February 19, 2019 Sarah Wagner

How Technology Has Impacted Healthcare Through the Mass Digitization of Data

Technology has grown the healthcare industry, improving accessibility and accuracy. Hospitals have moved towards using EHRs or Electronic Health records, instead of paper records. EHRs are efficient, organized and can be accessed from everywhere. Furthermore nurses and technicians are in charge of putting in all patient data including “vital signs, weight, test results, etc. into a digitized system.” EHRs are also commonly used by medical billers and coders to “[schedule] appointments, [update] patient records with diagnostic codes, and [submit] medical claims.” Electronic Healthcare Records can also make doctors aware of potential hazards, such as the patient being allergic to certain medicine. It provides huge amounts of data to medical researchers and healthcare companies. Hospitals can easily share the data, using a technology known as “cloud computing.” Cloud Computing is a safe way to store and distribute the huge amounts of data involved in patient records. Patients and doctors have the ability to access data from anywhere in the world. The “cloud” has many benefits including: “reducing healthcare costs, predicting epidemics, avoiding preventable deaths, improving quality of life, reducing healthcare wastage, improving efficiency and quality of care and developing new drugs and treatments.”

Although there is many advantages to medical technology in healthcare , there are dangers associated with it.  Having data centralized is useful, but if you are over dependent on it and are unable to access the data because of connectivity problems, there can be serious repercussions.  However, the main concern is security and data protection. Hackers can steal medical records which can be used to create fake IDs, to buy medical equipment or drugs or submit invalid medical claims. The benefits of the impact technology on healthcare overall outweigh the disadvantages.