New Trends in Health Care

By Scrubadoo‘s Jen Hankin

Heath Care is always changing. Every industry is experiencing the and push to go social, health care is evolving in these technological times as well. I’ve noticed 5 rising health trends worth discussing.

1. Electronic Health Records: Keeping electronic records of all of the patient’s medical history and recent test in order to help with record sharing and improve safety and convenience for patients.

“The No. 1 benefit of electronic records is patient safety. It puts more information immediately at the doctor’s fingertips so better decisions about care can be made,” said Richard Schreiber, chief medical informatics officer at Holy Spirit Health System.

Not only do electronic records cuts down on those thick manila folders, but it will potentially help patients & hospitals cut costs as retesting should be minimized.

2. Individualized Medicine: Tailoring care to each patient’s specific needs and type of disease is being made possible with gene profiling. Working on medical advances in genetic testing, surveillance and prevention can provide more knowledge to predict the likelihood of these individuals contracting future diseases.

Dr. Todd Campbell, a breast surgeon at Oakwood Cancer Center in Mechanicsburg, said many people are surprised there is a test for a mutation to the BRCA gene. This mutation is known to increase risk for breast and ovarian cancer. “I’ve been surprised by the varying responses in patients in terms of how proactive or conservative they want to be,” he said.

3. Integrative Medicine: By combing conventional Western medicine practices with alternative treatments more patients are seeing results as these techniques are focused on addressing the whole person. Growing in popularity in the United States, 38% of Americans have tried integrative medicine according to the National Institutes of Health.

“I call it the best of both worlds. My principle is you do whatever is needed to help the patient, using the most recent research of both science and alternative medicine,” said Dr. J. Ying Williams, a Harrisburg doctor who integrates Chinese medicine into her practice.

4. Medical Home: Referring to a style of health care, the medical home is an approach to primary care in which one practice takes lead on coordinating all aspects of a patient’s care.

“The idea of a medical home is to have more extensive interaction with a patient and more of what a primary care doctor is supposed to be,” said Dr. Peter Cardinal, medical director, Spirit Physician Services Inc. in Camp Hill. “Because of time pressures, physicians have gotten into the habit of jumping to conclusions instead of bringing the patient into the conversation.”

5. Telehealth: Providing support to in-home and long distance health care, telecommunication technology is a growing method to manage disease, prevent re-hospitalization and save money while improving patient care.

Telehealth patients answer health assessment questions each day, using a self-contained computer with a touch-screen monitor. A variety of medical devices, such as a blood pressure cuff or pulse oximeter, can be attached to the monitor to take vital signs. The results are transmitted to a secure website where registered nurses review them and can be in instant contact with the patient and his or her doctor’s office if results look troublesome.

What has been your experience with these rising trends in health care? Are they beneficial? Any draw backs?

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