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New Technologies and Healthcare Delivery Alternatives: Positive and Negative Effects on Healthcare O

Home Health Care

The  World Health Organization defines health technologies as “ the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of medicines, medical devices, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve a health problem and improve quality of life.” 
Home health care is a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. Home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (Medicare, 2021). For people with mobility issues, getting to appointments can be challenging. Staying in the home for appointments is one way to eliminate this issue. This is because it means that patients don’t need to worry about getting to and from places to receive the treatment that they need.  Home health care is it allows family to be present during the visit. This keeps family members in the loop when it comes to the treatment of the patient and it can ease the nerves of the patient by having someone they trust in the room (BetterPT, 2020).
A great example of home health care is the UAB House Calls Program. The program was founded in 2015, and serves home-bound patients who live within a 40-mile radius of UAB. In March, 2021, the program started administering the COVID-19 vaccine to their patients, and their patients’ care givers. From March-August, the team administered approximately 400 vaccines (UAB, 2021). 
The demand for Remote Patient Monitoring and wearables is expected to grow from $745 million in 2020 to 1.7 billion by 2027 (Dunskiy). These devices can improve quality of care by tracking patient conditions such as activity levels, blood pressure, blood glucose, oxygen saturation, and other useful vital signs. However, these wearable devices do more than just track patients' symptoms – they also help reduce readmission rates. These wearable devices can be linked directly to a patient's records allowing quick and easy access by clinicians and doctors, allowing medical personnel to make key decisions about treatment in real time. Doctors can use the real time monitoring to make educated decisions about health symptoms. Researchers estimate that Remote Patient Monitoring and wearables will save nearly $200 Billion dollars over the next 25 years (Greenspun, Korba, and Bandyopadhyay). In a Vivalink survey 64% of patients over the age of 40 said they would wear a remote medical device if it reduced the amount of physical medical visits (VivaLink). Nearly half of the US population takes prescription medications and 24% of those take 3 or more medications (Dunskiy). Remote patient monitoring and wearables allow for reminders, monitor medication uptakes, and data to make sure meds are taken properly and work properly. 
When discussing new technologies, telemedicine has had many positive effects on healthcare operational excellence. According to the CDC,  telemedicine is described as the use of electronic information and telecommunication technology to get the health care you need while practicing social distancing. Telemedicine care includes many types of care, such as COVID- 19 screening, mental health counseling, and general healthcare including- wellness visits and blood pressure control. One of its positive effects is increased revenue for practices. Video visits allow providers to see more patients in the same period of time. 
In conclusion, we believe that new technologies and healthcare delivery alternatives have a positive effect on healthcare operational excellence.

Remote Patient Monitoring and Wearables

Team 7: “Con” (Disagrees with the topic)
“New Technologies and Healthcare Delivery Alternatives Will Have a Positive Effect on Healthcare Operational Excellence” – Team 7 Summary (Con)
In the digital age, it is our natural inclination to believe new technology is generally a good thing. However, new technologies come with new challenges. In the healthcare industry, new technologies and processes are exciting, but at what cost? New technologies and healthcare delivery alternatives lead to a loss in the human factor of medicine, disruption in treatment, and an over-reliance on technology. Ultimately, despite the hopeful nature of “advancement”, new does not necessarily equal better. The operational goal of any business or institution is to provide a satisfactory product or service to the consumer, in this case, satisfactory healthcare to patients. Due to new tech and delivery alternatives, patients do not receive the healthcare they need, thus leading to an overall negative impact on healthcare operational excellence. 
One of the most important aspects of healthcare is the human factor, that being the interaction between healthcare provider and patient. This is not just on a personal level; the simple act of being present in a healthcare institution increases the likelihood of favorable healthcare outcomes. Patient safety and care continuity are set aside in favor of convenience and efficiency. As for healthcare providers, tried and true practices are exchanged for modernization, often leaving them undertrained and without the necessary knowledge to perform effectively. This leads to varying levels of readiness and acceptance among providers (Zhang, Mosier, and Subbian, 2021).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth (phone calls, video conferences, etc.) has become significantly more common. Telehealth has been shown to increase the likelihood of misdiagnoses, potentially putting patients in danger (Abbott et al., 2016). Furthermore, patients are unable to get blood drawn, labs run, or other procedures that require presence in a healthcare facility. While this clearly puts the patient in potential danger, ultimately the fallout will reach the hospital, resulting in costly and lengthy malpractice lawsuits. Other technologies, such as 3D printing (primarily for prosthetics and potentially new organs) are new and inconsistent. This is typically done with limited products that are bad for the environment, and projects can often turn out inconsistent and poor (Matthews, 2019). 
When new technologies become integral to healthcare operations, providers can depend on them too heavily, leading to data breaches and potential system shutdowns. Such has happened before, like with Sunnylake Hospital. Sunnylake’s online healthcare system was breached and held at ransom, with the information of patients and the hospitals functions at stake. This disrupted their ability to provide healthcare to their patients, even inhibiting their ability to provide surgeries for a short period (Eisenmann, 2009). These types of IT failures can be catastrophic, costing healthcare providers money and preventing patients from getting adequate care.

Overall, new technology and healthcare delivery methods still have a lot of challenges to overcome. While there are benefits to digitizing and finding new, efficient ways to provide healthcare, we simply do not have a way to account for the downfalls. With the issues of depersonalization, disruptive technology, and over-reliance on technology still plaguing healthcare providers today, this, on balance, has a negative effect on healthcare operational excellence. 

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