Health and Technology

How is technology managed in the healthcare industry?

When I first went to my doctor in The Medical City for a check-up, I was quietly surprised when she presented me her prescription of drugs. Unlike the prescription orders I was used to as a child (infamous for featuring indecipherable doctors’ handwriting), my doctor had a dedicated printer for releasing her prescription orders. This is a small innovation that reduced the risks of misinterpretation of prescription handwriting, and it also reduced the time and labor costs of manually writing the prescription. I assume the medications she prescribed were also automatically logged onto my electronic patient record.

In both small and radical ways, technology has changed how healthcare is accessed, provided and perceived. Though it is important to note that technological achievements vary by the region, country and micro setting, there is still a huge potential for technological innovation across the board. Technology is being managed as a resource that can produce better quality and efficiency in treatments, research and data collection.

In the clinical and diagnostic setting, better imaging tools as well as real-time imaging viewing software have allowed more expedient and more accurate therapeutic efforts.

In healthcare management and administration, technology has also resulted to reduced risks for errors, to reduced costs, and to better diagnoses. These are primarily achieved through the fast sharing of data, as in the establishment of Electronic Medical Records. Operations have also been improved in terms of customer relationship management, which includes customer service, business process, workflow optimization and more.

In the national context, for example, the Philippine Health Research Registry was launched in 2012. Under the mandate of the FDA, institutions and researchers must upload their approved and ongoing clinical trials to the integrated online database. The Philippine Commission on Health Research and Development has a similar yet parallel effort for completed clinical trials. This sharing of knowledge in real time can only improve the quality of clinical research.

In both clinical, administrative and national policy contexts, the efforts to utilize technology continue to grow. Given the right management of this resource, all stakeholders in healthcare can benefit.

Ken Treloar