you have seen that oftentimes the costs and benefits of solutions are hidden or revealed only when viewed from different perspectives. Consider those perspectives here and respond to two of your peers by discussing the benefits of the technological trend chosen by your peers. Debate who should pay for technological infrastructure in the healthcare system. Response posts should be 100 to 150 words, with a minimum of one supporting reference included.
The purpose of this discussion is to explore technology and trends to help improve the healthcare of the aging adult community. I have always seen the benefit of service animals for the disabled and elderly. They provide support, comradery, and a sense of purpose. If someone that would normally not see a reason to get out of bed has an animal that needs them for food and support, they will see a reason to participate in the day. I chose to delve into the idea of having robots assist those in the elderly community that needs aid. There is a discussion if the addition of aid from a robot would contribute to the isolation of this population. (Hersh, 2015) I will add that without the assistance the population may already be isolated due to the potential of immobility. Their only contact may be the isolated caregiver that comes to assist on occasion. With the addition of a live-in robot, the elderly patient may be more willing to communicate with others and even venture out of the house. Robotic limbs have been around for some years now and have improved the lives of amputees. Then there are the robotic teddy bears used in nursing homes to gauge responses and timing for their residents. One introduces an autonomy portion while the other does not.
The addition of technology to aid in the everyday and healthcare needs of the aging adult can be invaluable. The issue is when the cost out ways the benefits, who is going to pick up the bill for assisting a population that may have difficulty even paying for their housing? Little is known about individual end users’ willingness to pay for technology that has the potential to improve QoL and enhance functional independence in everyday life. (Hersh, 2015) I believe that technology is the way of the future in healthcare. Telemedicine allows individuals to stay in their homes longer and seek advice or treatment over the phone for video conferences. Remote monitoring and medication delivery are allowing rural communities to stay healthier when they cannot come into the city for aid. This technology is vital to keep the aging community healthy and safe at home as well. I feel this needs to be incorporated into the tax reform and/or Medicare/Medicaid contributions. Technology will help keep the vulnerable populations out of the hospital by providing preventive care and monitoring.
The most beneficial up and coming trend worth investing in to improve healthcare for aging individuals and their families in the United States is telehealth and telemedicine. The usage of telehealth and telemedicine has increased within the last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and new isolation restrictions. Telehealth allows Americans the accessibility to communicate with their various physicians and keep up to date with follow up appointments. Telehealth allows for the delivery of care and exchange of healthcare information across distances via technology (Brown Cooper, 2015). Telehealth has made a positive impact on numerous patient populations, including the general, rural, prison, underserved, and military populations (Brown Cooper, 2015). This technology has also reduced the cost of health care delivery while providing greater access to health care services and education. For elderly individuals with physical or mental disabilities that make transportation to healthcare facilities a challenge, tele health alleviates the financial and time-consuming burden of transportation. This is especially beneficial for the family members of the elderly individual as they no longer must coordinate and facilitate the various modes of transportation. As elderly individuals are also at high risk for developing infection or disease, telehealth limits their exposure. There are financial benefits of telehealth as a doctor’s office does not need to be fully staffed nor assistive equipment necessary. As a result, increased use of telehealth could significantly reduce medical expenses.
Conversely, telehealth can have negative impacts on the wellbeing of elders. As telemedicine is typically done via video call, there is significant limitation in the clinicians' physical assessment of the patient. They are unable to perform vital assessment skills such as assessment of lung and heart sounds as the patient in not in the physical presence of the clinician. In patients with chronic conditions such as COPD, congestive heart failure, or heart valve disease, telehealth may be detrimental as key physical changes may be present and unassessed at time of telehealth appointment. Greenwald et al. (2018) discovered that without an in-person communication component, technology-based interventions alone are not effective in improving medication adherence rates or patient outcomes. Telehealth must be used in adjunct to in person appointments.
When considering this technology trend, funding should be similar to if the patient were to attend a typical in person doctor’s appointment. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, provided $200 million funding towards telehealth, which helps clinicians to provide connected care services to patients from a distance (Federal Communications Commision, 2021). As telehealth can decrease the costs associated with healthcare long term, it will be essential to further expand and develop to meet the increased healthcare demands.