Technologies in Progress: CPOE, Wireless Computing, and Biometrics
In the late 1960s, a generation of television viewers was introduced to the television show “Star Trek.” What made “Star Trek” so interesting was its ability to forecast many of the technologies that are now coming into use in health care. For example, did not the communicator that Captain Kirk used to frequently ask Scotty to beam him up look strikingly familiar to the cell phones, or handsets, that many physicians and hospital administrators carry around with them today? And what about the tricorder? It could easily be mistaken for a personal digital assistant. The “Star Trek” technology, much like the technology we are seeing today, foreshadowed the breakdown of the barriers between data collection and data storage by newer handheld technologies. When Dr. McCoy wanted to know a patient’s vital signs, all he did was run a little sensor over the patient’s body. Devices now exist that literally do the same thing for physicians, who, incidentally, may or may not be in the same room with the patient. Finally, in “Star Trek,” access to information was almost ubiquitous. When Captain Kirk needed important information, all he did was make a request of the computer, and the information was quickly and efficiently displayed. Systems such as computerized physician order entry (CPOE) hold the same promise for physicians who need immediate access to patient information, laboratory results, or the latest information on a new medication’s dosage levels. This chapter will discuss some of the new and developing technologies that have the potential to shape the healthcare industry over the next decade. These technologies include CPOE, wireless/pervasive computing, biometrics, and customer relationship management.
KeywordsWireless Network Wireless Device Star Trek Healthcare Inform Healthcare Administrator
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