The very nature of health care

The very nature of health care

The very nature of health care is intimately tied into breakthroughs from research and experimentation. Todays technology is providing the health industry with a bevy of benefits.

One of the hallmarks of an advancing civilization is the general welfare of its population. From the earliest record histories of man up until just a couple of hundred years ago, the average lifespan for human beings was dismally low. Add to that other limiting factors for the growth and spread of mankind, like infant and child mortality, and one can only wonder how the world was able to make it without all the life saving technology we have come to depend upon today.

Take for instance our ability to discover or design medications. Without the rigorous testing produced by highly educated doctors and scientists many of the diseases which formerly killed tens of thousands in epidemics and pandemics, who could predict what today''s world might look like. Images of Mad Max and Thunderdomes may come to mind.

Perhaps one of the most amazing technological developments, ever, has been the creation, growth and maturation of the Internet. It has provided amazing opportunities for world wide communications, the abilities of businesses to grow and prosper, and even letting us know what our best friend on the other side of the planet had for lunch.

Nothing wrong with any of those things. But just how has technology in general, and the Internet, specifically, helped our health care industry provide us with better, faster, and more accurate services?

Prior to the actual Internet having been opened to the general public, technology in the form of advanced communications made it possible for increased capabilities of medical practitioners. Whether it was being able to pick up a telephone and request a consulting opinion form across the country, or being able to send and receive medical history information via the facsimile machine, those breakthroughs helped save and extend lives.

Today, the Internet has matured enough that very enterprising individuals and savvy companies are harnessing its capabilities to develop electronic medical records, or EMR, systems. Though still in a nascent stage, much is happening behind the scenes to allow your medical providers access to your personal records in safe, secure and immediate fashion.

But what of computer hackers, and those nefarious enough to steal digital information? How will EMR providers protect our personal data and keep it in the right hands between computers and networks?

Clearly, this information is extremely sensitive to those it applies to, and most medical governing boards, hospital administrations, and various local, state and federal governments understand how paramount it is to safeguard our electronic health records.

As a society, we can rest assured that any access to, or transfer of our individual medical records via electronic means of the public Internet or private intranets is being closely monitored. There are very stringent laws in place protecting the privacy of health information. Who is allowed access and to what. How much encryption must be in place before sensitive data can leave its computer of origin and travel to another destination.

With most sectors of technology, as time passes, and more innovation is developed the cost of applying the breakthroughs decreases steadily. Of course, no one is interested in free services if they cannot be fully assured that the simple application of technology for little to no cost is not completely safe and secure.

Fortunately, the very nature of the safeguards put in place to watch over our electronic medical records is constantly the first and foremost aspect surrounding our continued and extended use of Internet technologies. It is entirely possible today that your health care providers are already using these safe and secure systems to provide you with increasingly better care; all without you worrying in the least bit.

Vern Marker is a freelance writer who is passionate about a number of health topics. His latest writtings have been about e-prescribing and incorporating technology into the health industry.