healthcare technology
Improvements to healthcare technology has helped advance the field of public health to new heights, but more innovations are on the horizon.

With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, there are several changes to how healthcare works with technology. Unprecedented rates of adoption of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), as mandated by the ACA, has led the healthcare industry to reevaluate its acceptance of technology in order to improve health outcomes.

EMRs Zero Tolerance for Zero Events

EMR technology, by virtue of the health mandate, implements the possibility of electronic prescribing. E-Prescribing systems implement look-a-like and sound-a-like indexing systems that prevent Zero Events, or events that should never happen. Additionally, these systems can check for allergies and harmful drug interactions that can be missed by doctors.

Can’t Miss Clinical Trials

Other technological advancements include targeted clinical trials. By utilizing genomic information and improved processing power, new treatments can reach production faster. With reduced R&D time and costs, treatments can be produced cheaper and marketed faster than ever before.

Information is Crisis Prevention

As health information becomes more accessible to public health officials, patterns of disease and illness are clearer. Using mobile tracking technology and geographic information systems, organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are able to track the path of contagious illnesses and prevent potential epidemics before they ever begin.

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Patient Engagement is King

By allowing patients access to their own information, healthcare providers can help ensure patients take an active interest in their own care. Currently, the diabetes population have one of the lowest compliances with healthcare directives in the United States. Engaging these patients in their own care may help gain compliance and improve health outcomes for people with this disorder. Diabetes has severe health effects including lower extremity amputation and loss of vision. Improving patient engagement may help cut tax costs and prevent further effects.

Going Forward

In order to manage the list of advancements, the Public Health National Center for Innovations was launched with help from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This organization has been tasked with meeting the needs of the ever-expanding health technology field.

“As pilot communities begin work, we will start to see firsthand how innovative practices in a state or local public health department can contribute significantly to building healthier communities,” Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN, President and CEO of the Public Health Accreditation Board said in a statement.

By engaging stakeholders, “The program is expressly designed so that others can share in the learnings and shape the innovations. Our intention is that this work will go far beyond the three pilot states,” Bender added.

By spreading the process out across state lines, this program will force the growth of technologies that can extend and improve the quality of human life and ultimately drive down healthcare costs.

“The nation is undergoing seismic changes in how we think about and deliver health services, either because of changes brought on by the ACA, or emerging threats of infectious disease, or because we better understand how health is influenced by a host of societal factors,” Pamela G. Russo, M.D., senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said in a press release.

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