BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Archive for November, 2020

Digital revolution has tremendously affected many aspects of our lives especially health and medical care, in general. Medicine has long been influenced and complimented by technologies like X-rays, CT scans, MRI and other diagnostics to help in better care.  However, digital revolution is something more significant; It includes electronic health records, m-health, tele health, amongst others. It is the integration of technology into every bit of healthcare forming it’s very foundation. Digitisation has produced impressive results in other industries like automobile, aviation and as such have been advocated by health organisations and professionals as the future and hope of healthcare. This change in the course of healthcare which brings  it closer to patients and healthcare consumers is in fact the boldest move to patient centred care.

Since the early 2000’s, there has been a global trend in view of the prospects of digitisation, that is, making healthcare completely digital. Most significant would be the gradual digitisation of health records. The result is a new health record system known as the electronic health records (EHR). EHR is simply the digital form of paper records but collected and available in real time through multiple media outlets. The immediate advantage of the EHR centres around ease of accessibility and portability with increased transparency. All these allow for a more integrated, coordinated and personalised care. At the very least, it eliminates most of the errors of the traditional paper-based record system like medication errors due to poor legibility and suboptimal emergency care due to limited access to data.

Despite these  advantages, the reality of the current EHR has left both health professionals and patients frustrated,  negatively impacting care. This issue of usability  has been pointed out by healthcare workers as a major problem- It is only in healthcare that systems are designed without inputs from the very users (healthcare workers). In  aviation for example, airplanes are test run by pilots and their suggestions are used to improve the design. This lack of user-based design has led to increased time with computer mostly to repeat the same inputs. This results in fatigue, as well as poor interface and inflexibility. Many health workers have tried several solutions with little success like using a voice recognition program to prevent them fixating on their screens, using scribes  or  paper records and then entering them in the EHR later. Additionally,  there is high cost of installing EHR as well as non-transferability of records from one hospital to another.

 Technological advancement has also brought gradual modifications to the doctor-patient relationship; Gone are the days when the doctor’s note belonged to the doctor alone. Patients can now see their health records and the doctor’s note that was once private, due to changes in social structure and the presence of third parties such as :lawyers, insurance companies  and employers. There is consequently, and quite understandably, the concern over privacy due to digitisation which has been an issue of increasing concern with the growing rate of cyber crimes.This is why government agencies in charge of privacy like must set strict privacy protocols for EHR vendors to follow and ensure that health records are kept secure and private.Irrespective of these lapses, EHR can still be looked upon as the hope and future of healthcare because many professionals still consider it an inevitable step in the right direction. In line with digital revolution, BlessWorld Foundation is in her final stages of unveiling the World Hospital Initiative Project (WHIP)- a digital platform that represents a one-stop-shop for all health care goods and services across  the globe

Broadly speaking, Social change is defined as any change in social relations and interactions that transforms societal structures and institutions. Social change is constantly occurring in the society because change itself is constant and inevitable. It is important to note that no society ever remains the same. As times change, societies undergo either enforced, or gradual but significant alterations and transformations in social order and mechanisms. These transformations usually have profound long-term consequences for individuals and the society at large. As a social determinant of health, social change affects health, and consequently, the quality of life; hence, positive changes improve health while negative changes depreciate health.

Social change mostly results in increased awareness and understanding  because it allows for the circulation of  information, which enables people and communities to make informed decisions. It also results in improved civic participation  which can be attributed to behaviour change and motivation to challenge instances of injustice.

Some changes in the society are neither gradual nor natural, but are fought for and enforced to transform the community. Revolutionary social change almost  always begins  with individuals- it starts with personal changes which then develop into passionate commitment  needed to undertake group and community change in general. Individual interactions and relationships facilitate social change- understanding and respecting the differences in opinions and life experiences as well as accepting that there are limitless perspectives and points of view in the world.

 An important aspect of social change is the direction of the change. Creating the changes we want require conscious commitment to shaping the direction of social change. Popular examples of social change include social movements in civil rights, women’s rights, and LBGTQ rights. These changes resulted in relationship, institutional, cultural, transformative and organizational changes.

Agents and drivers of social change include various pivotal factors and situations that arise or need to be fulfilled to produce the required change. These types of change involve addressing urgent sustainability issues and challenges such as loss of biodiversity  and climate changes. These changes are guided and facilitated by the application of practical knowledge, education, scientific and social research,  and experience. For change to be successful, the community must be fully involved both in the development and implementation processes of social change policies. Engaging grassroots inspires participation and cooperation, especially when the change requires behaviour modification and compliance. 

Major agents and sources of social change  include;

  • Diffusion and Population change
  • Technological  Advancement
  • Industrialization and Revolution
  • Change in Ideology and Culture
  • Economic fluctuations and Political movements
  • Environmental impact and Evolution
  • Social conflict and Competition
  • Modernization and Urbanization
  • Bureaucratization and Acculturation
  • Mass dissatisfaction
  • Disease outbreak, as in the case of COVID-19

COVID-19 represents an example of urgent, grassroots and  transformative source of social change, resulting in a complete change social behaviour- social distancing, wearing of masks, frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizers. The pandemic enforced change in social and health behaviours across the world in order to prevent and control its spread. Organizations such as BlessWorld Foundation continues to support this social change by providing palliatives in form of cash prizes to youths in different communities.