An environmental scan is a process of searching, collecting, and incorporating information from internal and external environments for strategic planning and decision making. It is particularly relevant among health-related organizations in public health practice and research. Health information technology involves the processing and exchange of health information in an electronic environment. Medical practice management and electronic health records are the two main types of health-care information technologies that are beneficial to nearly all types of providers. Health information system helps to reduce deadly medical errors that pervade the health- care system and save many lives.
Exponentially growing technologies are significantly affecting people’s health, and leveraging these technologies to bring about improvement in health-care is crucial (Kraft, 2011). Technology makes it easier for people to engage more actively in their health, with information being accessible at their fingertips as providers keep on granting better health-care experience. A growing number of health- care organizations have started using cloud services to host applications and data. Social media and electronic devices continue reforming the practice of health information management. Mobile applications dedicated to health-care give more opportunities for consumers to use different methods and tools to find advice and gain knowledge and assist care providers in day-to-day medical care and health related tasks (Desai, 2015).
Patients can access their personal medical history and health information any time visiting a secure online website. There are health systems that allow sharing access to their account with a relative or “care partner” to get assistance performing health management tasks electronically. For the quality improvement of such services in healthcare environmental scans are essential. The environmental scan conducted by Wolff. J L. et al. show that the availability of shared access to patient portals on websites of health systems have not been properly documented. The survey found that patients preferred sharing personal electronic information with close family members and friends and the importance of providing access to information to these caregivers. All 20 health systems reviewed in the United States reported that the availability of shared access was functional. However, the process and characteristics of a recording shared access varied, as did the completeness of information on institutional websites by patients. In conclusion, a better strategy of facilitating the provision of care and improving information access should be applied in this case according to the environmental scan (Wolff et al, 2017).
The health-care system is evolving and providing better services in curing diseases, extending, and improving human lives. Health information systems are a beneficial investment in health-care, contributing to the accuracy of diagnoses and reducing medical errors. Environmental scans are used to collect and analyze information concerning practices in public health and achieve quality improvement opportunities and health outcomes. An environmental scan can assess the external and internal environments of health programs, identifying challenges and solving health-related problems.
Technology in Disaster Preparedness
Disaster preparedness refers to the measures taken to be ready for and prevent the consequences of disasters. A wide range of risk reduction activities and resources make up the integrated process of disaster preparedness. Promoting creative uses of information and technology is crucial for disaster management. Controlling and preventing disasters is impossible, however, minimizing the damage and ultimately saving more lives is becoming achievable due to the evolution of technology over the years.
Information and communication technologies assist in generating information and provide a more effective disaster management process. Mobile devices make it possible for people to have access to the internet anywhere they go and enable them with very fast image and data transfer. Communication technology enhances the traditional disaster management system since society can directly engage in the process of decision making (Aydin et al., 2016). The Global System for Mobile Communications plays a significant role in emergency response. The phone number is transmitted to the network and found in the database and the position of the address can be shown on the map as calls arrive. Geographical information systems provide valuable support during the process of preparedness and response in determining evacuation routes or locating critical infrastructure and lifelines. There are also numerous satellite networks in orbit that assist relief operations globally. Web 2.0 is one of the recent tools that offer more effective communication and tackles information problem challenges in disaster management (Gilibrays et al. 2016).
With the increase of natural disaster occurrences, it is crucial to utilize information and communication technologies for effective management and response. There are various types of disasters that humans face and different technology tools to respond and manage them. Successful disaster management strategies depend on accurate information presented in a relevant and timely manner. Information is important since it increases the transparency and liability of the decision-making process and contributes to good governance.
Aydin, C., Tarhan, C., Ozgur, A. S., & Tecim, V. (2016). Improving disaster resilience using mobile based disaster management system. Procedia Technology, 22, 382–390. Web.
Desai, A. (2015). Scanning the HIM environment: AHIMA’s 2015 report offers insight on emerging industry trends and challenges. Journal of AHIMA 86, 5. Web.
Gilibrays, G., Mugeni, G., & Matovu, D. (2016). Role of ICT in disaster response and management: A review study of ICT challenges and adoption approaches by developing nations. International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Science and Software Engineering, 6(5), 196-200. Web.
Kraft, D. (2011). Medicine’s future? There’s an app for that. TED Talks. Web.
Wolff, J. L., Kim, V. S., Mintz, S., Stametz, R., Griffin, J.M. (2017). An environmental scan of shared access to patient portals. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 25(4), 408–412. Web.