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Information Technology & Interdisciplinary Medical Teams

Instructor: Justine Fritzel

Justine has been a Registered Nurse for 10 years and has a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree.

Technology is used in everyday life for many different things. It is also used in healthcare settings. In this lesson, we will learn about how interdisciplinary teams use information technology.

Technology

Technology is all around us and has become a huge part of everyday life. It seems that everyone has a cell phone these days. As we know, they aren't just phones - people are checking their email, their bank account, sending texts, surfing the web, and checking their social media account. Sometimes we actually even use them to make phone calls too!

Schools rely largely on computers now. Research and homework assignments are completed on computers. Children are learning how to use tablets and computers before they even start school!

Computer
computer

Go to any store, and you will see technology there as well. They have scanners to check the prices of merchandise, and the cash registers are complex computers too.

Technology has infiltrated our world, and healthcare is no exception. Let's look at technology used in healthcare settings.

Information Technology

Technology has provided many advancements in healthcare. There is amazing software that allows doctors to see every angle of an image from an MRI. There is even robot-type equipment that aids in surgeries!

Those are pretty advanced examples, but technology is also used for more basic needs such as communication and charting. Although the word 'basic' was used to describe these areas, communication and patient records are vital pieces for collaboration of care among many different healthcare team members.

Email communication is widely used as a way to communicate these days, and healthcare is no exception. Email among organizations or between healthcare providers is an efficient way to communicate.

Email
email

HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a U.S. Law to protect patients' health information. Therefore, when sending patient information via email, the email needs to be encrypted or converted into a code to prevent unauthorized access.

Many healthcare providers including doctors and nurses utilize different applications on their smart phones as a resource for disease and drug information. They also search the web as a quick and easy resource when providing care.

Information technology is a broad term referring to how medical records are stored and shared. Medicare has encouraged healthcare providers to switch to EMR or electronic medical records. Not that many years ago, the majority of patient care documentation was done on paper charts. Although this met the need for the patient charts, think about how difficult it would be for another provider to have access to the records. What if a fire destroyed the records? Electronic medical records can be backed up and saved to prevent loss.

So, how does all of this work together to provide better patient care? Let's look at an example of technology in action.

Collaboration

In hospice home health care, a team of professionals works closely together to provide care to patients at the end of their life. The interdisciplinary team consists of a physician, nurse, certified nursing assistant (CNA), social worker, chaplain, and volunteer. The team provides care in the patient's home setting and may not see their team more than once a week since they may be working miles apart.

Each team member has a smart phone. The primary method of communication is through email. The nurse may be visiting a patient that is having increased pain and muscle cramps. She sends an email to the physician to report her findings. The physician emails back to give orders to obtain labs and increase the pain medicine.

The nurse then emails the team to update them. She requests the CNA visit to help the patient with a bath today and asks the social worker and chaplain to visit to provide additional support to the patient and family.

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