President’s Message – July 2014
Imagine how much technology will change our jobs in the next few decades. If we can build Google Glass or electric cars driven by computer, certainly health care as we know it today is in for game-changing technological advances. Such change is coming fast to our field. ACA is only speeding things up, with its pressures to expand preventive care, trim costs, and cut hospital admissions and readmissions.
Already we see technology use expanding into areas we didn’t expect: diagnosis through digital photos of suspicious moles, computer-generated phone calls to patients directing them to test results available online, digital monitoring of distant parents through computer programs targeted at their worried children, and health care reminders being sent to patients by text from their care centers. Wearable monitoring devices will be able to diagnose all kinds of health indicators remotely and send information wirelessly to your doctor. Smart pill bottles will light up blue when it’s time to take your medication, then flash red if you don’t take it on time. What’s the future of hospitals? Hospital building has slowed if not stopped entirely. If they want to, RNs and HCPs in the future might deliver care advice from a desk at home.
UNAC/UHCP VP Denise Duncan and I are engaged with multiple unions from around the country looking at how technological innovation and change will impact: how care is delivered, how care is received by our patients, and the work we do. The big question is, how does UNAC/UHCP prepare to move with technology and at the same time protect member jobs? There is no easy answer, but we will fight to make sure UNAC/UHCP has an active role when determining how these changes will affect our members and our patients.
Ken Deitz, RN