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Although medical technology brings numerous benefits, what have been some of the main challenges posed by the growing use of medical technology in the United States?
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Technology has contributed to positive advancements within the healthcare delivery system but also has brought a fair share of challenges as well. Technology has improved the timeliness in which a patient receives care, unfortunately that does not always mean that the patient is receiving the same high quality of care simply because they are no longer sitting in a waiting room. “Technology has become an obstacle to patient/physician, patient/family, and physician/family relationships. Patients do not receive sufficient care in terms of both manner and motivation in the hospital or at home, which has confronted modern medicine with a serious problem called care crisis” (Babaii & Monajemi, 2022).
Implementation of new technology means out with the old technology and in with the new. This leads to unnecessary electronic and biomedical waste. Substances found in biomedical electronic equipment are made of hazardous substances and contain substances that can spread infectious substances. “In recent decades, the production of medical waste has grown rapidly, due to the continuous advancement of medical technology and remarkable increase of medical treatment. Illegal dumping and inappropriate disposal of medical waste may cause secondary harm to human health and pollutant the environment” (Wei et al., 2021). Due to the potential risks, there are regulated means of disposal such as thermal treatment, steam sterilization, and incineration are just a few (epa.gov, 2023).
One of the biggest risks posed by the implementation of technology within the healthcare system is specifically electronic health records, also referenced as EMR. Healthcare personnel have to find ways in order to make sure those records can match across multiple record keeping platforms within each practice. The United States have not been able to successfully link platforms among providers as of yet. Many times different providers utilize different programs from the others. “We need method(s) of accurately linking patients across organizations, locations, and time. Failure to recognize the same patient’s data in two different locations is potentially as important as incorrectly matching two different patients’ data” (Sittig et al, 2020). Americans do not want the government involved in their healthcare. The trust in the government from Americans have decreased from 78% in 1964 to 24% in 2014 (Dalen et al., 2022). Unfortunately, due to this lack of government involvement, there are no regulations for practices to use the same program to reduce errors.
How do American cultural beliefs and values influence the use of medical technology, to include cost and containment efforts?
One’s culture and beliefs impact their perceptions on how they view quality of care as well as their expectations of what healthcare should look like as well. Cultural beliefs influence the use of medical technology by “having high expectations of finding cures through science and technology, and they equate use of advanced medical technology with high quality of care” (Shi & Singh, 2019, p. 110). Patients also want the most modern technology that practices have to offer for them. They want control over their healthcare and to feel involved in the process of ownership of their care such as digital devices and having access to providers. “With the increasing availability of digital technologies, the possibility exists for patients to communicate about health needs electronically from the comfort of their homes, avoiding unnecessary trips to the hospital, saving both time, travel, and costs” (Alexander et al., 2021).
Taking control of our health is mentioned in scripture many times. Our bodies are important and are referenced as temples of God and our bodies are holy. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 tells us, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (King James Version, 2008).
Alexander, K. E., Ogle, T., Hoberg, H., Linley, L., & Bradford, N. (2021, February 15). Patient preferences for using technology in communication about symptoms post hospital discharge – BMC Health Services Research. BioMed Central. https://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12913-021-06119-7#citeas
Babaii, S., & Monajemi, A. (2022). The neglected role of technology in quality of care crisis. Journal of medical ethics and history of medicine, 15, 11. https://doi.org/10.18502/jmehm.v15i11.11567Links to an external site.
Dalen, J. E., Waterbrook, K., & Alpert, J. S. (2015). Why do so many Americans oppose the Affordable Care Act?. The American journal of medicine, 128(8), 807–810. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2015.01.032
Enviromental Protection Agency (October, 2023). https://www.epa.gov/rcra/medical-wasteLinks to an external site.
King James Bible. (2008). Oxford University Press. (Original work published 1769)
Sittig, D. F., Wright, A., Coiera, E., Magrabi, F., Ratwani, R., Bates, D. W., & Singh, H. (2020). Current challenges in health information technology-related patient safety. Health informatics journal, 26(1), 181–189. https://doi.org/10.1177/1460458218814893Links to an external site.
Shi, L., & Singh, D. A. (2023). Essentials of the U.S. Health Care System — With Access (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. ISBN: 9781284235104.
Wei, Y., Cui, M., Ye, Z., & Guo, Q. (2021). Environmental challenges from the increasing medical waste since SARS outbreak. Journal of cleaner production, 291, 125246. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.125246