Health care is a point of concern that affects the lives of most people. Since time immemorial, leaders, as well as individuals, have voiced various concerns about health care issues. This essay aims at comparing and contrasting operations in modern healthcare facilities versus the operation of health care facilities that existed 20 years ago. The paper also examines information systems in the modern facility and compares it with how information was utilized two decades ago. Finally, the paper explains two important occurrences and improvements in technology that influenced modern health care information systems.
A Contemporary Health Care Facility and a Health Care Facility 20 Years Ago
It is worth mentioning that operations in many modern health care facilities have been tremendously improved over the years. This is not comparable to how health organizations used to function 20 years ago. One of the examples is Queens Medical Center (QMC), New York. It is clear from their programs that they aim at preventing communicable diseases at community and individual levels (Brenan, 2009). Manitoba health facility adopted this same action in 1992. Therefore, it is right to say that modern and past health care systems aimed at preventing communicable diseases by focusing on communities and individuals just as modern institutions do.
Brenan (2009) noted that the differences between modern and historical health care institutions, however, occur in their methods of approach. Currently, health facilities focus more on non-communicable diseases, such as heart diseases, obesity, and infectious diseases, such as HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Their main mode of approach is to change human behavior in order to eradicate the spread of such diseases (Novick, Morrow, & Mays, 2008). On the other hand, historical health institutions aimed at preventing communicable diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and other waterborne diseases that were easily transmittable from one person to another. Most of these diseases were also airborne such as coughs, colds and influenza.
A study by Novick et al. (2008) stated that, like in recent days, health practitioners two decades ago held the opinion that most diseases were transferred to human beings through environmental hazards and the use of dirty water. They believed that a dirty environment and unsafe drinking water brought about many diseases that greatly affected human lives. As such, these two eras in medicine saw a dramatic shift that championed the provision of safe (clean) water for use and even much cleaner environmental conditions. Modern-day facilities have health practices that also include operations that aim at changing human behavior to help in eradicating some prevalent illnesses (Novick et al., 2008). For example, unlike twenty years ago, contemporary health practitioners urge individuals to change their behavior towards smoking, drinking alcohol and sexual activities. They also offer services that allow people to eat healthy meals and exercise regularly in order to reduce or eliminate conditions, such as obesity, that might lead to chronic diseases.
These changes in practices in modern health facilities came about because of the development in information systems as well as readily available medical facts (Novick et al., 2008). Historically, there was less information concerning different types of diseases and infections, mostly because they lacked adequate facilities for carrying out further research in important areas of medicine. Information technology was also not as advanced as it is today. This means that there was limited information that could foster further development in clinical operations (Novick et al., 2008). However, as time went by, a significant development in information technology allowed sharing of information across many health care systems. For example, doctors in the United States can easily access information on different medical practices done in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world (Novick et al., 2008).
Advances in information technology also prospered and aided further research in several areas of modern medicine. Modern facilities have access to vast data that they can refer to for additional insights on how to handle illnesses across the board (Novick et al., 2008). They also have the ability to attend medical conferences that also help in illuminating areas of concern.
The little data that was available twenty years ago was used purposely for diagnosis reasons. Doctors who worked two decades ago utilized available information for treating their patients and for inculcating proper health practices in their daily lives (Novick et al., 2008). On the contrary, modern health facilities, such as Queens Medical Center, do not only use available information to diagnose their patients, but also to improve their clinical practices. Medical professionals in modern institutions also use the information to improve their ongoing research studies. Novick et al. (2008) state that such information is usually made available to clients for use at home in order to help them gain knowledge on various diseases. This is contrary to past times when health information was an asset trusted to doctors only.
Major events and technological advances that influenced current health care information systems
As stated earlier, advances in technology greatly inspired current health care information systems. Haux (2006) stated that improvement in information technologies, such as the introduction of the internet, brought about increased availability of medical data. Such modern clinical facts are available in video, books and text forms. The increased use of the internet also made it possible for several medical professionals to share and access information online (Haux, 2006).
The development of computers also improved research and development procedures in health care systems. This means that doctors and other experts in this field are able to come up with advanced ways and methods of handling various health problems. For example, year after year, health experts come up with new scientific methods of treating heart, liver and lung conditions (Haux, 2006). They also come up with better methods of dealing with HIV infections in order to prolong people’s lives.
Advances, such as organizational culture and performance, also influenced the development in current health care systems. Currently, every level of health care organization strives to behave in a way that helps to improve the lives of their patients. They have adopted an organizational culture that allows them to attend to patients based on their cultural, religious and individual beliefs (Scott, Mannion, Davies, & Marshall, 2002). This is to say that no clinician forces their way on patients, instead, they aim to work together with the clients in order to achieve the required results.
The introduction of various institutes of medicine and other specialized health facilities also changed the current health care systems. Scott et al. (2002) observed that medical institutions have increased the availability of better-trained health professionals who are also specialized in different fields. Specialized health facilities, such as rehabilitation centers for drug abusers, have made it possible for health practitioners to offer undivided attention to their clients.
Health care systems have come a long way based on the development and the types of diseases and infections they have to deal with. These changes are attributed to various methods of approaches used historically and currently. Development in information technology has also played a major role in the changes in health care information systems. Medical institutions and health care facilities, on the other hand, contributed significantly to this positive development.
Brenan, P. (1999). Information and community health: support for patients and collaborators in care. Methods Inf Med, 38(4-5), 274-278. Web.
Haux, R. (2006). Health information systems: past, present and future. International Journal for Health Informatics, 75(3), 265 – 281. Web.
Novick, L., Morrow, C., & Mays, G. (2008). Defining public health: historical and contemporary developments. (2nd. ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Scott, T, Mannion, R., Davies, H., & Marshall, M. (2002). Implementing culture change in health care: theory and practice. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 15(2), 111-118. Web.