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Technology and Health Care Delivery

As a member of ABC Consultants, you have been hired by a large organization to develop an innovative approach using current technology in health care delivery.

This can be a product, a service, or an application.

Choose an organization in a sector including, but not limited to, pharmaceutical, insurance, manufacturing, software development, or facility design. Review its website and any recent articles about the organizations.

Include the following:

-Describe product, service, or application (m-health, e-therapy, virtual physician visits, and so forth).
-Discuss the impact of product, service, or application on quality of care, quality of life, cost of care, and access.
-Discuss the social, ethical, and economic impact of product, service, or application to the organization.

Solution Preview

Virtual Physician Visit Overview

The product is the virtual physician visit. It is designed to provide routine care for minor Illnesses by allowing those with symptoms to call or log into a website where the individual can speak with or communicate with a board certified physician. The patient describes the symptoms to the physician by logging on to a website and chatting, or via email. The physician then makes a diagnosis and either calls in or sends a prescription via email, or gives the patient instructions for self care. In some regions a visit to an EMS station or to a nurse may be required in order to have a patient's vital signs assessed. The physician is paid through an online account, with a patient's credit card. Some states require the patient to have a prior relationship with the physician while others do
not.

Impact on Quality of Care
Some insurance companies like United Health and Cigna are embracing the product. It is also being utilized by large employers, as a means of reducing costs and getting employees back on their feet sooner (Galewitz, 2012). Though the service is less costly than a routine visit some groups have concerns about the quality of care. The American Academy of Family Physicians raises some concern about the cost of a virtual visit, typically around $40 to $45, and the possibility of a patient not getting what he or she pays for (Galewitz, 2012). Other groups argue that without a prior relationship with the patient, the physician may be setting him or herself up for a malpractice suit. One physician working on a pilot project with Kaiser Permanente believes he can provide better care, as patients experience no wait time and are more comfortable discussing their symptoms from the comfort of home (Eads, 2007). However, in the Eads (2007) example patients are already established. "Care may
suffer when patients are connecting with a physician who may be in another city or state" (Matthews,
2012). It is important to understand how virtual physician visits are used and the limits that may need
to be set prior to offering such services. Even when patients who utilize virtual physician visits have complicated health issues, there is some value in communicating with the primary physician who is familiar with the patient's history. For instance, rather than waiting for an appointment to have a patient's blood pressure checked, the
physician can guide the patient on how to check blood pressure at home and can either adjust or change a medication for hypertension sooner. This means the patient can experience lower, more stable blood pressure before it has the potential to become a serious threat, such as by causing a stroke. Many employees of corporations that provide benefits for virtual visits love the service, as they miss little time from work and can begin to feel better faster.

The type of technology used to diagnose and treat patients may also affect the quality of care. For most physicians, the use of laptop, tablet, or some other portable device that can connect the physician to the patient visually is desirable. When physicians can see the patient they can assess the patient's physical appearance, as part of the general diagnostic process. Symptoms such as rash, palor, perspiration, and cough can be seen and heard during the virtual visit, with the use of the webcam. In uncomplicated situations where a patient simply reports symptoms over the phone, such as ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines technology and health care delivery. The impact of product, service, or applications on quality of care, quality of life, cost of care and access is discussed.

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