Current Challenges in Empowering Clinicians to Utilize Technology

Current Challenges in Empowering Clinicians to Utilize Technology

Jean M. Roberts
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-561-2.ch602
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This chapter is designed to outline the current situation and challenges to successful deployment of technologies to support clinical activities. It utilises action research and cooperative enquiry within the community of practice. It is grounded in UK experiences but will have international resonance in many key areas. Increasingly members of the public are joining the clinical professions in using health data to maintain and improve health status of the individual; however this chapter predominantly focuses on catalysts and inhibitors to professional use. The second objective of this chapter is to consider the opportunities presented by emerging technologies, and restrictions to effective deployment such as cultural reluctance, ethical issues and privacy concerns. It is hoped that highlighting the key issues for consideration will reassure clinicians that they are faced with similar informatics challenges to all other in the health domain and that, for all, the benefits of persisting with utilising technology in support of their clinical work are considerable.
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Operational Informatics

Use of technologies in health is pervasive but not yet ubiquitous (Roberts, 2006). For example administrative (component) solutions which identify which patients are in what bed in a particular ward of a hospital are in use almost everywhere but functionality which facilitates independent living, providing autonomous wireless signal alerts which indicate vital signs have become critical and alerts a clinician or induces an emergency action are less prevalent (Lymberis, 2004). Within a hospital, similar monitoring become more critical – whether applied to a patient directly or the life support services they need, such as anaesthesia or pain control. In addition, the results of laboratory tests requested by clinicians as part of their day to day practice can now be uploaded directly to the patient’s individual record, with only abnormal results pertinent to the specific patient being drawn to the attention of attending clinicians. The information available, from increasingly comprehensive systems (NHSCFH, 2008), not only contains the detailed clinical interventions and outcomes within an episode of care in hospital or in the community but contains significant aggregated data about the lifelong clinical history of the patient, wherever that care was delivered. Readily available techno-based sources for patient information may result in risks that clinicians under pressure may rely solely on records and ignore clinical signs presented by evaluation of the patient themselves.

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