The paper 'Technology Plays a Crucial Role in Enhancing the Well Being and Health of Patients' is a perfect example of a research paper on health science and medicine.
Recent research has given great attention to scientific controversies. Disputes regarding science, technology, and medicine frequently arise in reaction to economic, ethical, and political concerns. Such controversies often involve disagreements amid professionals and reach the public arena due to the enthusiasm of the media for stories involving conflicts. Previously, the public was willing to trust the opinion of experts, but currently, there is mounting community view that professionals may and do differ, and their professional counsel is not essentially neutral or infallible. News media form the main source of information on health for both specialized and lay audiences and may play an important role during medical controversies (Dixon et al. 2009, p.115).
Prostate cancer is very common and among the main causes of cancer-related deaths amid Australian men, with risk factors including prostate cancer’s family history and increasing age. The controversy encircling screening for prostate cancer is mainly driven by biological and social complexities relating to the disease (Dixon et al. 2009, p.116). Given the current medical debate on screening of prostate cancer and the difference in recommendations, it is crucial to analyze the impact of technology on how the public responds to health conditions. This topic is important to the present Australia society in that, it provides an insight into the use of technology to pass on health education and facilitate health intervention for various conditions. Despite the many controversies on experts’ views on certain health conditions, technology plays a crucial role in enhancing the well being and health of patients. Literature Review
According to Varnfield, et al. (2011, p.S15), in Australia, Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) programs for patients with cardiovascular disease traditionally occur in community centers or hospitals and are provided by a team from different disciplines. Regardless of overwhelming proof supporting such programs’ effectiveness, uptake and referrals’ rates continue to be poor. Such poor rates come as a result of a range of provider, patient, community and system factors. Patients find it hard to attend the traditional CR programs and their delivery mode is not convenient for those healing from heart attacks. Studies on home-based CR programs with internet or telephone support have demonstrated effective reduction of risk factors and affirmative behavioral outcomes in comparison with the traditional ones.
Highly developed multimedia communication mobile phones’ capacities and the growing access to internet and broadband networks have generated special openings for interaction among health care practitioners and patients. Evidence about the effectiveness and feasibility of the use of mobile phones in managing asthma, heart disease, sleep apnoea, smoking cessation, and diabetes has been analyzed. Recent studies verified the method’s feasibility for weight loss, management of chemotherapy’s side effects, and maintenance of exercise curriculum for patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary illness. Web-based applications provide health care experts with more tools for interacting with and monitoring patients in different locations to generate positive behavioral outcomes (Varnfield, et al. 2011, p.S15).
The government of the UK has been emphasizing the significance of self-management and self-responsibility in illness and health in the past few years. The industry of mobile telecommunications offers one way of giving support to patients in these undertakings. Colorectal cancer’s adjuvant regimens have noxious death rates and are triggered by diarrhea, nausea, mucositis, and vomiting. It is believed that these side effects may be reduced and eventually lives saved if they are reported early through mobile phones followed by the prompt intervention (Weaver, et al. 2007, p.1887).
Walters, et al. (2010, p.2) note that the current position of technology and communication through mobile phones provides the capacity as well as an attractive media alternative to back up home-based chronic disease and health management programs. This technology integrates adequate computing capacity, memory, communication, and user interface capabilities to operate applications required for individual health management. From a personal viewpoint, mobile phones are available when carrying out routine health-related undertakings like doing exercise. From the perspective of a health provider, mobile phones constitute attractive tools since they can convey multimedia information and communication to patients for feedback, and their usage is now widespread in many countries.
Drawing from National Council on Aging (2011, p.1), a telephone-assisted personalized program that is being used in 13 countries including Australia and Canada, gives remote guidance, support, and feedback, while giving older adults a chance to choose where and when to carry out their exercise. This physical activity’s approach aids long-term exercise involvement with less face-to-face contact. The reasoning surrounding the elements and design of the program is that research has shown the effectiveness and safety of telephone-supervised exercise regimens for an array of populations, such as older and middle-aged men and women. This approach has been proved to promote noteworthy, sustained enhancements in exercises amid older adults, cardiovascular disease risk factors, physical performance, and blood pressure.
Various elements of social relations impact health through various mechanisms such as social support, negative interaction, and social integration. Social support has a positive effect on health, and research shows that it leads to a reduced incidence of illnesses as well as the possibility of death. Most recent users of health networking sites mainly intermingle with their online peers since they are useful in terms of obtaining emotional and informational support, which leads to health improvements. Research shows minimal interactions between patients and friends or family members, with the main reason being the need for independence (Wang, Colineau, & Paris n.d, p.44). Discussion
To analyze the impact of mobile phone applications on the health outcomes, Donaldson carried a study in Leicestershire. This study particularly focused on the use of text messages in a weight management intervention by reminding participants on exercise and diet provisions. Involvement in the text messaging intervention yielded a loss of weight of 1.6kg during the 12-week period. Moreover, noteworthy changes of -0.6kg/m2 and 2.2 cm with p=0.006 were noted in BMI and waist circumference respectively. In terms of life quality, depression and anxiety scores, a decrease in scores shows improvements in these parameters. Life quality got better through a mean decrease of 6.8, which equals a 10.3% increase in life quality. Mean levels of anxiety also improved during the intervention. Moreover, levels of depression decreased from 2.8+- 2.7 to 2.6+-2.9. Table 1 shows the changes noted among the intervention participants (Donaldson 2010, p.40).
The study shows that text messaging is an effective intervention for fostering the reduction of BMI, waist circumference, and body mass as well as for improving life quality and depression (Donaldson 2010, p.73). The implication of the study is that giving patients a chance to receive and send data about exercise and diet through mobile phones at times convenient to them opens up mounting probabilities for patient-practitioner support. Conclusion
Unlike in the past when the public used to fully trust the views of experts, the public now acknowledges that experts are susceptible to error in their opinions. There is a shift from traditional CR programs to home-based programs, which entail internet or telephone support and are more effective. Mobile phone applications, internet, and broadband networks are proving to be effective modes of interventions in facilitating affirmative health outcomes relating to physical activity, weight loss, chemotherapy’s side effects, depression, and chronic diseases. Patients are also using social networks to obtain emotional and informational support from their online peers, which improves their health. From the discussion, it is recommended that health care practitioners and caregivers make maximum use of current technology to improve the health of patients.
Dixon, H, Scully, M, Wakefield, M & Murphy, M 2009, The prostate cancer screening debate: public reaction to medical controversy in the media, Public Understanding of Science, 18 (1), 115–128.
Donaldson, EL 2010, October 21, A text message-based weight management intervention, Masters Dissertation, University of Chester.
National Council on Aging 2011, Telephone-Assisted Physical Activity Self-Management Program for Older Adults, Retrieved May 6, 2013, from http://www.ncoa.org/improve-health/center-for-healthy-aging/content-library/F_Active-Choices-FINAL.pdf
Varnfield, M, Karunanithi, MK, Särelä, A, Garcia, E, Fairfull, A, Oldenburg, BF, et al. 2011, Uptake of a technology-assisted home-care cardiac rehabilitation program, Medical Journal of Australia, 194 (4), S15-S19.
Walters, DL, Sarela, A, Fairfull, A, Neighbour, K, Cowen, C, Stephens, B, et al. 2010, A mobile phone-based care model for outpatient cardiac rehabilitation: the care assessment platform (CAP), BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 10 (5), 1-8.
Wang, M, Colineau, N & Paris, C n.d, The Role of Computer-Mediated Social Interactions on Health, Australia, CSIRO.
Weaver, A, Young, AM, Rowntree, J, Townsend, N, Pearson, S, Smith, J, et al. 2007, Application of mobile phone technology for managing chemotherapy-associated side-effects, Annals of Oncology, 18 (1), 1887–1892.