On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signs into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The law promotes electronic health records and infrastructure development to cut costs in health care. While the law does not mandate their use, the federal government has set aside twenty billion dollars to help in the development of a strong health information technology infrastructure. Title IV states, “NO INCENTIVE PAYMENT IF FIRST ADOPTING AFTER 2014” (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, 2009). In times of economic turmoil, medical organizations are scrambling to make a profit or just break even. So, the government has successfully made their point; however, clients who use health care suffer by losing personable interactions.
Without considering the human touch, communication between health institutions can save money and lives. Imagine a client who is rushed into the emergency department (ED) and cannot remember important information the physician needs. The client stresses, which adds to the emergency; and the physician waits to diagnosis until the medical records arrive. A way to improve emergent situations is through telemedicine (Gaguski, 2007). The electronic submission of medical records is one component; however, video conferences, client portals, transmissions of vital signs, and call centers for medical advice are all parts of telemedicine ("Telemedicine Defined," 2010).
Clients who live in remote communities benefit from telemedicine because they do not drive for medical advice, education, or vital signs (Gaguski, 2007). While saving money and time, rural citizens have access to updated health care. When a family member has to work, telemedicine is more available and increases participation in family education. Another cost saver is the reduction of duplicate tests and continuity of care. If a client suspects a physician of diagnosing for financial gain, a client can get a second opinion through a brief contact, about 15 minutes (Palkon & Baranczyk, 2009).
With a click of a button, medical records show on a screen to help a physician diagnosis and treat clients. While at home, a client can click and be connected to an ED doctor who will clarify the need for a face-to-face visit (Palkon & Baranczyk, 2009). In the 21st-century, telemedicine is here; however, many clients want a personal touch. They want their doctor to know them as an individual because they are not comfortable telling a stranger their medical problems. The majority of Americans are above the age of 50 and many are not computer literate. They do not want to learn about electronic transmissions to get a doctor’s opinion.
Clients are not the only people who are technologically challenged. Physicians go to medical school without learning a lot about computers; nevertheless, electronic communication is a necessary tool for health care professionals (Balzer-Riley, 2008, p. 75).To keep current, doctors are using mini laptops during the office...