With the growth in technology, some systems are being developed over time to make health more inclusive. This means that the health improvement of the patients is not only left to be the responsibility of the health professional but also that of the patient. The institution that I am situated at has incorporated patient portals as a way of fully involving the patients with the progress of their health. The patient portals enable the patients to access their health records without being able to alter any of the data. The portal also gives the patients a direct means of communication with their doctors. The system also allows the patients to book appointments and get clarification from their health provider on the prescriptions and any other information related to the betterment of their health (Hulter et al., 2020). The data is recorded and controlled at the health facility, but the patients can access the information without being able to edit anything on the portal.
Although patient portals as a new trend in health prove to be effective for the improvement in the health outcomes of patients, several challenges and risks are associated with the use of the patient portals. The first challenge is the digital divide. This is the gap between the people or the patients who have access to online information and those who do not have access to online data (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2022). Patient portals can only be accessed by the patients through the internet, and not every patient has access to the internet. This means that some patients are comfortably able to access their data and their healthcare providers as they want, while others are completely left in the dark without the knowledge of the situation of their health records and with the inability to communicate with their healthcare providers.
Other than that, the gray gap is an additional challenge in the use of the patient portals effectively. The gray gap refers to the huge difference in terms of internet connectivity by age (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2022). The older generation has low internet connectivity compared to younger people. This is in spite of the fact that older people are in need of medical attention and information more than younger people do. In addition to the grey area, the challenge is the usability challenge among the patients and the patients. A patient might have access to the internet, but they might not be able to operate the portal to access their data or even book appointments and communicate with their health providers. Other patients have health illiteracy in that they find the heath terms used in their data too complicated to comprehend. This adds to the list of the factors that make the portals hard to use for some patients.
The potential benefit that is associated with the use of patient portals is patient engagement in the treatment process, which has shown the potential to improve the health outcomes of the patient (Dendere et al., 2019). The communication between the patient and their health provider, which is fostered by the patient portal, raises the chances for the patients to recover better than they would if they did not have access to the portal. Thus, positive health outcomes are enhanced. The potential risk associated with the use of the patient portal is the security risk of the patient data from cyber-attacks and access by unauthorized parties.
The technology trend that I believe will heavily impact healthcare positively is the use of artificial intelligence in offering care to elderly patients. Robotic pets, developed through artificial intelligence, are a promising way of ending loneliness among elderly patients and patients with dementia (Petersen et al., 2017). The dolls improve patient care outcomes since they reduce emotional distress and depression by offering the patients with engagement and social interaction.
Dendere, R., Slade, C., Burton-Jones, A., Sullivan, C., Staib, A., & Janda, M. (2019). Patient portals facilitating engagement with inpatient electronic medical records: a systematic review. Journal of medical Internet research, 21(4), e12779.
Hulter, P., Pluut, B., Leenen-Brinkhuis, C., de Mul, M., Ahaus, K., & Weggelaar-Jansen, A. M. (2020). Adopting patient portals in hospitals: qualitative study. Journal of medical Internet research, 22(5), e16921.
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2022). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Petersen, S., Houston, S., Qin, H., Tague, C., & Studley, J. (2017). The utilization of robotic pets in dementia care. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 55(2), 569-574.