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Increasing Patient Safety and Satisfaction with Computer Technology

written by: MandaSpring • edited by: Anurag Ghosh • updated: 2/10/2011

Increasing patient friendly health care technology is an efficient solution to health care problems faced today. Learn more about information technology and how effective it can be.

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    Computer Technology Advances Modern Medicine

    Personal computers have become a part of everyday life for most people. They send and receive messages, connect us to the rest of the world, and provide us with information on any subject that we need. Computer technology has been responsible for many of the greatest advances in modern medicine. Doctors and their patients have the opportunity to communicate in newer and easier ways than ever before, making patient care and treatment more effective every day.

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    Improving Patient Care and Satisfaction

    Dr. Daniel Sands is Director of Electronic Patient Records at the Center for Clinical Computing at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA is serious about using the internet to improve his patient care and satisfaction level. "Why should patients sit reading a Time Magazine that’s eight months old, when they could be learning about their health?" he asks when someone comments on his waiting room having computers for patient use. Dr. Sands is a leader in the new treatment philosophy of “electronic patient-centered communication”.

    More than 60% of American households have at least one computer and 80% of them visit medical sites for information. (Other countries have equal numbers of computers, too.) Roughly six million people visit medical sites, over three million people use online support groups, while five million people visit real doctors to satisfy their concerns. This indicates that more people get their medical information online before deciding whether or not to go to a physician, often finding ways to treat the problem without an office visit.

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    How Can Computers Improve Patient Satisfaction?

    Dr. Daniel Sands believes that giving patients more information will help them to better understand their medical conditions and treatment options. Online information can often explain a medical problem more easily than a doctor can because the patient can read and re-read their own information until he/she is completely satisfied with doctor's explanation. Networking with other patients can also increase knowledge of new treatments and possibilities for improvement or recovery. It is also easier for both the patient and doctor if questions and concerns can be handled via email. The patient can ask a question as soon as an issue comes up, rather than hoping to remember it during an office visit. Conversely, the doctor can devote as much time as necessary to replying on email rather than being able to devote only a few minutes per patient during office hours.

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    Conclusion and References

    The digital information age has given us so many improvements in every aspect of our lives including medical treatments. Now it can be used as a valuable tool for both physicians to improve patient satisfaction scores.