Technological Advancement in Health Communication in Less Developed Countries

Direct communication in health care can take place via forms of social media such as Skype, zoom and video conferencing. Traditional forms of communication such as telephone, notes and letters can continue to be used for information sharing between health providers and patients. For example, doctors and patients can text and send messages to one another. It is imperative that social media messaging be used to reduce the time taken to obtain knowledge on patient condition and general wellbeing.

The use of social media communication tools should not make indirect communication obsolete. In instances of technology resistance and lack of access to social media, health providers will be required to communicate face to face with patients and their relatives. Sometimes it may be easier and faster to communicate with patients via other media such as third parties. Doctors and patients can communicate via third parties such as nurses, personal caregivers, family and relatives of patients who may be unable to communicate. In other instances, it may be advantageous for family or caregivers to inform patients of their condition. A spouse or parent may be empathetic in conveying negative news to patients.

As a small island developing nation, Trinidad and Tobago faces serious health challenges that can be minimized by appropriate investment in social media technology. The major challenges include shortage of ambulances, bed shortages, and acute shortage of highly specialized medical knowledge and practice. Three additional acute problems are hospital overcrowding, limited availability of biomedical technology and drug shortages. These problems are exacerbated by traffic congestion that results from poor road infrastructure. Health and infrastructural challenges often combine to impact the quality of healthcare for patients with limited access to health facilities negatively.

This paper proposes that the quality of patient care for less critically ill patients can be enhanced by the adoption of social media tools that will enable doctors and other health providers to see and hear their patients in remote sites such as specialized care facilities and patient residences. The main intention of social media usage is to reduce overcrowding, improve access to healthcare, promote effective pain management and reduce patient death or mortality. Many patients can be released from hospital and be cared for at convalescent and private homes where providers can monitor and evaluate their progress via Skype, video conferencing, zoom or other appropriate technology.

The state can promote technological advancement and innovation to make social media tools widely accessible, highly reliable and very efficient. Investment in innovation should lead to the introduction of local media technology that can enhance the phenomenon of multiple users at the same time. For instance, doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health providers should be able to interface simultaneously in order to ensure patients receive the best care. The doctor will maintain the primary provider role but should be able to take advice from other providers who may spend more communication time with patients. Finally after health providers have attained a position of consensus on the way forward, patients and their relatives can be brought in to ensure that the agreed treatment plan is explained and understood. The patient will become the biggest beneficiary of a collaborative approach among health providers. He will receive faster, more efficient care from a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers.

Technology should enable patient surveillance in a virtual setting that should reduce the time and hazards of taking weak and incapacitated patients to a hospital or care facility. In addition, providers can give safe and efficient care to patients who are in remote locations. It also means that patients warded at hospital would benefit from more direct contact with health providers who would have more time to spend with them. One advantage that cannot be underscored is the learning that will accrue from evidence based practice. Health professionals can learn from one another and develop innovative collaborative approaches to healthcare. Patients will receive consistent instruction or advice from health professionals. Use of social media technology in health care will also enable patients to have sessions with health providers individually. The use of electronic health records will enhance patient care tremendously. Health providers will be able to access patient information faster and easier thus reducing the time taken to care for patients.

Technological advancement must be accompanied by cultural change. The biggest change, technology acceptance, should ensure that resistance to technology is reduced. Change must bring about significant gains in patient education in order that they become more responsible for their overall health. Patient empowerment programs must be implemented to provide greater patient self efficacy. In other words, patients must be able to diagnose partially, monitor and evaluate changes in their physical and mental health. They must be able to detect significant health changes and be able to relate them to factors such as diet, changes in their physical environment and general increases in emotional, mental and psychological stress. The overarching goal is to enable doctors to make faster, more accurate, diagnoses of patient health problems.

This paper recognizes the limitation of social media technology such as technological failure or malfunction,. However, this challenge can be overcome by putting the required personnel in place to respond quickly to it. More importantly, this paper purports that systemic problems such as bed and ambulance shortages will be reduced significantly by the use of social media technology to care for patients who do not require hospitalization or critical care.

Diagnostic Technology Innovations in Animal Health Care

Animal health care has become an increasingly important market for the veterinary sector when it comes to products and care provision services. It has offered a lot of windows to the private sector and has given way to the mainstream of how animal healthcare is managed in a global market. On this respect the debate about the requirements of animal health care and how it is met by veterinary providers is increasing. How are animal needs met? What are the adaptations being made in the solutions provided to improve the state of animal health care in the country?

Pet owners in the 20th century have vastly evolved from the casual groomer of the old days. A lot of pet owners are doing whatever it takes to provide the best care and quality of living for their pets. A surprising 10% of the medicine distribution scale in the United States alone is attributed to animal treatment. This is just one of the medical scopes that animal health care has advanced on through the years, and the trend is replicating in other aspects of medical diagnostics and wellness promotion in animals.

Radiological diagnostics such as X-rays play a crucial role in the promotion of animal health care. Even more, veterinary medicine and animal hospital offer this as more pet owners take advantage of this diagnostic exam in making sure their pets are getting top of the line treatment and early diagnosis for diseases. Digital imaging systems are now being developed specific to animal health care; Computerized Radiography and Direct Radiography are now becoming popular as a diagnostic process for detecting tumors and anomalies in animals. With the new technology being groomed to cater to Animal Health Care needs, you now see automated tools that give digital imaging in a matter of seconds.

Dental medicine in Animal Health Care is another avenue that is receiving much improvements and mainstream technology to increase the interest of pet owners. Gum disease is a leading problem for a lot of pets and now, Dental treatment in every area of Animal Oto-Pharyngeal Science can be explored with diagnostic technology. Mobile wireless panels used as X-rays are now brought to patient homes, and small digital plates are becoming very popular for veterinary diagnostic centers to increase the amount of convenience for pet owners seeking dental treatment for their pets.

This is just the start of the technological revolution in Animal Health Care, with the increase in global marketing and awareness programs for the importance of early pet disease detection more and more companies are providing innovative diagnostic solutions for veterinary medicine to use.

Developing Schoolwide Vision and Implementing Strategic Plans

A key lesson learned from the decentralization experiment is the need for system-wide standards and intervention to address the challenge of student performance. The LSC (Local School Council) and its supportive network alone are not sufficient to promote educational improvement system-wide. Indeed, decentralized reform may have widened the capacity gap among schools to raise performance. Instead, districtwide leadership is needed to apply both pressure and support to schools. Such a mix of intervention strategies did not occur during the period of LSC dominance because the reform ideology with its strong antibureaucratic sentiments did not allow for the proper functioning of the central office. Taken as a whole, the post 2005 strategies of sanctions and support have improved the overall conditions that lead to better student performance across the system. Better test scores are seen not only in elementary schools but also in the more problematic high schools since 2004.

In contrast to the seemingly recentralizing tendency under integrated governance, charter school reform aims to significantly reduce regulatory control from the central administration and union agreements. Although they are labeled as public schools, charter schools are distinctive in several major aspects. The school’s charter or contract explicitly spells out the conditions and expectations for outcome-based performance. The authorizing agency can be the local school board, the state, or other legal entities (such as universities). Once established, schools enjoy substantial autonomy in setting curriculum, teacher salaries, and work conditions, although they are bound by state regulations regarding safety, health, dismissal, and civil rights. School funding follows students to the schools, which operate on a multiyear renewable contract.

Charter schools are guided by several design principles. They aim to:

• create a new structure of school autonomy based on performance contract;

• limit central office control over curriculum, instruction, and personnel decisions;

• grant parental preferences on schooling opportunities; and

• promote innovation and alternative assessment on student performance.

Since 1992, when the first two charter schools opened in Minnesota, the number of states with charter legislation and the number of schools in operation have grown steadily. Charter school advocates have identified two kinds of innovative effects: (1) charter school can create competition, maintaining a better fit with the needs of their “customerparents,” and thereby pressuring regular public schools to improve in order to maintain their share of the student “market”; and (2) enjoying substantial autonomy from the central office, schools can serve as laboratories for developing new educational ideas and practices, fostering and following through on innovative ideas from which traditional public schools in the district can learn. But are these claims supported by the knowledge base in the current literature?

Not surprisingly, the literature is split on the issue of whether charter school competition pressures public schools to improve. Most of the research has found light to moderate effects, more prevalent in smaller or mid-sized districts where the system is often more nimble and the impact of a few schools is more readily felt. Legislative compromise-capping the number of schools, cushioning the financial blow to traditional district schools, or reducing the autonomy of schools-may lessen the effects. Educational reform was also influenced by past performance and the eagerness of the district leadership to undertake change. While there is some evidence suggesting district response to competition, starting charter schools is such difficult work that a significant amount of time may be needed before producing strong, system-wide impacts on school districts. In districts where schools made an impact, districts made “piecemeal” instead of system-wide changes, and were most concerned with expanding their school day by offering new add-on programs. In short, given the mixed evidence on charter school impact, more research is needed on what works and what doesn’t in charter school as a system-wide reform.

As for schools promoting innovative practices, researchers have asked two related questions: (1) Are schools engaging in classroom innovation, with new methods of teaching? (2) Are district schools able and willing to integrate those classroom innovations into the mainstream curriculum? On both of these issues, the empirical evidence tends to be mixed. While innovations were found, many were structural, few were either freestanding or independently replicable, and no evidence of significant sharing or dissemination of practices from schools to district schools was found. Some evidence suggests that changes in organizational and institutional arrangements may prove more significant than any academic innovations. The literature remains unclear on whether charter reforms are actually “adding value” to student learning.

Conclusions

The two emerging governance models represent a continuum of institutional possibilities for urban educational reform. At one end of the continuum is integrated governance, which redefines the responsibilities and enhances the capacity of districtwide leadership. Given its strong focus on raising student performance, integrated governance reform tends to target resources on and apply pressure to low-performing schools and students. A challenge is to recruit leadership that has the vision to apply pressure and provide support to low-performing schools.

Concerns about the potential of excessive central direction have prompted some reformers to support the charter school model, which represents the other end of the institutional reform continuum. While decentralization may facilitate innovative practices and promote more efficient use of resources, the charter school model is likely to be unevenly implemented across different settings. Given schools’ autonomy, system-wide standards are not likely to be considered a high priority. Whether schools are able to recruit high-quality leaders will be a critical challenge. Equally important is the charters’ capacity for turning around low-performing schools and students.

From a broader perspective, the two emerging models call our attention to the complex challenge of reengineering low-performing schools with a particular focus on leadership and management issues. More specifically, this review of the two models raises several issues in the area of educational leadership, including: the role of states and districts in designing and implementing alternative systems of accountability; leadership qualities and management practices that are necessary for implementing the reform models at the district and school level; the kind of technical assistance that is needed to ease organizational transition and improve effective management in settings where political leaders at the state and city level have taken a more active role in education; principals’ strategies in developing school-wide vision and implementing strategic plans that are designed to raise student performance; the ability of public school leadership at the school and district levels to respond to an emerging competitive environment given the increase in the number of schools; and effective ways in which noneducators can collaborate with school professionals to turn around low-performing schools.