health information technology of today is not like an ATM card wherein you can take it to any country and withdraw, transfer funds or make any other financial transactions.
A survey from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention revealed that while 72 percent of physicians that are office-based use some kind of electronic system in their practice, only 40 percent of which meet the description of even what we call a “basic” system.
"People talk about the ATM, [but] that’s seven data elements, and they charge you $2.50 for shipping those seven data fields over. We’re talking thousands of data fields around things that are life and death," – FarzadMostashari, the national coordinator for health information technology from the Department of Health and Human Services.
His office constantly meets software vendors doing their best to hammer out the standards of the industry, which is very important to make health information easier to share. Today, the number of doctors and hospitals that use electronic records has significantly increased but it will still take years before huge amount of savings will show.
Patients will definitely benefit from better care and lower cost if the systems can share patient records easily, and this will happen if hospitals and doctors will start getting paid for being smart about information technology. But as of this moment, duplicate tests mean duplicate payments. Doctors are optimistic and believe that IT will become an effective tool for high performance and efficiency.
Generally, computers must be replaced three to four years after. For portable computers in medical school, if you have one that is four years old or more, it is recommended to buy a new one to function in its optimum use. The configuration below is the minimum specifications of a portable computer and can be used for at least two years. If your unit does not meet the basic requirements, consider buying a new one.
For a basic minimum portable computer, the specifications must be the following:
- Intel Core Duo with a processor of 2.2 GHz
- 2 GB RAM
- The hard drive must be 250 GB
- Has a resolution of 1024×768 or higher
- 13” display
- 801.11g WiFi
- Inkjet printer
- VGA jack or adapter
- External monitor of 21”
- External drive must be at least 1 TB
In medical school, most portable computers of the students pass through IT review. If they do not pass the minimum requirements, the students are directed to buy a new one immediately. The specifications described above are the basic requirements as students are taking exams which are web based.
Recommended Hardware Configurations
Medical students prefer portable computers because they are light weight and can be brought anywhere. The recommended configurations of its hardware are the following:
- Macintosh 15”: MacBook Pro with the following features: widescreen display of 15.4’, Intel Quad Core i7, 2.3 GHz, 4 GB RAM, hard drive of 500 GB, Fire Wire 800, 2.0 USB ports, double-layer slot loading SuperDrive, AirPort Extreme, VGA adapter, weighs 5.6 lbs and price starts from $1,800.
- Macintosh 13”: MacBook Pro which has the following features: widescreen display of 13”, Quad Core i5, 2.5 GHz, 4 GB RAM, hard drive of 500 GB, Fire Wire 800, 2.0 USB ports, double-layer Slot-loading SuperDrive, AirPort Extreme, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, VGA adapter, weighs 4.5 lbs and price ranges from $1,200.
There are some medical students who have a hard time choosing between Windows 7 or 8. In purchasing a new Windows portable computer, experts suggest Windows 7 Professional, has a 32 bit version and with RAM of 4GB. However, Windows 8 can be acceptable but it is more prone to troubles unlike Windows 7. Students must be aware that some computer stores sell only Windows 8, so they must look for stores that have a wide variety of selections. In addition, there are cases when students want to upgrade their computers to the latest version but IT experts do not recommend this because of many incompatibilities. If you are a user of Windows computer, you must have Windows 7 because Windows XP can be inadequate for medical school.
Today, especially in medicine, portable computers are very essential. However, they must have the recommended features to work well for your needs.
Computer software is used in diagnosing diseases. It is utilized in the examination of bodily parts and internal organs. Advanced computer systems are being utilized to examine parts of the human body. A number of the complicated surgeries are performed through computers. Computer-assisted surgery (CAS) is an advancing field in medicine, which combines computer intelligence with medical expertise for a faster and precise result in surgery.
In CAS, analysis of the patient is made before surgery. This surgical procedure is adapted in a virtual image for the patient. The surgeries are then done with a surgical robot as programmed by a medical professional, and the robot assists the doctors while doing the real surgery. In either case, the computer works and becomes an underlying tool for surgical procedure.
Utilizing Diagnostic Tests and Computer Technology
The various types of monitoring equipment in these hospitals are oftentimes grounded on computer programs. Medical imaging techniques to make images of the body’s anatomy are generated for medical purposes. A lot of the modern techniques in imaging and scanning are hugely computer based. People are able to do a lot of these advance imaging techniques because of the development of computers.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) also utilizes computer software. Computing tomography utilizes digital geometry processing methods to acquire 3-D images. Advanced infrared cameras and computers are utilized to obtain high-resolution imaging. Computers are vastly utilized in 3-D imaging. Many modern-day medical equipment have portable computers. A lot of the medical facilities these days work with preprogrammed instructions. The logic and circuitry in the majority of this medical equipment are computer based. The functionality of emergency alarms, hospital-bed systems, X-ray machines, and other medical equipment is also computer based.
Communication between Patients and Medical Practitioners
Computer networking allows for faster communication. Portable computers and the internet enable faster interaction among patients and doctors. This is very important in letting doctors know about certain emergencies or urgent situations that may occur while he is probing the hospital or medical facility.
Doctors also collaborate better with the internet on their computers. It is now possible to acquire an expert opinion through the internet and to get in touch with a professional at the other side of the globe. Such communication transpires within minutes. It is because of these computer-networking technologies that communication has become fast and easy.
Today, computer technology has gone a long way in helping all sectors of the society make things easier and faster. In medicine, portable computers are very useful, they can be used in every part of the hospital and various softwares can be developed to serve the patients more effectively.
The advantages of portable computer programming in medicine are the following:
- In diagnostic tests, portable computers help in the monitoring of equipment in hospitals which have programming systems to make things faster. Also, it can lessen manpower resources as portable computers can do multiple tasks throughout the hospital.
- It can be used as a tool to see medical imaging with techniques in creating images of the human body. In fact, modern methods of imaging and scanning uses portable computers and computer technology and physicians were able to do advanced imaging techniques through the advancement of computer technology.
- In creating images for magnetic resonance, it employs the use of computer technology to generate 3-D images. The computed tomography is using digital geometry techniques to have 3-D images. Today, sophisticated portable computers together with infrared cameras have been used to get high-resolution images.
- When talking about modern medicine, they are now using portable programmed computers because they can do the job faster because of pre-programmed manuals. Currently, there are portable computers in hospitals that are programmed to function as beeping systems of beds, X-ray machines, alarm systems at emergency rooms and other departments and other medical appliance.
Portable computers are used as a tool to communicate with doctors and patients and share knowledge between medical practitioners. The networking system makes communication faster. It is possible to get the opinion of experts in a matter of seconds by the use of networking and internet, even those who in both ends of the world can communicate; thus it makes work easier. Portable computers can be a tool for medical practitioners to discuss issues about medicine like writing blogs, articles and medical journals.
The advantages of portable computers in medicine are unlimited and it gives a new dimension in this field.