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The use of technology is becoming an increasingly incorporated aspect of all healthcare environments. In general, the technology trends in school healthcare, related to information and data, are continuously moving towards the direction of electronic methods. For example, a huge trend I am noticing is the use of telehealth because we often must do telehealth with parents when deciding if kids can/should stay home, when to get tested for COVID, or when to return to school. We also use telehealth in our school when one nurse calls out, and a single nurse must cover all the schools. There are multiple buildings spread across our campus, so we often use telehealth with teachers as well to decide when a student in another building truly needs to be seen, or if they should just be sent home or given a simple ice pack, band aid, or hot pack. A challenge with this, however, is of course the issue of not being able to fully capture the physical status of patients. Therefore, in essence, an error is diagnosing the students and treating them via telehealth always has the potential risk of missing crucial assessment data. Another technology trend is wearable technology, which is being seen much more with diabetic students who have monitors to track their glucose levels. These monitors are tied to apps and sometimes the electronic medical record systems, which allow for instant connection of data. The network of using mobile apps that connect with patient monitors allows for instant connection between patients and their providers, optimizing patient care through efficient and accurate data sharing (Skiba, 2017). A risk of this, however, is fact that when you have information on multiple outlets, there’s a slightly bigger chance of having this information exposed to more eyes than necessary.
With telehealth, the main risks are patient care and data safety. The reasons are due to information of the patients potentially being heard by others around, decreasing the security of their medical data. Also, patient safety is at risk when telehealth communication is done poorly and ineffectively, causing crucial assessment data to be missed, resulting in improper treatment or follow up care. However, a benefit is that telehealth allows for greater access to care across a greater population of people. A school nurse cannot be everywhere at once, but the nurse can answer phone calls and speak to many in a short amount of time, and in essence, caring for more people than seeing each physically. With wearable medical technology, a risk is also data safety simply because more platforms are accessing the same information, meaning greater chances of having information leaked to other people who do not need this information or should not have access to the data. A benefit, however, is also patient care simply because the patient is constantly being monitored closely for any immediate changes to their medical data. Therefore, immediate attention will be given accordingly, and time will not be lost because as soon as a sudden change in status is noted, appropriate action will be taken to treat the patient. Wearable technology can often be connected to the EMRs and therefore, this increased communication can allow for a larger network of providers to gain access to patient data; this would result in more accurate patient care through multiple providers working with the same patient data (HealthIT.gov, 2018). Also, when patients agree to use wearable technology, they’re taking an active approach in their health (Rao-Gupta et al., 2018). This often leads to increased health outcomes because patients are more honest with their providers, increasing accuracy in data numbers.
I believe that the telehealth trend will impact healthcare technology the most, simply because it has been growing so popularly now, especially during the pandemic when physical contact was being limited even more. I feel that it will grow to the point where technology will advance so far, that telehealth will be incorporated more so than in-person visits in the future, simply because of the lasting impact it has had throughout the pandemic. More people are reaching with telehealth; therefore, a greater population receives care and sometimes, seeing more people in less amount of time is most effective for the greater good of the population. The efficiency in patient care improves greatly because for example, if you know you have a simple patient with covid-related symptoms, you can easily have the patient do their quarantine and do home-remedies while they wait out their symptoms. This removes the risk of getting others sick and promptly tends to the patients’ current symptoms as well. Another example is in my school, when the stomach bug is going around, I can easily tell over the phone with parents, when a student is probably coming down with the same issue, and when to stay home. Therefore, patient care outcomes for the individual patients and those around them are greatly improved with telehealth advancements.
HealthIT.gov. (2018c). What is an electronic health record (EHR)? Retrieved from
Rao-Gupta, S., Kruger, D. Leak, L. D., Tieman, L. A., & Manworren, R. C. B. (2018). Leveraging interactive patient care technology to Improve pain management engagement. Pain Management Nursing, 19(3), 212–221.