Integrating Technology into the field of Health Care by Diana Herrell

Today, the ways things are done in many fields of employment are changing. One field that things are changing in is the field of Health Care. Education in this field are also changing. Technology, such as the internet and other media, are helping change this field as well as making these changes possible.

The idea of problem-based learning has seen to be more successful in twenty-first century classrooms and training programs. Research has suggested that students learn better by putting skills to use in real life scenarios than just through lecture and other methods. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/revamping-education-why-we-dont-learn-from-lectures/article5729917.ece. This article discusses how students are listening to lectures online and then putting their skills and knowledge to use in life like situations and projects. This can be applied to training those in the Health Care field both when they are in school and working.

The main way of using problem-based solving in the Health Care field is to expose students to cases that are similar to those they may encounter when they are practicing and working in the field. Research has shown this method to be effective. Using problem solving methods allows the students to gain experience and put what they have learned to use. This will allow managers in the Health Care field to be aware of the background of their future employees, when it comes to their education and how they were taught. Future employees, who learned via problem solving methods might be more prepared than those who learned for lecture and didn’t get to put their skills and knowledge to use.

Technology is at the core of the changing of the twenty-first century classroom as well as training programs. Managers need to be aware of the most effective technology when it comes to the field of Health Care. The internet makes it easier to gain access to current research as well as innovations. The internet also helps connect health care professionals and allow them to share ideas, gain knowledge, and give advice. Managers should be aware of the best place to access information that they need on certain conditions, illnesses, or even equipment. They should also be able to connect their employees to such information.

Other technology has been discussed in the news in how it relates to the field of Health Care. With new technology, we can monitor blood pressure, glucose, brain waves, activity, heart rate, respiration, and even body temperature. Technology even allows for imaging parts of the body and making a three dimensional reconstruction. Monitoring doesn’t only have to be done at a doctor’s office or hospital but can be monitored at the scenes of accidents and places where the incident or distress has occurred. Genes and DNA strands can also be looked at via technology. Files for patients are even accessible electronically and transported digitally. It is important that managers know how to use technology innovations in the field of Health Care as well as be aware of the skills concerning the technology that their employees have. Managers also need to be aware of when to accurately use this technology and make sure their employees have the appropriate training for such materials. I found http://health.usnews.com/health-news/hospital-of-tomorrow/articles/2013/07/12/how-technology-is-transforming-health-care to be a useful article in explaining how technology has affected the field of Health Care.

Another area of the Health Care field that has been subject to the integration and use of technology and the internet is Mental Health care. There have been implementation in some Mental Health education and professionals training of virtual reality methods. Counseling simulation and virtual role playing simulations have been studied to some extent in their effectiveness in Mental Health training. Simulation is even proving effective in EMT training, used to help practitioners build and sharpen their skills.

One study looked at an virtual role playing simulation developed by Kognito Interactive. This simulation allowed participants to practice challenging conversations when it came to someone with an at risk behavior, suicide, in this case. The goals of the simulation was to allow students and other trainees to develop and build real-life skills such as being able to identify behavior as a sign of psychological distress, discussing concerns with the person, motivating the person to seek help, and making a referral to services (Rudow, 2013, para. 3). A study was conducted to see how effective this training simulation was on developing the targeted skills.

The study showed an increase in all of the skills after the simulation. It showed an increase to referral to counseling services and an increase in the likelihood that the participant, themselves, would seek help if they were in psychological distress. Virtual simulations are not only be used to train those who are participants in Mental Health education but help people who need counseling as well. The above mentioned simulation was used for both. It has been found that seem people use counseling online due to being in the safety of their own home (Rudow, 2013, para. 5&7).  It is important for Mental Health professionals to be aware of what virtual simulations and counseling is out there being offered to people, who need assistance for psychological issues. They need to be aware because not all simulations may prove helpful and Mental Health professionals need to make sure that these simulations provide a disclaimer about how to seek real-life help for a problem.

Many counselors are using virtual techniques and other technology in their practice. In a world that highly uses technology and is motivated by it, it is important for Mental Health professionals to know how to appropriately use it. Integrating technology into one’s practice has been shown to be a positive thing. Counselors, who struggle in how to include technology in their practice can contact the ACA Cyber Task Force for assistance. As technology continues to expand, there is a need for research on how to best and appropriately use technology in the field of Mental Health (Rudow, 2013, para. 17&18). Overall, virtual simulations and other technology are being incorporated into many divisions of the Health Care field.

If you are a manager in Health Care or just interested in this field, there is plenty of research on the web. It will be interesting to see new technological inventions as the growth of the internet furthers and we become even more connected across the globe. Another few links I recommend taking a look at are http://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/technology-plays-key-role-in-health-care-reform and http://www.argusleader.com/article/20140223/NEWS/302230019/New-technology-expands-health-care-home. Both of these articles discuss innovations in technology and the changing of the Health Care field because of it. My recommendation for managers, employees, professors, and students in the Health Care field is to keep up on current research on new technology and be able to expand your skills when using appropriate new technology.

References

Rudow, H. (2013). Virtual role-play shows promise for addressing mental health. Counseling 

       Today: Online Exclusives. Retrieved from http://ct.counseling.org/2013/09/virtual-role-play-

       shows-promise-for-addressing-mental-health/.

Advertisements

3 comments

  1. Online counseling is an interesting concept that technology makes available. And I can see how it could bring many benefits to mental health clients who have trouble getting out of their house or who would not otherwise seek counseling. Yet, I can also see how it could be overused and take away some of the personal aspects that face-to-face sessions might bring. What do you think about that aspect of online counseling?

    Using virtual reality in mental health treatment provides fantastic treatment opportunities that would otherwise not be available. I find the treatment of phobias and PTSD particularly interesting and potentially beneficial. This seems to be an area where virtual reality can bring much more ease to the treatment, without using controversial approaches like hypnotism. Did you find anything about whether or not virtual reality produced better therapeutic results than traditional treatment for phobias or PTSD?

    1. I didn’t find anything specific to phobias and PTSD but am looking into some more research. I don’t think that online counseling should replace face to face counseling. Online counseling could cause damage if not done by a professional. Peer counseling can help someone to vent or talk about things but some psychological problems need more help. Another thing with online counseling is that even if it is successful it will probably not be the only method of treatment for the patient. Many treatments for psychological disorders include both some type of pill treatment as well as counseling.

    2. In a way, there is a lot of online counseling going on right now in various support forums. Obviously not professional, but maybe that’s the next phase – bringing professionals into these forums. Maybe they are already there.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s