A lamentation expressed over the decades is that the health domain is dysfunctional to some degree because of the existence of silos that separate clinical services and the health professionals who provide them. One example will suffice to illustrate the nature of the problem. A patient can be referred to a practitioner in a different profession. That visit will be characterized by having to devote 10-15 minutes filling out a form on paper to register information about current medications in use, recent hospitalization episodes, allergies, and family history of particular diseases. A physical examination and the administration of some laboratory-based tests may follow, but there is no guarantee that any of this critical information subsequently will reach all relevant providers furnishing care for that patient.
A lack of interoperability is a dominant concern. Although efforts are underway to share information, no effective mechanism exists to establish a repository to house clinical data and ensure that it properly can be distributed to health professionals involved in patient care. Thus, it should be evident that efforts are necessary to make improvements that can occur on both an intramural and an extramural basis.
From an Intramural perspective, advances have been made through initiatives in interprofessional education to enable students from different health professions to learn about the unique contributions that personnel from other fields contribute to the betterment of both individual and population health status. Depending on the kind of employment undertaken upon completion of academic preparation, it is inevitable that some jobs will entail a mix of practitioners from a broad spectrum of disciplines. For instance, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may provide care for an infant with a gestational age of 22-24 weeks who weighs only one pound. Cardiology, nursing, respiratory therapy, nutrition, and physical therapy are among the professions involved whose representatives must work together in a seamless manner to provide the most effective team-oriented care required.
The Extramural sphere is a region where health professionals stand to benefit from research and discoveries that emerge from totally different fields. For example, investigators in polymer chemistry and macromolecular science and engineering are studying the use of bio-inspired materials to develop products that mimic the adaptable skin of a sea cucumber for potential use in creating a worm-like robot to deliver a stent or remove plaque by crawling through a blood vessel.
Actuarial science personnel are using predictive analytics to figure out how to employ big data to direct patients to higher quality, lower cost providers. Computer scientists at Sandia National Laboratories are working to improve this nation’s biosurveillance system that alerts authorities to disease outbreaks by mimicking the human immune system. The November 2018 issue of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences discusses how the marine environment creates opportunities for acquiring new substances with anti-cancer activity. Overall, perhaps an unlimited number of resources are in a position to be exploited, but only if health professionals are willing to embrace the challenge of attempting to disrupt and eradicate the artificial boundaries that separate a vast multiplicity of disciplines.
More Articles from TRENDS November 2018
PRESIDENT’S CORNER—ASAHP MEMBER FOCUS
ASAHP President Susan Hanrahan describes recent activities that include upgrades to the Association’s website and the work of the ASAHP International Task Force. Read More
ELECTION RESULTS TO PONDER
The recent mid-term election in November 2018 produced results that suggest health policy initiatives that will be pursued at both federal and state levels. Read More
HEALTH REFORM DEVELOPMENTS
Medicare Advantage will expand to address social determinants of health while developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and telehealth will influence the delivery of health care services. Read More
DEVELOPMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
This section of TRENDS has a focus on proposed regulations involving Title IX campus sexual assault, a bill that would allow the Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service to share student data, and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Read More
QUICK STAT (SHORT, TIMELY, AND TOPICAL)
Use Of Yoga, Meditation, And Chiropractors Among U.S. Adults: 2012-2017
Increasing Medication Adherence Could Improve Care And Save Health Care Costs
Robotic Arm May Help To Rehabilitate Chronic Stroke Victims’ Communication Deficits
Obesity Provides Unexpected Enhancement Of Anticancer Medications Read More
AVAILABLE RESOURCES ACCESSIBLE ELECTRONICALLY
Separate & Unequal Public Colleges
Access To High School Courses That Help Prepare Students For College
Understanding Disparities In Access To Genomic Medicine Read More
CELEBRATING ALLIED HEALTH WEEK AT DES MOINES UNIVERSITY
Among other activities, members of an interprofessional student club brought to campus members of a recruitment staff to assist in honing interviewing skills and resumés. Read More
NAVIGATING THE HEALTH FRONTIER
Survey results furnish a deeper understanding of consumers’ decision-making processes in ways that can equip health care providers to retain and engage them effectively as well as attract new ones. Read More