Computers & Healthcare
The practice of healthcare is evolving rapidly as new information
supplants old. Gone are the days when newly graduated practitioners
were armed with most of the information they would need
for a lifetime of practice.
The acquisition and implementation of new knowledge is
greatly enhanced through the use of computerized information
Good practice techniques require tools to extend the human mind's
limited capacity to recall and process large numbers of relevant
variables. Computers may be used to support the clinician's practice.
However the place of computers in clinical practice depends on whether
they confer an overall advantage, and whether they are acceptable
to patients and clinicians.
Recent history has delivered one unassailable lesson. Any attempt
to use information technology will fail dramatically when the motivation
is the application of technology for its own sake rather than the
solution of clinical problems.
Much of what has been presented as a solution to clinical problems
has come from administration with little or no consultation with
the clinician. It is for this reason that most of presented solutions
have failed to achieve their stated goals of improved efficiencies
and enhanced delivery of healthcare.
Clinicians are best placed to identify possibilities presented
by the increasingly flexible and sophisticated technology available.
Clinicians have long recognized the benefits of computers in clinical
practice, but they are not widely used because of access difficulties.
The current systems in place lack one critical feature the ability
to deliver data on demand. If you need to interrupt the delivery
of healthcare to access data at a stationary PC, you will forgo
data access and focus on the more immediate requirement of delivery
Handheld or Mobile computers, by definition overcome the limitation
of stationary computer systems to deliver information on demand
to those who must apply that knowledge.
Handheld databases are like a colleague or textbook that supports
your training, intuition and common sense. Recent developments in
the storage capacity of handheld computers have greatly enhanced
the ability of clinicians to access data on demand.