Discuss if you believe, through experience or from research, that healthcare delivery is moving in the right direction with technology as the driver and determinant for defining higher quality care, OR should this industry revisit its past and develop policies where clinicians and patients build relationships through touch and bedside conversations as a form of healing and comfort?  Is it possible to do both?

The delivery of healthcare services is rapidly changing through the implementation of new and expanding technology. While healthcare technology can provide incredible support to healthcare providers in delivering safe and appropriate patient care, the patient-provider relationship must be maintained to preserve a relationship of trust and respect. Through my experience as a registered nurse and family nurse practitioner student, I have seen healthcare technology support patient care in numerous ways. For example, I have observed patients attending virtual appointments when they had no transportation, thereby improving their access to care for medical services. Additionally, remote patient monitoring has proven valuable in identifying worrisome vital signs in patients who were otherwise asymptomatic and unaware that a potential health concern was developing. On the other hand, I have seen how virtual appointments can be less personable than in-person visits, and these types of visits sometimes lack the personal and intimate pieces of an in-person appointment. Additionally, virtual appointments allow patients to attend appointments at convenient times in their busy schedules; however, attending appointments from any location allows for external distractions (i.e., children, spouses, etc.) that may not otherwise be present in in-person appointments.

Overall, I do believe that healthcare delivery is moving in the right direction through the utilization of technology as access to care improves and patient monitoring is supported through technology (Junaid et al., 2022). Bhatia (2021) further reviews the benefits of health technology in supporting patient care including the development of precision medicine, pharmacogenomics, biopharmaceuticals, robotic surgery, and expanding digital technologies. The compilation of these health technologies results in more personalized care, thereby improving patient satisfaction and individual patient outcomes (Bhatia, 2021).

Additionally, I believe that the provider-patient relationship can be supported in harmony with technology, but mindful utilization of technology is needed to support this relationship. Patient panel sizes currently average 2,500 patients per provider, and the medical complexities of each patient must be considered when determining appropriate panel sizes (Harrington, 2022). As the prevalence of chronic disease remains high in the United States and the indication for extensive utilization of health technology (i.e., remote patient monitoring, virtual chronic disease follow-up appointments, etc.) increases, provider panel sizes must be reviewed to ensure provider workloads are not overwhelming and resulting in provider burnout. If concerns are identified, policy reviews may be indicated to ensure providers are being supported in providing safe patient care while maintaining patient satisfaction.

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