Guest Author - Rann Patterson
A Healthcare System On Life-Support
Healthcare in America has taken a major blow. In doing research I am hearing many health professionals saying that it is broken on every level. I am finding this is a current problem in almost every developed country, and many patients are suffering because of it.
A Call to Arms
On the other hand, I am encouraged by the healthcare professionals and Internet Technology (IT) specialists who are stepping up to the plate to tackle some of the insurmountable problems that exist. In being crushed, healthcare systems are now having to be transformed so that they donít ďdie on the tableĒ, and I am seeing evidence everyday of a call to action by those who are not willing to just let their years of education and experience go down the drain. And they are not doing it just for themselves. They have in mind also the sick and vulnerable, who count on them on a daily basis for help and support, which is why most of them were called into healthcare in the first place. Humanity is calling, and they are answering that call.
Innovation to the Rescue
Innovative scientists, inventors and Internet Technology (IT) Specialists are coming out of the woodwork, collaborating and taking charge in this incredibly harsh and changing environment. I am in awe of what I am seeing them do, and what they are accomplishing to help elevate healthcare in general. New healthcare Apps are being created and some are now on the market that are designed to help a patient help themselves.
I recently got my first iPhone and downloaded the App called iTriage. You can input your personal information and health history in it. A neat feature is a frontal body image where you can mark the places where you have had surgery, are currently having trouble, or where you have chronic problems. I think this is a great feature. If you must call 911 and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrives, they can quickly get the information from your phone about you with one click, if you are too sick to communicate properly with them, or are alone. Iíve found that even most family members cannot articulate health issues properly in a crisis, due to the fact that most of the time they themselves are dealing with someone they love, and are emotionally distraught.
The Conflict of Privacy
And even though you might not like the idea of your personal information being stored this way Ė letís face the music. Iím of the opinion that my personal information has been being harvested for years. Why not look at the situation in this particular instance in a positive light, so that you can get the immediate help you need in a crisis. In times past, EMS would phone the hospital dispatcher and give them your name, age and gender, and problem at hand. The hospital would then try and find your file, then if found, have it ready for the attending physician or nurse that saw you first. Because an Emergency Room by definition is chaotic, more often than not there is no time to look over everyoneís charts on the fly. An App that has your information already on it with easily readable and simple graphics, will quickly get all medical staff on the same page, save time, and drastically reduce confusion and eliminate conflict concerning your care. In many instances, a few seconds can make the difference between life and death. I am finding evidence in my research that EMS teams all across America and the UK are quickly embracing this technology.
There is Hope
This new way of approaching healthcare is scary in ways. Many of us who are middle-aged and older are not used to the technology, and it is especially daunting when you are ill. When you are sick you canít make sense of much, but donít fear. What I am seeing coming on the horizon gives me much hope. Today, healthcare professionals are no longer one dimensional. For instance, nurses have jumped into the field of innovation with both feet as entrepreneurs of blended specialities, taking the bull by the horns, challenging and changing what I saw as almost impossible.
Never underestimate the power of innovation, invention and intellect. Combined with human compassion they are a powerful force.