The advancement of technology and medicine has always been intertwined as both fields challenge each other to set standards and meet difficult demands. It may come as little surprise to many New Yorkers, then, that leading figures in both industries are working hard to redefine how doctors interact with their patients and manage care by incorporating smart phone and cloud technology into how medical records are stored and accessed. With so much change coming to modern medicine, however, serious questions over patient rights and issues like medical malpractice are being posed.
From Microsoft to Apple to Nike, technology giants everywhere are investing their time and resources on developing technology to track and document users’ health. And while some programs are intended for purely recreational use, more emphasis than ever is being placed on providing doctors with instant access to their patients’ up-to-the-minute health information. Such efforts coincide with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and reflect a shift to prioritize preventative care and the advancement of online medical records.
Patient rights advocates are concerned that the increased use of devices and applications to collect and store patient information may lead to major privacy and care issues. For one thing, there are doubts as to whether or not private information found on an app is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Another problem many see is that not all programs have to comply with FDA standards.
As physicians and medical professionals are confronted with the prospect of an increasingly digitalized environment, they must also consider what that means for patient care and mistakes. After all, collecting patient information virtually can potentially lead to issues like pharmacy errors and misdiagnoses.
Source: PBS, “Doctors monitor patients remotely via smartphones and fitness trackers,” Daniela Hernandez, March 10, 2014