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Computers and the Internet Play an Increasingly Important Role in Health and Social Care. in What Ways Can They Help Make Care Safer and Better? What Problems Can Their Use Create?

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Computers and the Internet Play an Increasingly Important Role in Health and Social Care. in What Ways Can They Help Make Care Safer and Better? What Problems Can Their Use Create?

These days many service users use the computer and the internet to seek health information online, it has enabled service users today to have knowledge concerning their health conditions, how to manage their health and even access information about medications, with patients having all this information , it makes them expert patients. Patients with chronic conditions can join forums and groups online that give them support emotionally and mentally. Service providers also benefit from the use of the computer and the internet. Many hospitals at this stage and age use the computer and the internet for web-based scheduling, online appointment and even web-based record keeping. These enables service providers to build better administration and management are more organised and ease of access to patient's health records. The internet has advantages and disadvantages to both service users and service providers.

Computers and the internet can help care be safe and better. One example is the ease of access; service users can access healthcare information twenty- four hours a day. Since the availability of health information is easy to access, service users can search for information about their health conditions, research about their medications, and even order their prescription online, which can be delivered to them at home. This is all because there are so many websites online providing information on medications, how to use medications, causes of disease, symptoms and how to avoid certain diseases.

Health and social care providers can use the internet to have safe and easy access of records regarding health care. Electronic record keeping can save both the patient and the service provider time, this is doctors can share information electronically , since a patient's health information is computerised, their health information can be accessed by any doctors as long as the computer and the internet is available.an example is, a patient meeting a new doctor. The patient will only have to provide their name, date of birth and their address; with this little information the doctor can easily access the patients' health record. This saves both the patient and the care provider time as there is no paperwork or the care provider won't need to ask questions like ‘what brings you here today', or the care provider won't have to start from diagnosing the patient again. Electronic record keeping can be very useful in the case of emergency, especially in a case where the patient is unable to talk, unconscious, with the availability of the service user's information on a computer; service providers can access the health condition of the patient and know how to deal with the service user's health problem. This is due to the information of the patient's health conditions being easy to access and it can avoid errors in treatments. Another advantage of electronic records is that some patients can access their own health record this enables patients to follow- up on their medications, health progress, control their medication records and provides safer care. This makes it very valuable to expert patients who are always researching about their health conditions and it also makes it even easier for the patients to know what or how they are coping with their illness, thus providing safe care. An example is the ‘renal patient view.' (K101, Unit 18, P.85) which gives patients and service providers equal access to health records. Electronic records save space as they do not need space for storage and staffs do not have to retrieve them. ‘Medical records can take up a lot of room that can be used to create bigger space for service users or other facilities'. (www.blogs.uberops.com).

The internet has become so common that so many people have computer and internet connection. Many service users find it easier to switch on their computer at home and research about different information about their health in the privacy of their home, without having to face anyone face to face. This is due to online forums and groups, where people express their conditions, symptoms without being seen and makes it easier for patients to express their feelings and ask questions without having to feel embarrassed or ashamed or discrimination. The internet forums and groups brings patients together, they support, encourage and offer advices to each other because they all have one condition in common and it makes it easier for one to express their health conditions. Service users can join support groups online, service users get support at the comfort of their home thus making it convenient and flexible to them.

Due to the computer and the internet, patients can get experimental information too, as people have the same conditions, they begin to explain about their conditions, be it negative or positive, this helps others in the forum as they talk about experiences

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