Another example is the mobile x-ray companies that go around to the nursing homes. I’m the Director of Nurses for a small nursing home and we are about 45 minutes from Lubbock, Texas and one company came around and offered digital x-rays and reports that could be sent to an e-mail so that the doctors can get the results as soon as possible. The other company couldn’t give me that kind of service so the new company got the business because they were modern and had the technology to provide the care I needed for the residents. When an elderly person falls and fractures their hip we need to get them cared for quickly so this new company got the contract.
Therefore, due to the continuous improvement of diagnostic facilities, development of new devices, biopharmaceutical discoveries and other factors, treatment of patients has become much more efficient over the past decade. The potential of digital health care is in timely access to relevant information, and over the years of its development the health care system has shifted from a predominantly personal interaction between doctor and patient to an extremely complex network of sources of information and its processing centers. Informatization of health care and relevant aspects of people’s lives can help better monitor the health, prevent serious problems, preserve independent longer and get more enjoyment out of life.
Kindred Hospital.(2010), Retrieved from www.kindredhospitalarl.com
Wireless internet, BlackBerries, iPads, desktops and laptop computers, and e-mail and text messaging, are allowing businesses to store more information and access it quicker, to communicate and share information faster, and to do business with anyone in the world, from anywhere, including the comfort of their own home (McGrath, n.d.). Airlines use online flight booking systems, banks enable customers to pay bills, transfer money, and manage their accounts online, and manufacturers use robots to build cars, machines, and a myriad of other products, while retail stores allow customers to shop on line and have their merchandise delivered to their front door (McGrath, n.d.). Technology has caused much of the organizational change seen in today’s business environment (Organizational Changes, 2007). The ability to do business internationally, has allowed small to medium sized companies to grow their business, by gaining access to a larger customer base, and large corporations to grow their business by expanding their product lines, or diversifying into other related industries and/or products, some of which via mergers and acquisitions (Organizational Changes, 2007).
Technology has not only changed consumers’ wants and demands, but “as companies adopt information technology to improve business processes”, it has incited increased competition in the marketplace (Organizational Changes, 2007, p. 1). Companies are using innovative technologies to make their operations more cost efficient, increasing revenue and profits by outsourcing jobs or specific job functions, purchasing parts or components from countries with lower waged workers, and striking deals with other companies to deliver their finished product for less (McGrath, n.d.). Removing the barriers to long distance commerce, both nationally and internationally, has resulted in a growing amount of imported and exported goods, and has brought more companies into each industry all vying for their piece of the market share, while competing for a limited number of customers (Pheifer, 2009). Competition not only exists between companies within an industry, but within the workforce (Organizational Changes, 2007). Companies have found themselves in need of employees with different, and in some cases more sophisticated skills to perform new jobs, while the need for human labor in some industries, is becoming obsolete or significantly reduced, because certain tasks have become automated (Organizational Changes, 2007). Technology has also changed the way companies market their products or services, with many relying heavily or entirely on internet marketing, using their website and e-mail flyers, listing their company specifics with online directories, and even buying Google search words, to ensure their name pops up first when a potential customer searches for a product they offer (Organizational Changes, 2007).
One industry dramatically and positively affected by technological change is healthcare. While it may not be the first industry one thinks of, it is certainly an important one, especially considering the annual costs for healthcare have exceeded $1.7 trillion, and the system and industry as a whole has been hugely inefficient, while the quality of care in many cases, has been poor (RAND Corporation, 2005). Despite the obvious need for the integration of the best of information technologies in health care system, the health sector in many countries falls behind other major industries by the development of innovative technologies for at least a decade.
One form of Health Information Technology (HIT) is an electronic medical record (EMR), and offers increased safety, efficiency, as well as several health benefits (RAND Corporation, 2005). HIT allows for “large-scale data integration and analysis”, helps to reduce the number of medical errors, and lowers utilization and reduces the number of physician visits required (Associated Content, 2011, p. 1). The industry is moving away from x-ray films that must be sent by courier or hand delivered by the patient, to pulling up not only the most recent image in the patient’s EMR, but also their prior images for treatment comparisons (Cyr, 2011). Hand written prescriptions that used to be dropped off at the pharmacy and picked up hours or days later, are now computerized and sent electronically, so they are ready for pick-up by the time the patient arrives at the pharmacy after leaving their hospital or doctor’s visit (Cyr, 2011).
And although any electronic medical data control systems are used only in 15-20% of U.S. medical facilities, and less than 20% of doctors’ offices have access to electronic medical records, the benefits of health care information systems has become obvious. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, nearly 1 million U.S. residents were forced to flee their homes and lost their medical cards, which greatly complicated obtaining of adequate assistance. Meanwhile, nearly 38,000 veterans and their doctors, who lived in the same areas affected by the hurricane, still had available ubiquitous access to medical information because all the records of patients, prescriptions, and laboratory and radiological studies were saved in the Veterans Affairs Computerized Patient Record System.
Two of the most innovative technologies currently available, are video conference or Skype visits, and robotic surgery using the da Vinci® surgical system (Cyr, 2011). The da Vinci® Robot allows a physician to operate on a patient who is in one locale, while they are in a different hospital, state, or even country, offering the patient access to a specialist that otherwise would not be an option. In addition, the system has other benefits, such as offering “a minimally invasive option for complex surgical procedures”, resulting in less pain and a faster recovery for the patient, with better clinical outcomes, and requiring “shorter hospital stays” (Intuitive Surgical, 2009, p. 1). Faster returns to work are financially beneficial to both the patient and their workplace, while shorter hospital stays and improved outcomes, pose significant cost benefits to the entire healthcare system (Intuitive Surgical, 2009).
From the moment we wake to our Smart Phone alarm, to our weekly virtual business meetings with all six corporate division managers, each located in a different country or state, to the drive home in our Chevy Volt extended-range electric car, technology has, and is changing every facet of our lives. While it has certainly changed our personal lives, offering fun and efficient products to keep us on-time, in touch with family and friends, and our children entertained without ever leaving their rooms, the business world has become nearly unrecognizable, at least for those of us that are, well let us just say a bit more mature in years. I can only imagine what will be next, perhaps teleporting from meeting to meeting, avoiding traffic in our flying cars, or traveling back in time to take advantage of a missed stock opportunity. Whatever it holds, I hope I am still around to tell my great-grandchildren about the first cell phone that came in a bag, and only worked when it was plugged into the cigarette lighter of your car.
Associated Content. (2011). How does information technology affect health care? Retrieved from http://www.associatedcontent.com/shared/print.shtml?content_type=
Cyr, B. (2011). What are the types of health informatics that exist in healthcare? Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_8353415_types-health-informatics-exist-
Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (2009). Surgery enabled by da Vinci®. Retrieved from http://www.davincisurgery.com/davinci-surgery/
McGrath, J. (n.d.). How has technology changed the way we conduct business? Retrieved from http://communication.howstuffworks.com/technology-changed-
Organizational Changes. (207). Information technology and organizational change. Retrieved from http://www.organizational-change-management.com/information-technology-and-organizational-change.php
Pheifer, T. (2009). Effects of technology in today’s business world. Retrieved from http://www.helium.com/items/1464714-effects-of-technology
RAND Corporation. (2005). Health information technology: Can HIT lower costs and improve quality. Retrieved from http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9136/