Impacts Of Technological Changes On Health And Human Service Delivery1 |

Impacts of Technological Changes on Health and Human Service Delivery1

Impacts of Technological Changes on Health and Human Service Delivery
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Over the last few decades, the world has experienced an enormous change in technology
that has changed both personal and professional lives. One area that has been greatly impacted
by the technological change is health and human service delivery. Increased use of emerging
technology in the two areas has led to the delivery of quality services to clients and efficiency.
Use of technology and reduced service access time thus ensuring health and human service
workers can be able to serve a large number of clients. This has been made possible through
technologies like online reservation, mobile communication, video conferencing, and availability
of wide range of information on the internet (Kincaid, 2004). However, use of technology in
health and human service delivery has raised ethical and legal issues that have to be eliminated
for better operation.
Both health and human service delivery deals with highly confidential client information
and thus security and confidentiality must be observed by peoples involved in the practices.
Human services are defined as those activities that meet human needs through remediation,
prevention while improving the quality of life of the general population (Services, 2015).
Technology is, therefore, used in human service delivery to improve coordination, accessibility,
and accountability in various service delivery agencies. On the other hand, technology has
greatly revolutionized the health through data management systems such as Electronic Health
Records (EHR), Health Information Exchange (HIE), and Management Systems (MS).
Emerging technology trends have greatly improved health and human service delivery in
many ways. For instance, many services have moved from internally focused model to external
ones where all the services are available in the cloud. The cloud infrastructure has ensured better
connectivity between service providers and consumers. The cloud has enabled health and human
service agencies to serve multiple customers without increasing operations cost. The cloud
infrastructure uses economies of scale to reduce workload for personnel while decreasing the
cost of operations and services. Additionally, mobile technology in health and human service
delivery has greatly helped in reaching out to customers who are located in different
geographical regions. Development of mobile technology has ensured low-income families can
have access to smartphones which have access to the Internet (Swaminathan, 2012). Technology
has also led to the invention of IT hardware and software that can analyze a large amount of data
enabling agencies to make viable decisions. These systems have enabled close to real time
support to customers.
Research has shown that 30 million Americans that are over 50 years of age are using the
Internet to access Medicare and other online services. This is an indication that there is a need for
health and human services agencies to avail their services online. With the adoption of the cloud
infrastructure, many agencies have been able to offer services such as reservation, inquiries, and
payments online. Online services are convenient to the users because they are accessible around
the clock. Healthcare industry is also using the Internet to share patient information such as
previous prescriptions and allergies. The internet technology thus allows customers from rural
areas to have access to specialized treatment from urban areas without having to travel.
Technology has also enabled transmission of digital images and other diagnostic tools for
efficient treatment. Counselors are also using the internet to contact clients in between sessions.
In health care and human service, client’s information is treated with a lot of
confidentiality and, therefore, technological systems adopted should uphold that. Therefore, all
information systems should conform to set standards to ensure data protection. The Office of
Civil rights (OCR) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ensure security
privacy conformant of health systems through EHRs certification and HIPAA rules enforcement
(Amatayakul, 2007). HIPAA rules provide guidelines to be followed by healthcare agencies to
ensure the protection of patient information. These rules also emphasize the need for EHR
developers to work closely with health care agencies. HIPAA directs organizations to implement
EHRs in stages that meets privacy and security requirements.
There are other federal organizations that are set aside to ensure medical systems meets
the set security standards. Center for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) is set to ensure all
programs used by different organizations are put into meaningful use. National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST) also sets security standards for federal governments but its
reports are available for the general public.
Confidential client information can be protected using encryption and access control. All
data stored and in transit must be encrypted to ensure even if they fall into the wrong hands they
are not compromised. Additionally, access to confidential information should be controlled using
user privileges. Every system user should provide credentials to be allowed to access information
within their privileges. The system administrator should set user privileges to ensure only
selected few persons to have access to confidential client information.
Use of technology raises many ethical issues that have to be considered before its use in
health and human service delivery. Some of the ethical issues that arise from the use of
technology and internet are pornography, identity theft and deception (Oravec, 2000). Health
professionalism hinders practitioners from disclosing client information to the third party without
their consent. However, information systems provide data centralization which enables unethical
staff to have access to such information.
Amatayakul, M. (2007). Electronic health records: A practical guide for professionals and
organizations. Amer Health Information Management.
Kincaid, S. (2004). Technology in human services: Using technology to improve quality of life.
Council for Standards in Human Service Education, 7-49.
Oravec, J. A. (2000). Online counseling and the Internet: Perspectives for mental health care
supervision. Journal of Mental Health, 1363-1364.
Services, N. O. (2015, June 24). What is Human Services? Retrieved from national human
services website:
Swaminathan, K. S. (2012, April 18). 4 Technology Trends to Watch in Human Services.
Retrieved from

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