Role of Technology in Primary Health Care

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

PRIMARY HEALTH CARE

Primary health care is a broad term that means providing affordable and quality health care facilities to the whole society necessary to maintain good health by prioritizing those in need. It aims to recognize the needs of the people and then provide the health care facilities accordingly.

Primary health care has three pillars. These are primary care and essential public health functions, multisectoral policy and action, and empowered people and communities.

TECHNOLOGY’S IMPACT ON PRIMARY HEALTH CARE

Day by day integration of technology in primary care is increasing. There was a time when technology was in its naive stage, and its penetration into human life was minimum. The complexity, cost, and limitation to use it in improving primary health were also nil. Technologies like mobile phones, tablets, computers, and laptops are very common to us now but were alien concepts long before. However, by 1990, the advent of revolutionary technologies, especially the internet, had impacted the health care sector vastly.

TECHNOLOGY’S IMPACT ON PRIMARY HEALTH CARE

Day by day integration of technology in primary care is increasing. There was a time when technology was in its naive stage, and its penetration into human life was minimum. The complexity, cost, and limitation to use it in improving primary health were also nil. Technologies like mobile phones, tablets, computers, and laptops are very common to us now but were alien concepts long before. However, by 1990, the advent of revolutionary technologies, especially the internet, had impacted the health care sector vastly.

PRIMARY CARE AND ESSENTIAL PUBLIC HEALTH FUNCTIONS

The usage of technology has increased since then, and now we can see its presence in bringing secondary and tertiary health facilities to the home of the people. Now people can check their blood pressure, sugar, etc., at home through telemedicine, remote care, and mobile health. Technology is increasing the protection of patients by monitoring their health in day-to-day life. Electronic sensors can help inform the risk related to the health issue within time by monitoring and measuring required signs and symptoms. It is common to see technology tracking the stock of medicines and drugs, searching for information related to health, facilitating clinical support, monitoring and mapping transmissible diseases, and monitoring care facilities.

MULTISECTORAL POLICY AND ACTIONS

Gathering, analyzing, and managing the information related to the health sector has become digitally equipped. Handling data accurately and timely is possible now. Data collected and shared can improve the monitoring and surveillance of diseases.
The recorded data will increase the chances of better dealing with emergencies. Doctors can also access patients’ medical history through digitally recorded data within a few seconds, making diagnosing and treating easier and more time-efficient.
Partnering with other sectors like the information and communication sectors and the innovation sector can help disseminate the innovations to those in need. Those located in low-resource settings can also benefit from this partnership with the different sectors. Innovations like hand-held ultrasound and pulse oximeters will provide a quick diagnosis to the primary health care centers. Dissemination of the word about these technologies will be easier with the help of the information and communication department.

EMPOWERING PEOPLE AND ENGAGING COMMUNITIES

No matter how far a patient is, he can connect with the doctor online. Not only that, connecting and forming a community of patients and discussing and emotionally connecting with them has become easy. Accessing high-quality health information has become relatively effortless with the help of the internet. Technology aids transparency, and the process of feedback giving of the experience of health care is available one click away from the patients.

CHALLENGES

The Healthcare sector deals with the sensitive and confidential data of patients that need a proper set of security. Handling the data of every patient with utmost security is a necessity. A proper algorithm needs to be there for encryption, transmission, and decryption.
Technology is making its way in the healthcare sector, but understanding technology is also necessary for healthcare professionals and patients. In many studies, researchers discovered that doctors are reluctant to adopt this technology or have no time to learn this technology.
Further, patients also do not find it necessary to learn and adopt these technologies in their lives. Another problem lies in the cost of the technology, which is higher than we expect it to be. Many hospitals are reluctant to purchase these technologies; only because they find them costlier. To utilize technologies, we need stable and secure internet services in our country; that are unavailable in many parts of our country.

CONCLUSION


The inclusion of technology has opened tons of opportunities for improving primary health care facilities. They have changed the way of diagnosing and treating patients. They have created new patterns of communication, empowerment, and engagement. The government’s commitment to improving primary health care and protecting its commitment to inclusive and equitable growth promises a lot of development soon.

REFERENCES

https://healthadministrationdegree.usc.edu/blog/3-challenges-of-technology-implementation-in-healthcare/

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/primary-health-care

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